Punter, Moore pace Tennessee in 15-point win

Tennessee wins its third straight game with blowout victory over Army West Point.

The only thing Armani Moore didn't do Tuesday night for Tennessee was foul out.

The versatile Vol put on one of the best performances since he arrived in Knoxville, notching 29 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five blocks to help lead his team to a dominant 95-80 win over Army West Point at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"He affects the game in a lot of different ways," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. "You look at his line and that's a pretty impressive line when you look at it. He could have done a better job at the free throw line (4-of-8), but overall he had six assists, three turnovers, four blocks and a steal in 35 minutes. That's a pretty good line."

Point guard Kevin Punter also got in on the action, notching 26 points, four assists and three rebounds in 37 minutes without recording a turnover. It was the first time two Tennessee players have scored 25 points or more in a game since Tony Harris and Vincent Yarbrough did it against South Florida in 1999.

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"I thought he did a good job tonight of keeping the ball in the middle where we want to keep it," Barnes said. "I thought he played with a much better pace coming down the court, and I think it's all new to him ... He's never played point in his life, so at this point and time, I'd say you've got to give him an A-plus." 

It wasn't as easy as the final score may seem.

Tennessee (4-1) trailed for much of the first half, missing its first eight 3-point attempts for an 18 percent mark behind the arc in the first half before exploding out of the break to go 8-of-11 from behind the arc to ice the the game away. The Vols shot 53 percent from the field and dominated the post, outscoring Army West Point 46-30 in the paint in the win. 

Moore's versatility and much improved shooting in the second half powered the Vols past Army West Point with a date in Brooklyn against George Mason for the Barclay's Center Classic looming in the distance. 

"I know I've got to step up to the plate this year, especially being a senior, so I've got to be a leader first off, but I've got to be a guy who always comes out and be willing to perform each night," Moore said. "Coach Barnes told me that they're going to try to use me in a lot of different areas this year, so I've got to be a guy who's got to be consistent every night." 

Bench Play 

As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, it's rare that Rick Barnes completely raves about one area of his team. But the first-year Tennessee head coach had nearly nothing but nice things to say about his bench play Tuesday night in Tennessee's 15-point win over Army West Point. 

"I was real happy with our bench play," Barnes said. "We really got some guys that can come in and give us some minutes there, and that's something that we've got to continue to build on." 

The Vols' bench scored nine points in the win over the Black Knights and helped spell players like Derek Reese and Robert Hubbs from playing big minutes. 

"We've got to continue to get play from our bench," Barnes said. "That's really important so we can get some rest. We still had three guys in the 30s (in minutes), but overall, I'm just really happy with our bench. I thought those guys gave us some solid minutes." 

Shembari Phillips went one step further than that. The freshman came off the bench and logged eight minutes, scoring five points and running the point with no turnovers to give Kevin Punter a short rest. 

"I feel like we're the best bench on the country" Phillips said. "Our bench is tremendous. As long as we all stay in it on the bench, and once we get in and our time is called, do some things and don't have a letdown, we'll be all right."

Rewarding Reese

Derek Reese has become the most ferocious rebounder on Tennessee's team this season, hauling in an average of 8.8 rebounds per game after Rick Barnes asked him to transform his game from shoot-first to rebound-only. Reese brought down 10 boards in his team's win over Army West Point and nailed a 3-pointer to the pleasant surprise of Barnes and assistant coach Chris Ogden, who traded a high five after the ball went in. 

So why did Reese, a post player who was told by Barnes before the year to worry more about rebounding instead of scoring, jack up an attempt behind the arc? 

"Reese wanted to shoot it because him and coach Ogden made a deal without asking me that if he got 10 rebounds, he could shoot a 3," Barnes said. "I told him after that last game, when I think he got 13, and Derek waited on me after the press conference and said, 'Do I get to shoot a 3?' I said no." 

But the senior didn't give up. Reese asked Barnes again before the game Tuesday. His reply? 

"I said any time there's one second on the shot clock, that's the only time you can shoot it," Barnes said with a smile. "In the past, he wanted to shoot 3's and that's what he wanted to do. You don't have to do that. You've got to play to your strengths and he's a guy who rebounds the ball because he wants to."


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