Vols ready to host Presbyterian

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee basketball team looks to build on its unblemished 3-0 home record this season when it hosts Presbyterian College Tuesday at Thompson-Boling Arena (7 p.m. ET, SportSouth).

In doing so, the Volunteers (5-3) also have a chance to extend what has become an impressive scoring defense streak. The Big Orange have held four straight opponents to 60 points or less – Oakland (50), Georgetown (37), Virginia (46) and Wichita State (60).

Tennessee is 2-2 over that four-game stretch, during which opponents have averaged just 48.5 points per game. That includes a pair of top-25 foes, as Georgetown and Wichita State were ranked No. 20 and No. 23, respectively, in the AP poll when the Vols faced them.

The 1995-96 season marked the last time UT held four straight teams to 60 points or less, doing so against Memphis (57), Houston (49), South Florida (43) and Miami [Fla.] (54).

If Tennessee can limit the Blue Hose (2-8) to fewer than 61 points Tuesday – they average 59.7 ppg – it would be the program’s first such five-game stretch since the 1981-82 campaign. That season, the Vols ended the year by holding Auburn (56), Vanderbilt (54), Alabama (56), SW Louisiana (57) and Virginia (54) all to fewer than 60 points.

Tennessee’s 3-point field-goal defense has been one key to the Vols’ defensive prowess. UT ranks 13th nationally by holding opponents to a .248 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Tennessee’s foes make an average of just 3.5 treys per game.

The Vols’ overall scoring defense of 57.4 ppg ranks 23rd nationally.

Monday’s “Emphasis of the Day” – daily midcourt talking points spearheaded by head coach Cuonzo Martin prior to each practice – focused on energy.

We need CEO’s on this team: “Chief Energy Officers” That means you share positive, powerful and contagious energy with your teammates, coaches and the fans! It means you communicate from the heart.

The Volunteers (5-3) continue a six-game homestand that extends into mid-January when they host Presbyterian College (2-8) Tuesday at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET (SportsSouth).

Presbyterian, located in Clinton, S.C., is in its first year of full Division I certification and is eligible for the Big South Conference Tournament and all postseason possibilities for the first time. Head coach Gregg Nibert is in his 24th season at Presbyterian.

Senior guard Khalid Mutakabbir leads PC in scoring, averaging 14.7 points per game to go along with 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

The nickname “Blue Hose” began in the early 1900s, when sportswriters referred to Presbyterian College athletic teams as the “Blue Stockings” because of the blue socks they wore. Writers often shortened “stockings” to “hose” in newspaper headlines.

Former UT graduate manager Brooks Savage is in his first season as an assistant coach at Presbyterian. His last year at UT was 2009-10.

The Tennessee basketball program’s three-year OUTLIVE initiative to raise funds for cancer awareness and the UT Medical Center Cancer Institute was Savage’s idea, as he was inspired by former Vol Chris Lofton’s successful bout with the disease. OUTLIVE lasted from 2009-11.

Tennessee is 26-4 (.867) all-time against current members of the Big South Conference.

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