Vols battle back to beat ETSU, 66-63

Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum (23) pounds his chest before pointing to the rafters while teammate Jordan McRae looks on after the Vols' 66-63 win over the ETSU Buccaneers at Thompson-Boling Arena Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2011

Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum (23) pounds his chest before pointing to the rafters while teammate Jordan McRae looks on after the Vols' 66-63 win over the ETSU Buccaneers at Thompson-Boling Arena Friday, Dec. 23, 2011. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

UT coach Cuonzo Martin discusses the Vols' 66-63 win over ETSU

Kenny Hall talks about the win over ETSU and the signing of Jarnell Stokes

Tennessee held a lead on East Tennessee State for only four minutes and four seconds during Friday night’s 40-minute contest, but the Vols had the advantage when it mattered most.

UT used a late 11-0 run to overcome the Buccaneers (5-6) in a 66-63 victory before a crowd of 16,044 at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols won back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season 2-0.

“It’s a good game for our guys, a headache for me, but they found a way to win the game,” said Vols coach Cuonzo Martin. “The biggest thing is trying to find or solidify the rotation. I don’t think we have five guys that are concrete, so it’s kind of hit and miss.

The Vols had to rally in the second half on Tuesday to beat UNC Asheville 72-68.

Cameron Tatum did most of the hitting Friday, leading the Vols (5-6) with 13 points. Skylar McBee had 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, and Kenny Hall added 11 points along with a team-high eight rebounds and two blocked shots.

“Kenny Hall was big in the second half,” Martin said. “He stepped up, got big rebounds, made some big plays and got four offensive rebounds.”

UT starting point guard Trae Golden struggled much of the game, but with the outcome in the balance, the sophomore responded by scoring nine of his 11 points over the final 5 ½ minutes.

Golden’s biggest points came from the free-throw line with 7.9 seconds remaining, when he hit both ends of a one-and-one to put UT up 66-63.

Moments earlier, at the 17.7-second mark, Jordan McRae hit both ends of a one-and-one situation to keep the Vols up three.

Martin said he substituted McRae into the game knowing the sophomore would respond at the free-throw line.

“He’s the fist guy I want on the free-throw line,” Martin said. “He dreams of that shot to knock down those free throws, he was looking forward to that.”

ETSU missed its final chance to send the game into overtime when Adam Sollazzo, who finished with 19 points, missed a 3-pointer with one second left.

Sollazzo, a 6-foot-6 point guard who dished out seven assists and had seven rebounds, put the Bucs up by eight points with 5:36 left.

The Vols responded with five consecutive defensive stops during their 11-0 run.

A Hall dunk with 1:54 left gave UT its second lead of the night, and Golden followed with a steal and dunk in transition with 1:21 left to provide breathing room.

The Vols struggled against the Bucs’ zone and didn’t take their first lead until McBee drained a 3-pointer with 14:35 left to give UT a 42-41 edge.

“It’s my job to make shots,” McBee said. “It’s so much easier playing for Coach Martin; he tells you when you’re open, shoot the ball, so there’s no hesitancy.”

ETSU reclaimed the lead on Sheldon Cooley’s trey from the corner at the 11:30 mark, making it 48-46. The Bucs didn’t trail again until the Vols’ pivotal 11-0 run, which began with a Golden drive and layup with 5:27 left.

East Tennessee State led 33-29 at the half, going up by as many as 11 points at 24-13 when Sollazzo split a pair of free throws at the 8:34 mark.

UT tied the game at 29-29 on a Tatum 3-pointer at the 2:08 mark before ETSU closed the half on a 4-0 run.

The Vols break for the holiday before returning to practice on Monday night. Martin said signee Jarnell Stokes, a 6-8, 255-pound forward, won’t practice with the team until his transcript is approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse. The soonest Stokes would be able to play is after classes start on Jan. 11. Martin said he’ll make sure Stokes is prepared mentally and physically before seeing action.

