Vols lose to Wisconsin in first game without Lamonte Turner

Tennessee fell to Wisconsin 68-48. / (Tennessee Athletics)
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT/AP) -- Wisconsin finally ended its road woes and helped Tennessee realize how much it misses injured guard Lamonte' Turner.

D'Mitrik Trice scored 21 points and Brevin Pritzl added 17 as Wisconsin trounced Tennessee 68-48 on Saturday to win away from home for the first time this season.

“This is how we've been playing at home,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “It's good to see that it wasn't just the curse of the red (road) jersey.”

Wisconsin (7-5) entered the day 0-5 away from Madison, a mark that included an 0-2 record in true road games and an 0-3 mark in the Legends Classic at Brooklyn, New York. The Badgers were scoring 80 points per game and shooting 40.1% from 3-point range at home, where they're unbeaten. They were averaging just 56.8 points and shooting 22.9% on 3-point attempts away from Madison.

Yet the Badgers felt right at home in front of a sellout crowd at Thompson-Boling Arena against a Tennessee team that had won 32 of its last 33 home games. Trice and Pritzl each shot 4 of 8 from 3-point range to lead the way.

“Now that we know we can do it, it's just going to factor into when we go into Big Ten play, that we can win in these big-time environments,” Trice said.

Wisconsin led by as many as 28 points and never trailed all day as Tennessee (8-4) struggled in its first game since Turner announced that he wouldn't play the rest of the season due to thoracic outlet syndrome that required shoulder surgery. The fifth-year senior guard entered the day ranked second on the team in scoring (11.8) and tied for ninth among all Division I players in assists (7.1).

The Volunteers filled the vacant spot in the lineup by giving freshman guard Davonte Gaines his first career start, but they couldn't replace Turner's production as they fell for the third time in their last four games.

“It's embarrassing,” said Tennessee's Jalen Johnson, who scored nine points to match John Fulkerson for the team lead. “Our fans definitely deserve more.”

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes downplayed the impact of Turner's absence on Saturday's game.

“We've struggled on offense even with Lamonte',” Barnes said. “That has nothing to do with it.''

While Turner did not play against Wisconsin, WVLT Sports saw Turner on the sideline during this past week’s practice.

Head Coach Rick Barnes said Turner’s decision after the victory against Jacksonville State came as a surprise, but he and the rest of the team support Turner’s decision.

“We didn’t know he was going to do what he did,” Barnes said, “but he did what he felt at that point and time he needed to do, so with that, we’re going to support him with whatever he has to do going forward.”

“Lamonte has battled that shoulder now for a year and a half,” Low said. “The last few games, it was almost painful to watch him play. You could tell how much he was hurting. His shot didn’t look right. Just really struggling through that. It’s a tough position for this Tennessee basketball team because he’s not only your point guard, but he’s also your leader. His toughness permeated this basketball team and now you’re without him for the rest of the season.”

Barnes acknowledged that Tennessee must get better backcourt play and noted that the Vols' starting guards -- Jordan Bowden, Josiah-Jordan James and Gaines -- shot a combined 4 of 27 from the floor while the starting frontcourt of Fulkerson and Yves Pons teamed up to shoot 5 of 7.

“And all we'd talked about was playing inside out,” Barnes said.

Wisconsin built a 38-24 halftime advantage by controlling the tempo and shooting 7 of 13 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes.

The Badgers then broke the game open by scoring the first nine pints of the second half as Tennessee's offense crumbled. Tennessee had six turnovers, four shots and no points in the first 6 minutes, 24 seconds of the second half before Gaines finally sank two free throws to cut Wisconsin's lead to 47-26.

That stretch assured Wisconsin would get that elusive road win before the calendar turned to 2020.

“It's just going to build our resume, come March,” Trice said. “It's just good to get this under our belt, to win away from home.”

Saturday was the last Tennessee basketball game of the decade. In the 2010s, Tennessee is 212-132. Saturday’s meeting with the Badgers was the fifth all-time, with Tennessee and Wisconsin splitting the previous four match-ups at two apiece.

Tennessee opens its SEC schedule Jan. 4 by hosting defending league champion LSU.

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