Asumnu's on the go

With mere seconds to go in the first half of Thursday's exhibition basketball opener against Southern Indiana, Tennessee senior Stanley Asumnu scooped up a loose ball, drove the length of the floor and rammed home a thunderous dunk a split-second before the buzzer.

It was the kind of electrifying play fans have been expecting from the 6-5, 215-pound senior for three-plus years. Now that the Vols are playing fullcourt pressure defense and uptempo offense, they may get to see a good bit more of that.

"There will be a lot," Asumnu said, grinning broadly. "With us going up and down at this fast pace, I'm sure to get at least a dunk every game."

Although Tennessee scored 86 points, the offensive performance was sloppy. The Vols committed 12 first-half turnovers and shot just 37.7 percent from the floor for the game. Clearly, the adjustment to Bruce Pearl's new offensive system is going to take some time.

"We've just got to get into the offense a little quicker," Asumnu said. "We're getting into it a little slow. When we run it good, we get 3s, we get flashes and we make things happen. The exhibition game was what we needed. We've got a lot of things to work on but we'll be fine."

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the exhibition game was that the Vols passed a gut check. They wilted in the final minutes on numerous occasions last season but not this time. Trailing 65-60 with 7:43 to play, they outscored USI 26-13 down the stretch to win 86-78. Asumnu found that quite encouraging.

"We're down five at one point and we come back and win," he said. "That's how it's got to be. We've got to have the sense of urgency to come back and make plays to win the game."


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