The Vols return to action Thursday against The Citadel (2-9) at Thompson-Boling Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 79

TNORANGEDOGDAD writes:

Whew! Another scary one. I'm not getting any younger watching this team.

abnerPeabody writes:

Man, do we need some players on this team. Are there any Frat boys we can dress out for the next game? We are just plain no good.

TopTenn writes:

Winning is hard.

voloffaith writes:

A W is always welcome anytime. Played hard and didn't quit for 40 minutes. Citadel next providing an opportunity to be back at even b4 gators hop in with SEC play.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I felt for their two guards who were outplaying our whole team.

iowavol writes:

The best I've seen McBee play - he actually had one more three pointer nullified by a late travel call. Good game by Tatum too. We are hurting at PG - all there is to it. Never, ever should we throw the ball to Hall except when he is in position to go to the hole. 50% chance of a turnover at best. And rebounding, my God we should have owned the board and instead we swatted the ball away. We didn't win one 50-50 ball. Can't wait for Stokes to join the team.

ACWLY writes:

Great to get a win even if its ....
NO .. its just Great to get a win!

Some posters stated Jarnell Stokes would probably be playing before the end of the season... WHAT, are they following the games?
Stokes will be a starter the second he suits up, this team [and FANS] greatly need him.

Olcrow writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Man, do we need some players on this team. Are there any Frat boys we can dress out for the next game? We are just plain no good.

Frat boys,maybe just one five star recruit could help...just sayin

wigmeister writes:

Holiday luck! Can't wait for Stokes to arrive. May take him a little time to learn the system, but it should be a positive boost. We can really use him.

AtopTheHill06 writes:

Hurry Jarnell. I heard his first game will be at miss st. We could use the big fella sooner that that.

voloffaith writes:

in response to TopTenn:

Winning is hard.

But God is good.....oh wait a minute that is,"life is hard,but God is good." If you're not sure look to Bethlehem for starters then to Calvary for the closer..oops when He returns for His own is the closer....Merry CHRISTmas!!!!

AtopTheHill06 writes:

than that*

Olcrow writes:

just like Ky's football team, we can't lose for winning(tonight anyway).

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TNORANGEDOGDAD:

Whew! Another scary one. I'm not getting any younger watching this team.

Got that right, Dad! I'm another old guy getting older every time I watch these kids! It's a shame the Vols are having to struggle so hard against these mid-majors, but they surely do make it hard on themselves.

I'm as "stoked" as anybody that we got J-Sto, but I wish he had been a PG. As I said on another thread, I just don't understand what the guards think they are seeing before throwing some of those passes. If I were a Vol inside player, I would be thinking about organizing a blanket party for the guards. It shouldn't be that hard--DON'T try to throw the ball THROUGH guys in the different-colored jerseys! And, by GOLLY, when you get your hands on a ball, SNATCH it! Don't BAT it! Don't WAVE at it!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Stokes maybe will suit up for Florida. Please?
I was extremely disappointed in the team play tonight.Where is the Golden that played against Duke and Memphis? They had great guards too? we actually could have won those games with a few makes here and there. No way we should have won tonight. Outhustled the whole game. I just can't believe all these guards are quicker than Golden and McRae.
I'll shut up now till I cool down some. McRae should have sat out but I wonder if he's hurt. Maybe Golden is aching from the broken nose? The rest were freshmen playing like freshmen.

TommyJack writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

Man, do we need some players on this team. Are there any Frat boys we can dress out for the next game? We are just plain no good.

Or maybe some candybutt bowlers.

TNORANGEDOGDAD writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Got that right, Dad! I'm another old guy getting older every time I watch these kids! It's a shame the Vols are having to struggle so hard against these mid-majors, but they surely do make it hard on themselves.

I'm as "stoked" as anybody that we got J-Sto, but I wish he had been a PG. As I said on another thread, I just don't understand what the guards think they are seeing before throwing some of those passes. If I were a Vol inside player, I would be thinking about organizing a blanket party for the guards. It shouldn't be that hard--DON'T try to throw the ball THROUGH guys in the different-colored jerseys! And, by GOLLY, when you get your hands on a ball, SNATCH it! Don't BAT it! Don't WAVE at it!

