Vols stay hot and kick off homestand with 83-70 win over Samford
Jordan Bone set career highs with 24 points and 11 assists, and No. 3 Tennessee beat Samford 83-70 on Wednesday night for its fifth consecutive victory.
Bone shot 11 of 16 and committed only two turnovers. Admiral Schofield scored 18 points and Grant Williams had 13 of his 16 points after halftime to help the Volunteers (9-1) snap Samford's three-game winning streak. Kyle Alexander added 10 points.
Ruben Guerrero had 16 points and eight rebounds before fouling out for Samford (10-3). Kevion Nolan scored 13 points, Myron Gordon had 12 and Josh Sharkey added 10.
Tennessee seized control with a 16-0 run late in the first half while Williams was on the bench in foul trouble. The Southeastern Conference scoring leader picked up his second foul with 7:46 left in the first half and didn't return until after the intermission.
Bone, Jordan Bowden and Schofield made consecutive 3-pointers to open that 16-point spurt, which highlighted a first half full of momentum swings. That included a 12-0 run by Samford before Tennessee pulled away.
Samford hung around early in the second half, but its hopes for an upset took a major hit when Guerrero picked up his fourth foul at the 15:30 mark. The 7-footer didn't return until 8:43 remaining.
The Bulldogs were behind 48-43 when Guerrero committed his fourth foul. Guerrero returned just before Williams hit a free throw to complete a three-point play extending Tennessee's lead to 66-51. Samford trailed 78-61 when Guerrero fouled out with 2:40 left.
Bone's previous career high in scoring was 23 points against Vanderbilt on Jan. 14, 2017. The junior guard's previous best in assists was 10, which came against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 2.
Samford: The Bulldogs may have lost the game, but they still have reason for optimism after staying competitive most of the way while facing a top-five opponent on the road. This loss dropped Samford's road record to 3-2 away from home after the Bulldogs went just 2-15 in road games last season. Samford entered the night having produced its best 12-game start since the 1960-61 season.
Tennessee: The Vols' ability to take over while Williams was on the bench bodes well for the long term. Tennessee also continues getting a major boost from Schofield's improved 3-point shooting. Schofield was 2 of 3 from beyond the arc and has gone 12 of 21 on 3-point attempts over his last 3 games.
Samford hosts UNC Greensboro on Saturday.
Tennessee hosts Wake Forest on Saturday.