Tyler notches triple-double

Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl notched his 400th career victory Wednesday night ... and still got upstaged by one of his players.

Tyler Smith became the first player in program history (a span of 2,338 games) to register a triple-double – producing 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists – as the Vols dumped UNC Asheville 87-69. Incredibly, the 6-7 junior forward accomplished all of this in just 26 minutes of turnover-free action.

"I was just trying to get my teammates involved," Smith said on the post-game radio show. "They was making big shots for me. I was putting 'em in the right position to make shots, and I came out with 10 assists."

Pearl called Smith "the most productive player I've ever coached," adding that "When it comes to scoring, rebounding, defense, passing, steals, understanding, competitiveness, great kid ... he's got the whole package."

Smith was one-third of the way to his "triple" by intermission, cracking double figures in scoring with 10 points at halftime. He also had 6 rebounds and 6 assists at the break.

Smith added four rebounds early in the second half and needed just two assists for 10 as the game headed into its final 10 minutes. He got the first on a nifty inside pass that set up a Renaldo Woolridge dunk with around 10 minutes left.

The milestone assist arrived with 7:47 left, when Scotty Hopson took a pass from Smith and drained a 3-pointer that pushed Tennessee's lead to 75-48.

Coming off Sunday's 83-74 loss to Gonzaga and facing final exams, the Vols were a bit lethargic early. They led just 26-21 when a Brian Williams dunk sparked a 12-3 spurt that widened the gap to 38-24. Tennessee led 43-27 at halftime, and gradually extended the lead thereafter.

Pearl noted that his team "didn't have the same intensity" it had vs. Gonzaga, adding: "But did it affect Tyler Smith? No. It didn't affect Tyler Smith. Tyler Smith comes to play and he honors the game with the way he plays, the way he carries himself."

Tennessee shot just 43.2 percent from the field (32 of 74), including a chilly 31.8 percent (7 of 22) from beyond the arc. Tennessee killed the Bulldogs on the boards, however, outrebounding them 53-35. The Vols limited their guests to just 40 percent shooting but forced just 10 turnovers.

Smith was one of four double-figure scorers for Tennessee. Josh Tabb, J.P. Prince and Cameron Tatum added 10 points each as the Vols improved to 6-1. With Wayne Chism benched for an undisclosed disciplinary matter, Brian Williams started in the post and recorded 7 points and 9 rebounds.

Reid Augst and John Williams scored 14 points each to pace UNC Asheville, now 3-4.

Tennessee, which has notched a program-record 35 consecutive home wins, does not play again until Dec. 13 at Temple.


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