KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Derek Reese had a double-double in his first action of the season Monday as Tennessee ended a two-game skid with an 82-67 victory over Morehead State.
Reese hadn't left the bench in Tennessee's first 10 games this season, but the sophomore forward entered midway through the first half Monday and had 12 points and 10 rebounds to establish career highs in both categories.
Morehead State was coming off a 120-83 victory over South Dakota in which it posted its third-highest point total ever against a Division I opponent in the program's 85-season history, but the Eagles scored just 12 points in the first 14 minutes of Monday's game.
Drew Kelly, who had scored 40 points in the South Dakota game, added 13 points for Morehead State. Kelly is the nephew of Chad Clifton, an offensive tackle on Tennessee's 1998 national championship football team who played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers.
Tennessee was seeking to bounce back from back-to-back losses to No. 10 Wichita State, which was ranked 12th at the time of the game, and North Carolina State. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin had said Wednesday after the 65-58 loss to N.C. State that he would consider lineup changes, but he opted to stick with the same starting five that he's used most of the season: Antonio Barton, Jordan McRae, Maymon, Richardson and Stokes.
But he did take a couple of chances after Morehead State cut Tennessee's lead to 16-12 midway through the first half. Martin put Jordan McRae back into the game with two fouls and gave Reese his first playing time of the regular season.
The moves paid off, as Tennessee proceeded to go on an 11-0 run to build a double-digit advantage. McRae scored four points during the spurt. The Volunteers also got a 3-pointer from Barton, who had gone scoreless in each of Tennessee's last two games. Reese capped the run by picking up a loose ball in the paint, scoring and drawing a foul.
Reese continued making those kinds of hustle plays the rest of the game. After Morehead State cut a 15-point deficit to 10 late in the first half, Reese thwarted the rally by sinking a 3-pointer. During one sequence in the second half, Reese blocked back-to-back Morehead State shots.
But the Vols' biggest weapon was Richardson, who had scored a total of six points in the Vols' last two games. Richardson had exceeded six points just twice in the nine games leading up to this one, but the 6-foot-6 junior already had a season-high 14 points by halftime Monday.
Tennessee owned a 41-30 halftime lead and put the game out of reach by going on a 13-0 run to start the second half.
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