INDIANAPOLIS -- Kevin Punter Jr. scored 27 points and Armani Moore had 17, but Tennessee's second-half comeback came up short as the Vols fell to No. 18/21 Butler, 94-86, on Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Tennessee (4-4) outshot the Bulldogs (8-1) from the field, hitting at a 49.2 percent clip to Butler's 46.8 percent shooting. Butler led by as much as 11 points in the second half, but strong all-around play from Moore and Punter's scoring kept UT in the game late.
Punter was 10-of-23 from the field and 3-of-10 from 3-point range. He scored 17 of his 27 points in the first half and his hot start led the Vols to a 25-15 lead over the first 10 minutes of the game before Butler seized the lead four minutes before halftime.
Moore scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, added six rebounds and tied his career high with seven assists.Admiral Schofield had a career highs 16 points and seven rebounds in his first career start. Devon Baulkman added 13 points and five rebounds.
Kelan Martin paced Butler with 25 points and 11 rebounds, fueling the Bulldogs offense with a 5-of-8 performance from 3-point range. Roosevelt Jones had 21 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in his battle with Moore in the paint.
Butler led 48-43 at the half. The Bulldogs scored on seven-straight possessions over a five-minute stretch late in the first half to climb back of a 10-point deficit. Butler controlled the glass in the first half, outrebounding the Vols 22-12.
PUNTER'S 20-POINT GAME STREAK: Kevin Punter Jr. has scored 20 or more points in each of the Vols last six games. He is averaging 24.8 points and 3.8 assists over those five games while shooting 52.6 percent (41-of-78) in that stretch.
SCHOFIELD STARTS: Coming off of a 12-point performance against Nebraska, freshman Admiral Schofield made the first start of his career. He was effiecient from the field, going 6-of-7, and refused to quit, scoring off an an offensive rebound 20 seconds while drawing a foul inside.
UP NEXT: The Vols return to Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 16, hosting Florida Atlantic at 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network +/WatchESPN.
- With the loss, Tennessee is on its first three-game, non-conference losing streak since 2011-12.
- All four of the Vols' losses this season have come away from Thompson-Boling Arena.
- The Vols were playing their first game in nearly two weeks, coming off a 13-day break since their last game against Nebraska on Nov. 28 at the Barclays Center Classic. The 13-day layoff was the longest since 2013.
- The 18th-ranked Bulldogs got 35 points from their bench, including a team-high 25 from Kelan Martin. Tennessee's bench finished with eight points -- all coming from freshman guard Shembari Phillips.
- Butler's 94 points were the most allowed by the Vols this season and marked the third time in the last four games that they have surrendered 80+.
- Tennessee’s starters were Kevin Punter, Devon Baulkman, Admiral Schofield, Armani Moore, and Derek Reese.
- Schofield made his first career start as he filled in for the injured Robert Hubbs III, who missed the game following an arthroscopic procedure on his knee last week.
- Freshman forward Kyle Alexander was the first Vol off the bench against the Bulldogs, entering the game at the 16:38 mark.
- Tennessee falls to 2-3 against Butler and 0-2 against the Bulldogs in Indianapolis.
- Head coach Rick Barnes is now 0-2 against Butler with both losses coming in 2015 as his 2014-15 Texas squad was defeated 56-48 by the Bulldogs in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
- Kevin Punter Jr. scored 20+ points for the fifth consecutive contest, finishing with a game-high 27 at Butler.
- The last time Tennessee saw a player score 20+ in five straight contests was the 2012-13 season when Jordan McRae completed the feat.
- The senior guard scored 17 points in the opening half, marking the second time this season he has scored 17 points in a half. He notched 17 second-half points en route to 19 for the game against Marshall on Nov. 19.
Vols From Deep
- Tennessee knocked down seven 3-pointers in the first half, going 7-of-14 from distance. That mark tied for the second-most threes made in a half this season by the Vols, the most coming on Nov. 24 when UT knocked down eight in the second half against Army West Point.
- The shooting touch evaded the Vols in the second half, however, as they went just 1-of-9 from deep.
- Kevin Punter led the way with three made 3-pointers.
- Tennessee built a 25-15 first-half lead on the back of steady 3-point shooting. The Vols opened the game 5-for-8 from beyond the arc and connected from deep on four of five possessions toward the midway point of the period. Kevin Punter, Devon Baulkman, and Shembari Phillips provided the treys during that stretch, with the latter knocking down a pair.
- The Vols would hit seven 3-pointers in the first half -- tied for their second-most in any half this year. UT connected on eight treys, going 8-for-11, in the second half of its win vs. Army West Point on Nov. 24.
- Freshman Admiral Schofield scored in double figures for the second consecutive game, finishing with a career-high 16. Schofield also notched a team-leading and career-high seven rebounds.
- Senior forward Armani Moore found his way back into double-digit scoring after being held to nine and seven points, respectively, at the Barclays Center Classic. He tallied 17 points for the game, including 13 in the second half. Moore also added seven assists to match his career high.
Moore Blocked Shots
- Armani Moore notched two blocked shots on Saturday and now trails former Vol Jordan McRae by just one block for 13th on the program's all-time list.
- The 6-4 Moore led the team in blocks for the 40th time in his career.
- Tennessee returns to Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 16 as it plays host to Florida Atlantic.
- Tipoff for that contest is slated for 7 p.m. ET and live streaming will be available online through SEC Network +.
- The Volunteers take on another ranked opponent away from home on Dec. 19 when they travel to Seattle to face No. 20 Gonzaga. The game is officially a neutral site game as part of the Battle in Seattle.
- Tennessee's pre-Christmas schedule comes to a close on Dec. 22 when it faces ETSU at Thompson-Boling Arena.