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University of Tennessee Men’s Basketball Overcomes Injuries, Defeats Syracuse in Maui Invitational Opener

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Despite the absence of Freddy DeLeon V and the early departure of Toby Awka, the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team defeated Syracuse 73-56 in the opening round of the Allstate Maui Invitational on Monday morning.

Fifth-year guard Dalton Knecht missed nearly eight minutes of the second half with cramps, but scored a game-high 17 points to lead the 7/8 Volunteers (4 wins, 0 losses) to victory. He also contributed four rebounds, three assists, two caps and a steal.

Tennessee trailed by eight points at one point in the first half, but closed the half on a 19-6 run to take control of the game. The Volunteers extended their lead to 11 points early in the second half and never trailed after that.

University of Tennessee Men’s Basketball Overcomes Injuries, Defeats Syracuse in Maui Invitational Opener

Knecht was the catalyst for Tennessee’s offence, hitting six of his 13 shots, including three three-pointers. He also hit all four of his free throws.

In addition to Knecht, Josiah Jordan-James (15 points, 12 rebounds), Jonas Aidoo (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Chris Bell (16 points) all scored in double figures.

Tennessee outrebounded Syracuse 48-33, including a 13-6 lead in offensive rebounds. In addition, Tennessee created 19 turnovers and converted 28 points.

Syracuse entered the game with a 9-0 record, led by Chris Bell with 16 points. However, the Orangemen shot a dismal 37.7 percent (26-of-69) from the field. In addition, they hit just five of their 18 three-point attempts.

The Volunteers will face either No. 2 Purdue or No. 11/10 Gonzaga in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday.

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