Our PG play is simply turbul as Charles Barkley would put it. Cannot create anything of dribble or their throwing it away. We cannot stop the other teams PG guard from doing what ever they wish .

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say we lacking D but Sollazzo is one heck of a guard. Witch Doctor say they threw every type of Defense and he still scored. Witch Doctor say Bucs made Witch Doctor proud with showing and are never a guaranteed"W"..they make you play.
Bones never lie.

angell writes:

Kudos for our UT basketball team for the fight against ETSU. What disturbs me is this team fought a battle before Xmas. Where was the fans? I saw the kissing and crossed armed fans, but absolutely no support for our team. Does the Vols have to fight on the road at home? This team played for our Tennessee.

Brentwoodvol writes:

Hey WD no more VooDoo allowed on Vols. You wanted good game but Vols win. Well you got it, but now my chest hurts because of your spell!!!! ha ha Merry Christmas man!!!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Brentwoodvol:

Hey WD no more VooDoo allowed on Vols. You wanted good game but Vols win. Well you got it, but now my chest hurts because of your spell!!!! ha ha Merry Christmas man!!!

Witch Doctor say back at you! Witch Doctor say fitiing time...
Merry Christmas to all Vols and Trolls a like,
A Merry Christmas and a good nite!
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say back at you! Witch Doctor say fitiing time...
Merry Christmas to all Vols and Trolls a like,
A Merry Christmas and a good nite!
Bones never lie.

*perfect timing.."fitting time"? Witch Doctor not know why he talking in old world english? Lol.
BNL

ricks995 writes:

This is a poor ETSU team that has lost to Stetson, Troy, Florida Gulf Coast, and Tennessee Tech. Tennessee will be lucky to win 5 games in the SEC this year and none on the road. We lose to Austin Peay at home and barely beat ETSU and and UNC Asheville. Please dont expect Stokes to be a miracle worker...remember he should still be in high school. Gonna be a long year.

angell writes:

Kudos to our basketball team for a tough win. This is Xmas time. Our team brought a victory. Why is our team playing on the road even though they were at home? No matter the opinions about what ifs or this and that, our team played hard with fans dedicated to kissing on the camera and crossed arms. I did not hear, "Defense, Defense..." If we want to be entertained, Can we not raise hell for our team? Wanted fans for UT Vols basketball team.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to ricks995:

This is a poor ETSU team that has lost to Stetson, Troy, Florida Gulf Coast, and Tennessee Tech. Tennessee will be lucky to win 5 games in the SEC this year and none on the road. We lose to Austin Peay at home and barely beat ETSU and and UNC Asheville. Please dont expect Stokes to be a miracle worker...remember he should still be in high school. Gonna be a long year.

Witch Doctor say wait a minute! Witch Doctor say are you the one giving the half time speeches? lol.
Bones never lie.
*W_D just had to get the low hanging fruit before signing off..lol

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say we lacking D but Sollazzo is one heck of a guard. Witch Doctor say they threw every type of Defense and he still scored. Witch Doctor say Bucs made Witch Doctor proud with showing and are never a guaranteed"W"..they make you play.
Bones never lie.

We both got what we wanted, I think. A good effort by ETSU and a Vol win. For a while I thought my former school might take the Big Orange down. Tennessee survived another mid-major, but just barely. The Bucs came to K-town planning to win and almost pulled it off.

angell writes:

Where is My comments? Are they lost in the field of censorship or "caferlullness" etc. Great win Vols. You deserve home fans.

jt45 writes:

in response to TNORANGEDOGDAD:

Whew! Another scary one. I'm not getting any younger watching this team.

