Tennessee's season got off to a rocky start in the first half against Elon. However, the Volunteers had smooth sailing in the second half.
Vincent Yarbrough scored 19 points and No. 17 Tennessee broke open a close game with a second-half burst to beat Elon 95-56 Monday night.
"In the first half, we were just missing too many shots," Yarbrough said. "We were too pumped up when we came out to play."
After struggling to a 37-36 halftime lead, Tennessee outscored Elon 31-9 over the first 10 minutes of the second half to put the game out of reach. Yarbrough keyed the spurt with two dunks and a basket during the first five minutes.
David Hall's 3-pointer, followed by a basket by Andrew Toole with 1:14 left, gave Elon a 36-32 lead. Tony Harris countered with a 3-pointer and Isiah Victor added a layup to give the Vols their halftime lead.
"Elon played the better first half than we did," said Tennessee coach Jerry Green. "Once we got started, though, we played pretty well."
Ron Slay's 3-pointer with 10:42 left gave the Vols a 68-43 lead. Elon only made six baskets in the second half.
"I was disappointed that Tennessee was the aggressor," said Elon coach Mark Simons. "We were back on our heels and went soft."
Slay had 17 points for Tennessee, while Isiah Victor had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Walker finished with 12 points and Harris had 11 for the Vols, who have won 16 straight home games against non-conference opponents.
Tennessee sophomore Jenis Grindstaff, who sat out last season after transferring from Virginia Tech, may miss this season after tearing a knee ligament in the second half.
"Now it looks like he may be out of basketball for the next year," Green said.
Toole led Elon with 17 points. Dennis Gaskins had 13 and Morgan Bell added 12.
Elon, of the Big South Conference, was playing its first Southeastern Conference opponent in its first year of Division I competition.
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