No. 5 Tennessee, Williams ready for Georgia Tech
Teams with offenses that are off to a highly productive start meet Tuesday when No. 5 Tennessee hosts Georgia Tech in an early-season non-conference game pitting two Power 5 programs.
The Volunteers (2-0) have scored a combined 173 points in their first two wins over Lenoir Rhyne and Louisiana, the most points by a Tennessee team through the first two games of the season since 2011-12 when 177 points were scored.
Tennessee has shot 61.9 and 54 percent from the field in its first two games. The Volunteers shot 50 percent or better from the field during back-to-back games only once last season.
All five Tennessee starters scored in double figures in the first two games. In the 87-65 win over Louisiana on Friday, junior forward Grant Williams recorded his fourth career 30-point game, finishing with 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting.
Commenting on Tennessee's 27 assists against Louisiana, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said: "We love that. That's something that we like to think that we'll do, that we'll share the ball.
"We ran one or two ball screens out of random motion. We're not a heavy ball screen team, so our whole deal is based on passing, cutting, screening and movement. And to see us make those plays is what we want to see. We do really want to share the ball."
Georgia Tech (1-0) opened its season Friday with an 88-69 victory over visiting Lamar, making 12 3-pointers, the most in the three years Josh Pastner has been coach.
The Yellow Jackets' 26 assists were their most since recording 27 against Winston-Salem State on Jan. 3, 2007.
Senior Brandon Alston led four Georgia Tech players in double-figures with 17 points.
"We had 26 assists on 32 made field goals, which is outstanding," Pastner said. "We have a goal to get 60 percent of our field goals assisted every time we play. So that was an outstanding stat for us."
Georgia Tech sophomore guard Jose Alvarado had 14 points and a team-high five assists against Lamar. He played in his first game since missing the last seven contests last season because of an arm injury. He had two of Georgia Tech's 12 3-pointers. Alston went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
"We're going to live a lot of times by the 3-point shot," Pastner said. "I'm hoping we don't die by it. But we're going to live a lot by the 3-point shot, because I really believe in our shooting ability."
Williams, who also had 10 rebounds for Tennessee against Louisiana, finished making 3 of 4 shots from 3-point range. His teammates made a combined 6 of 17 from there.
"He has been working on (shooting the 3)," Barnes said of Williams. "Probably not as much as Kyle (Alexander), who actually can shoot the ball (but did not attempt a 3-pointer against Louisiana). I don't know why he doesn't shoot it sometimes.
"But Grant does work at it. All of our guys do. We have all of them shoot it. He just has to pick his spots for the right times to shoot it, that's what's most important."
Updated November 13, 2018