I hear ya! Really intense at the last, I was in the stands and this was one game people actually stayed till the end. ETSU had an excellent guard and overall they were to quick for our guys to handle on the dribble drive.We were very good down the stretch once the crowd woke up our guys did too. If they could just play with that intensity the whole game, their would be ALOT more wins. They always come out kind of flat and wait until time is short to get busy. I think the crowd really helped down the stretch for a change. More folks need to go support them.

angell writes:

jt45 "More folks need to go support them." Kissing and cross armed entertainment doesn't count.

1vavolfan writes:

I have seen ETSU twice in person not including tonight and they played better tonight than usual. This is a team that usually struggles to score and isn't known for its offensive rebounding. Very poor defending for about 35 minutes, all ETSU was doing was making the Vols play defense for the full 35 seconds and UT could only play D for 25-30 seconds. Still it is a win against a decent team, it shows character coming back and not choking in the end. Hall's dunk followed by a steal were game changers, glad to see Kenny step up tonight.

clvolfan writes:

in response to TNORANGEDOGDAD:

Whew! Another scary one. I'm not getting any younger watching this team.

Follow the Vol announcers and get the ball to Hall more often-a dunk is a sure thing.

fearthehound writes:

in response to angell:

Where is My comments? Are they lost in the field of censorship or "caferlullness" etc. Great win Vols. You deserve home fans.

Maybe you could write something in English...

CarlChilders writes:

in response to ricks995:

This is a poor ETSU team that has lost to Stetson, Troy, Florida Gulf Coast, and Tennessee Tech. Tennessee will be lucky to win 5 games in the SEC this year and none on the road. We lose to Austin Peay at home and barely beat ETSU and and UNC Asheville. Please dont expect Stokes to be a miracle worker...remember he should still be in high school. Gonna be a long year.

No. Not a poor ETSU team. The beginning of the season got off great, but a mysterious 4 game losing streak came along. They're still finding themselves and they will make a run in the A Sun for the big dance. I promise you that. Yes, they lost to Troy, but they played them twice and blew them out on their home court. They also played a close game against Va Tech and got a road win at Charlotte. I have to take a stand because that's my school. I hate it when we have to play UT. It's hard to pull against the orange. Congratulations to the team 90 miles down the road. A win is a win.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

Finally, this team is finding its heart. One thing's for certain, these kids are going to be fire-tested by next year. NOTHING is going to come easy to them this year.

Right now...any win is a good win...and this is a good win.

fearthehound writes:

in response to ricks995:

This is a poor ETSU team that has lost to Stetson, Troy, Florida Gulf Coast, and Tennessee Tech. Tennessee will be lucky to win 5 games in the SEC this year and none on the road. We lose to Austin Peay at home and barely beat ETSU and and UNC Asheville. Please dont expect Stokes to be a miracle worker...remember he should still be in high school. Gonna be a long year.

I am afraid that you are absolutely right, my friend. I have seen nothing that gives me much hope for this year, outside of the Duke and Memphis games, which I'm afraid were flukes. Maybe the recruitment of Stokes will open the door for some other big time recruits.

bucfaithful writes:

Disappointing loss for my beloved Bucs, but the Vols made the plays when it counted.

For sure, the Bucs have had some bad losses this season, but we're no scrubs.

Adam Sollazzo was the best player on the floor tonight. Very proud of his effort.

Best of luck to the Vols the rest of the way.

JimmyJoe writes:

Trying to be positive in light of the Stokes decision... But why are we worse now then we were at start of season...? Golden and McCray have got to grow up...they are killing this team.

oldster writes:

This was a "good news," "bad news," kind of game. The good news is the Vols hit 9 of 9 free throws in the second half. The bad news is that they were 4 of 14 in the first. The good news is that they played much better defense. The bad news is that they gave up 17 offensive rebounds. The bad of the bad news is that the team they were playing is a bad team. The best of the good news, however, is that the Vols won. Come on Stokes, please be the second coming of Bernard King and not another Scotty Hopson.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

