Hoop Vols host Tusculum

Tennessee's two most recent basketball meetings with Tusculum College represent opposite ends of the spectrum. The 2004 clash was a shootout that the Vols won 117-89. The 1944 meeting was a low-scoring affair that saw UT's defense dominate 49-17.

Considering that Tennessee manufactured 76 points in the FIRST HALF of Tuesday's exhibition opener and finished with a school-record point total in a 126-66 blowout of LeMoyne-Owen, odds are tonight's game will be more in line with the 2004 score.

Second-year Tusculum coach Jim Boone went 14-15 with the 2005-06 Pioneers. His 2006-07 team features two preseason All-South Atlantic Conference performers – 6-7, 245-pound junior forward Jordan Lear and 6-4, 205-pound senior guard Chris Poore.

Lear, formerly the punter for the University of Cincinnati football team, averaged 14.4 points per game last year. Poore, a transfer from Anderson University, averaged 13.1 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds per game last season.

The Pioneers lost their exhibition opener Wednesday night at Xavier by an 82-58 score.

Junior Jordan Howell, the Vols' only experienced point guard, will make his 2006-07 debut tonight. He missed the first exhibition due to the lingering effects of a fractured finger.

Howell is battling freshmen Ramar Smith and Marques Johnson for the starting job this preseason. Johnson started vs. LeMoyne-Owen, recording 7 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and zero turnovers in 19 minutes. Smith contributed 12 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal with 2 turnovers in 21 minutes.

"Coats for the Cold" will be observed at tonight's game. Beginning at 6 p.m., any fan who donates a winter coat will receive a free admission. Tipoff is set for 7:30.

Tennessee, coming off a 22-8 season and No. 2 seeding for the NCAA Tournament last year, will open regular-season play next Friday. Bruce Pearl's Vols will play host to Middle Tennessee State in another 7:30 tipoff.

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