No. 22 Vols cruise past Butler in the Bahamas

Tennessee puts the bite to the Bulldogs, 71-45.
Santiago Vescovi
Santiago Vescovi(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 11:49 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Despite a slow start on the offensive end, No. 22 Tennessee found its rhythm and used a monster second half to cruise by Butler Wednesday night in its Battle 4 Atlantis opener, winning 71-45.

On the defensive end, the Vols held Butler to 31.9% shooting, their season-low shooting percentage.

Santiago Vescovi led the way offensively for Tennessee with 13 points, all of which came in the second half. Julian Phillips added 11 points, while Zakai Zeigler was the Vols’ third double-figure scorer with 10 points. Olivier Nkamhoua and Tyreke Key scored nine points apiece.

Despite missing 11 of its first 16 shots, Tennessee (3-1) finished the night shooting 48.1 percent (26-for-54) from the field. After Tennessee closed the first half on a 10-0 run, the teams played back and forth to open the second half until a quick spurt by Butler cut Tennessee’s lead to just two points at 36-34 with 14:47 remaining.

The Vols then responded to the Bulldog threat with a 17-1 run to extend their lead to 18 points and take control of the game. Tennessee never led by fewer than 14 and led by as many as 28 points late in the second half.

Vescovi spearheaded the 17-1 run for Tennessee, draining three 3-pointers and recording a steal and fast break layup.

With the win, Tennessee advances to Thursday’s Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals against USC, who defeated BYU on Wednesday, 82-76. Tip-off is set for approximately 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.