All of you guys thinking that Stokes is going to come in and turn around this team instantly...you need to get rid of that junk right now. Stokes is a GREAT pick-up and POTENTIAL impact on this team could be a game changer for the Vols...but look to next season. He needs to ride the bench and earn a starting position (and honestly, the kid has the right mindset to do that). This is a burner season and while I didn't think it would be as bad as it has been, it IS Martin's first season. A lot of people think I'm unreasonable and want instant success (and if you say you don't want instant success, then you're a liar), but what I want more than anything is demonstrable progress. Martin made progress in recruiting. He seems to have gotten this team's heart back into winning games. As long as he keeps building on that progress, then he has my support.

Oh and yes, I expect him to lose to UF and I don't expect any more 5 star recruits for a while, but progress IS progress. Martin has done it at his other job, I believe he can do it here.

oldster writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly how long had John Wall been out of high school when he lit up the SEC? Bernard King? Is Stokes of such ilk? Probably not, but given what the Vol athletic teams and fans have been through since Obama was elected (probably just a conincidence), we have to grab at any straw which is presented to us.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to CarlChilders:

No. Not a poor ETSU team. The beginning of the season got off great, but a mysterious 4 game losing streak came along. They're still finding themselves and they will make a run in the A Sun for the big dance. I promise you that. Yes, they lost to Troy, but they played them twice and blew them out on their home court. They also played a close game against Va Tech and got a road win at Charlotte. I have to take a stand because that's my school. I hate it when we have to play UT. It's hard to pull against the orange. Congratulations to the team 90 miles down the road. A win is a win.

Agreed.I was at the VA Tech game. They should have beat Tech but had a terrible shooting day. they were down 4 with the ball and under a minute to play. They lost a conference player of the year from last season and are finding their way now but will be back.

angell writes:

in response to fearthehound:

Maybe you could write something in English...

fear the hound: "English". What does your comment have to do with getting support for a team that does battle (what two days before Xmas) without fans for there effort tonight. Let me guess, you were the cross armed fan at the game who refused to voice "Defense" in the game or was your main goal to see your face kissing someone. Did you watch the game through UTSPORTS.com? The team played on a road game. The actors (fans) were crossed armed to be entertained. I found the live prodcast to be depressing. Who did the Vols win for? Thank God they played for the team and not for Tennessee. Fear the Hound, that sounds like you this pseudonym to cover that your embarrassed for the team. Personally I'm grateful they played for the team because the fans were passive. Martin did a masterful job of coaching. Your comment goes with the wind.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to ricks995:

This is a poor ETSU team that has lost to Stetson, Troy, Florida Gulf Coast, and Tennessee Tech. Tennessee will be lucky to win 5 games in the SEC this year and none on the road. We lose to Austin Peay at home and barely beat ETSU and and UNC Asheville. Please dont expect Stokes to be a miracle worker...remember he should still be in high school. Gonna be a long year.

I saw some of the Fl Gulf game and the defensive effort by etsu for the Vols was 25 times what they showed in those losses..Typical of all these mid majors who tend to bring their all out "A" game in hopes of a signature win to TBA.Seen it a hundred times. They usually follow their great effort up with a loss to north east buffalo chip state..I give ETSU credit for playing as good a defense as anyone we've played and playing almost mistake free

NashvilleVolsincebirth writes:

in response to oldster:

This was a "good news," "bad news," kind of game. The good news is the Vols hit 9 of 9 free throws in the second half. The bad news is that they were 4 of 14 in the first. The good news is that they played much better defense. The bad news is that they gave up 17 offensive rebounds. The bad of the bad news is that the team they were playing is a bad team. The best of the good news, however, is that the Vols won. Come on Stokes, please be the second coming of Bernard King and not another Scotty Hopson.

