Tennessee 89, Appalachian St 81

Preview | Box Score | Recap

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—C.J. Watson scored 23 points and Chris Lofton added 15 as Tennessee held off Appalachian State 89-81 Tuesday night.

The Mountaineers (3-4) led by 12 in the first half, but Tennessee (5-0) had a long rally to regain the lead and maintained it most of the rest of the game.

The Vols are off to their best start since 2000-01, Jerry Green’s last season, when the Vols began 9-0. But their next two games are on the road at No. 2 Texas on Dec. 17 and Oklahoma State on Dec. 22.

Tennessee pulled away with a late 9-0 run to go ahead 81-71 with 5:12 left, but Appalachian State scored seven quick points to threaten the lead. Then Watson nailed his fifth 3-pointer of the game to stop the spurt with 3:17 to go. He sank four free throws in the final 1:23 to seal it.

Douglass McLaughlin-Williams scored a career-high 21 points for Appalachian State and was 6-of-6 shooting before missing a putback with 10 1/2 minutes left. He finished 7-of-9 from the field and 5-of-5 from beyond the arc.

Major Wingate and Stanley Asumnu each scored 12 points and Andre Patterson had 11, and Dane Bradshaw added 10 rebounds for Tennessee.

The Vols trailed 41-29 after D.J. Thompson’s 3-pointer with 6:14 left before halftime and then got aggressive and scrappy in a 19-2 run to finish the half and regain the lead.

Watson hit a 3 and Wingate dunked to start the rally, and Jordan Howell tied it with another 3-pointer and then dove to the ground to secure a loose ball that led to Asumnu’s three-point play to take the lead at 46-43 with 2:07 left in the first half.

The Mountaineers made seven of their first eight 3-point attempts and finish 11-of-24 in 3-pointers. The Vols were 11-of-21 from beyond the arc.

Appalachian State also had 14 points from Thompson, 13 points by Jarvis Jackson and 10 from Tyler Webb.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Appalachian St.
D. Thompson D. Thompson
5-18,  14 Pts
5 Rebs, 8 Assists
 Tennessee
D. Bradshaw D. Bradshaw
2-6,  4 Pts
10 Rebs, 6 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists