KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UTsports.com) -- The Vols continued their dominance in home openers as Tennessee took care of Texas Southern, 70-58, on Thursday night. Tennessee (1-1) won Donnie Tyndall'shome debut as head coach of the Vols and their 23rd consecutive home opener, dating to 1992. The game was tight throughout as neither team led by more than eight points for the first 34 minutes before the Vols took command late.
Senior Josh Richardson led the Vols with 19 points and eight rebounds. Junior Kevin Punter connected on three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points while freshman Willie Carmichael IIItallied 10 points and grabbed seven boards. Junior Armani Moore also chipped in with 11 points, all in the second half, to go with eight boards.
The Vols' stifling defense held Texas Southern to 37.5 from the floor and forced the Tigers into 13 turnovers. Tennessee held the big edge off the glass, 40-27.
Texas Southern (0-3) had three players score in double-figures: David Blanks (14), Deverell Biggs (12) and Chris Thomas (11).
In a back-and-forth game, the Vols' 9-2 run to break a 42-42 tie midway through the second half was the difference. Punter's 3-pointer with 12:14 left in the game put Tennessee up for good, 45-42.
A short jumper by Richardson put the Vols ahead 51-44 with eight minutes left, equalling their largest lead to that point of the game.
Armani Moore and Richardson layups gave the Vols the game's first double-figure lead for the first time all evening, 57-47 with 5:49 left in regulation.
The Vols took a 16-point lead on a pair of Derek Reese free throws with 1:13 left at 69-53.
Texas Southern's Blanks knocked down a 3-point field goal as time expired to tie the game at halftime, 30-30. That came seconds after Richardson knocked down his own trey to give him 11 points in the first half.
Down for the game's first 12 minutes, Tennessee took its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Devon Baulkman with 7:59 left in the first half. The game was within three points for the final eight minutes of the half.
The Vols return to action in one week, on Thanksgiving Day as Tennessee takes on Santa Clara in the Orlando Classic at the HP Field House. The game tips at 12 Noon and airs on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Vol Network.