Any lingering memories from Tennessee’s 38-point effort last year at Virginia were erased — and erased early — Monday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee made 8-of-11 3-pointers, was 10-for-10 at the free throw line and shot 57.7 percent from the field against the visiting Cavaliers. And that was just the first 20 minutes of the Vols’ 87-52 railroading of Virginia.
Josh Richardson — coming off a team-high 19 points last week against Morehead State —tied a career-high with 20 points.
He had 15 of those in the first half, going a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, including 3-for-3 from the behind the 3-point line. He ended the night 4-for-4 from 3.
Jordan McRae ended the night with a ho-hum 21 points, shooting 60 percent from the field and 100 percent at the free throw line. Jarnell Stokes had 20 points — going 12-of-14 at the free throw line — and had five rebounds.
McRae had 11 on just two field goals in the first half. He was 6-for-6 at the free throw line. Stokes had 6 and finished the half 4-for-4 at the line.
Antonio Barton, who put a exclamation point on the red-hot first half with a half-court heave that beat the buzzer for a 48-26 lead, was also 3-for-3 from 3 in the opening 20 minutes.
After scoring 7 combined points in Tennessee’s last three games, he had 11 in the opening half against Virginia. Barton finished with 14 on 5-of-6 shooting.
Tennessee shot just 28 percent from the field, and 15 percent from 3, in a 43-38 loss at Virginia on Dec. 5, 2012. Former point guard Trae Golden was the only Vol in double-digits that night, with 11. Kenny Hall had 8.
That loss wrapped up a two-game stretch where the Vols scored 74 combined points at Georgetown (38-36 loss) and at Virginia (43-38).
Monday night Richardson, Barton and McRae combined for 37 points in the first half alone. The 48-point first half against Virginia gave Tennessee 130 points over its last 60 minutes of basketball, including the 82 points scored in the win over Morehead State.