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9:00 AM PT10:00 AM MT11:00 AM CT12:00 PM ET5:00 PM GMT1:00 PM 北京时间10:00 AM MST12:00 PM EST, Dec 2, 2018
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee  Attendance: 14,730

No. 6 Tennessee may continue to experiment vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

No. 6 Tennessee continues to evolve as coach Rick Barnes experiments with different lineups going into Sunday's game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in Knoxville, Tenn., including the insertion of sophomore wing player Yves Pons into the starting lineup for the first time Wednesday against Eastern Kentucky.

The move meant that for the first time in two years Jordan Bowden had to come off the bench. Bowden had started all 35 games last year and 63 of 65 games in his career.

"We just feel like he's being very tentative," Barnes said of Bowden after Tennessee's 95-67 win over Eastern Kentucky. "That's the one thing we don't want any of our guys to be tentative. We don't want that. That's what we feel. That's why we made the change as much as anything.

"We need him to be aggressive. We need him to want more out of himself. The more he will demand of himself, the better it is going to help our team."

Junior guard Jordan Bone echoed Barnes' comments about Bowden after the game Wednesday. Bowden has only five free throws attempted despite averaging 29.2 minutes in Tennessee's six games. He has attempted the least amount of shots (34) out of the top six players Barnes uses and 21 of those shots are from 3-point range.

"We're all like, 'Yo, you're like the best shooter on our team. You have to be an offensive threat,'" Bone told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "We tell him to do that all the time, but it's just a matter of finding those shots within the offense. We're going to tell him to keep shooting those shots and that should keep his confidence lifted."

Barnes also believes Pons should be rewarded with a starting assignment because of his work on defense and improvements with his shooting. Although he has made only 1 of 8 from the free throw line, he is shooting 64.7 percent from the field (11 of 17).

"Defensively, I just think the more he plays the better he's going to get," Barnes said. "I think he's going to get so much better on the offensive end, but he's doing the things that we wanted him to do to start the game with his defense and rebounding."

Multiple players have stepped up for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (4-3). Five different players have led the team in scoring and four different players have led the team in rebounding.

Sophomore guard Myles Smith has paced the team in scoring three times and junior guard Jashawn Talton has led or tied for the team in rebounding three times.

"Our theme going into this game is grittiness, and getting through adversity," Smith said.

Nine of the Islanders are averaging 10 or more minutes per game.

Updated December 1, 2018

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