HONOLULU, HI (WJHL) – It was an early wake-up call for No.7 Tennessee men’s basketball in Hawaii on Monday. The Big Orange opened up the 2023 Maui Invitational against Syracuse at 9:30 a.m. local time in Honolulu.
The Vols couldn’t buy a bucket in the early goings, as SU raced out to a 19-11 edge in the first half. However, big buckets from transfer Dalton Knecht and steady hands down the stretch secured a 73-56 victory for UT.
The Big Orange closed out the game on a 12-0 run, with many of those points coming at the free throw line.
Knecht scored a team-high 17 points, while chipping in four rebounds and three assists.
Josiah-Jordan James (15 pts, 12 rebs) and Jonas Aidoo (14 pts, 11 rebs) both notched double-doubles in the win.
Syracuse’s top scorer, Judah Mintz, struggled in the first half, but rallied to score 15 points for the Orange. Chris Bell led the way, however, with 16 points.
Syracuse suffered its first-ever defeat at the Maui Invitational, after compiling a 9-0 record, and three tournament titles, in the program’s history.
Tennessee (4-0) will play either No. 2 Purdue or No. 11 Gonzaga at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday in the semifinals.