Bobby Maze was money for First Tennessee in the Pilot Rocky Top League on Wednesday night, scoring 42 points and dishing out 12 assists in a winning effort.
The Tennessee point guard scored the game-winning basket with 9.7 seconds left, lifting First Tennessee (2-0) to a 119-117 victory over Richardson Construction (1-1).
"Coach (Bruce) Pearl said to work on our defense out here, and that's one thing I'm trying to do,'' said Maze, who forced key turnovers against Tyler Smith and Josh Tabb in the closing minutes. "A lot of people say I underachieved last year, but those people don't know me.
"It's my senior year, and I'm laying it all on the line.''
Maze's 3-pointer just before the half brought First Tennessee within 56-55, and led by as many as eight in the second half.
But Richardson Construction rallied behind Smith's 28 points - 16 of them coming in the final 13 1/2 minutes.
"Tyler is a competitor, and you have to play him hard,'' said Maze, who had a hard foul on Smith at midcourt with the game in the balance.
Tabb added 22 points for Richardson Construction.
Chattanooga’s Ricky Taylor and former Maryville standout Raul Placeres had 18 apiece for First Tennessee.
News Sentinel 106, ChoiceSpine 101: Scotty Hopson scored 44 as the News Sentinel (2-0) rallied from a 10-point deficit against ChoiceSpine (0-2).
Cameron Tatum recorded a triple-double for ChoiceSpine, scoring 37 points, dishing out 13 assists and pulling down 12 rebounds.
Former UT player C.J. Black, now 31, scored 15 points for Choice Spine while holding UT's Brian Williams to 17 points.
ChoiceSpine coach Rick Campbell noted that one of Williams key contributions was eavesdropping on his half-time talk.
"I told our team our plan, we were going to zone to star t the second half,'' Campbell said. "And I look over, and Brian had been lying down near where we were talking and listening. Then he tried to sneak off without us seeing him - but he's hard to miss.''
Lincoln Memorial’s Cam Carden had 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting beyond the 3-point arc and East Tennessee State’s Mike Smith had 19 points.
HT Group 119, Ray's ESG 113: Wayne Chism scored a game-high 36 points for HT Group.
Ray's ESG (0-2), led by C.J. Watson's 31 points, rallied from a 71-59 halftime deficit to tie the score at 75-75 on a Ron Slay basket with 16:54 left.
But Watson and Jon Higgins (15 points) outside shooting abandoned the team as HT Group pulled away with Boo Jackson scoring 25 for HT Group (1-1).
Chism was the difference, going 11-for-11 in the first half from the floor and 14 for 17 in the game.
"It's a more competitive league, and I'm working on what I've been practicing,'' said Chism, who has been noticeably more competitive this summer. "I'm working on taking it off the dribble and my mid-range jumper.''