Well the better news is they hit 10 of 13 free throws according to the stat sheet. AND McBee looks like he can shoot if they will keep him in the game and dish it to him. The big men have got to recognize the triple team down low on rebounds and drives that get bogged down then kick it out to a wide open shooter more often to have a better chance of winning. I think we are starting to see some maturity as a whole with this team. Coming back late,even against mid majors, still takes concentration and your confidence gets built when you convert FT in the clutch. We have some upside this season and now with the Christmas present, there is a bigger upside than I could have hoped a week ago.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Lack of a really good PG showed badly in this game..Sr. Bobby Maze would have drove it right down the middle and jammed it in their face!!But Golden isn't a senior nor does he have Maze's muscle or speed.Big turning point in game came win the Vols had 44-41 lead and a ton of momentum!!!Enter Washpun out of the time out and he single handedly in less than 5 minutes sent ETSU on a 8-0 run by throwing wild passes;3 turnovers and a crazy 3 point brick!!He played 10 minutes went 0-4;missed his ft's and I lost track of the to's he caused!! Say what you want about Golden but had he stayed in the game the Vol's may have blown the game open.

One_in_West_Knox writes:

Kenny...Kenny...KENNY HALL!! Did I not hear Mr. Bertelkamp right?? You committed NO FOULS?? Even if you did commit just one or two, WAY TO GO on not being in early foul trouble, your clutch free throws, your shot blocking, and your assist to Trae Golden in the second half!!

SATCHMOE writes:

Got to learn how to break the zone. You don't do it by dribbling but quick passes. Need to pass,pass,pass, to break the zone.We need a shooting point guard that can hit from the top of the key. Oh Well

One_in_West_Knox writes:

Mid-range jump shots..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................UT men's basketball

Can they EVER be close together??

oldster writes:

in response to NashvilleVolsincebirth:

Well the better news is they hit 10 of 13 free throws according to the stat sheet. AND McBee looks like he can shoot if they will keep him in the game and dish it to him. The big men have got to recognize the triple team down low on rebounds and drives that get bogged down then kick it out to a wide open shooter more often to have a better chance of winning. I think we are starting to see some maturity as a whole with this team. Coming back late,even against mid majors, still takes concentration and your confidence gets built when you convert FT in the clutch. We have some upside this season and now with the Christmas present, there is a bigger upside than I could have hoped a week ago.

In the post game wrap up Kessling said that the Vols were 9 for 9 with fts in second half and 13 of 24 overall. So, I misheard him, he mis-spoke (not unusual for Kessling), or your stat sheet is wrong. I would bet on the second were I a betting man.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Lack of a really good PG showed badly in this game..Sr. Bobby Maze would have drove it right down the middle and jammed it in their face!!But Golden isn't a senior nor does he have Maze's muscle or speed.Big turning point in game came win the Vols had 44-41 lead and a ton of momentum!!!Enter Washpun out of the time out and he single handedly in less than 5 minutes sent ETSU on a 8-0 run by throwing wild passes;3 turnovers and a crazy 3 point brick!!He played 10 minutes went 0-4;missed his ft's and I lost track of the to's he caused!! Say what you want about Golden but had he stayed in the game the Vol's may have blown the game open.

Yeah but it was our total guard play tonight that got us in the hole to start with. The good thing about us tonight was the inside play actually at times helped Golden and McRae guard. I don't think Golden was at full strength and McRae just didn't know what to do? Washpun obviously was lost on offense. we did seem to come together at the end and put together a winning effort. my disappointments were on the defensive side. Opposing guards should not have their way in the paint? I didn't see where Golden's game was on when Washpun came in. I think it was good for Golden and Washpun to sit out some. I like them both and have stated that before but some how we need better guard defense. Richardson and Miller didn't help much tonight.But Hall and Woolridge played well mostly. Makenjuola? Did he play? well we need to learn to pass the ball inside without throwing it to the defense.
I will give credit to ETSU for their defense being in our passing lanes all night.but if we can dribble we can find a shot or a pass. they're young and teachable I believe. but the games fresh in my head and I can't be too optimistic now.
Also it's 2:40 am I got up for the restroom and I can't think and nevermind it's back to bed.

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