Jeronne Maymon talks about his big game against Memphis
LAHAINA, Hawaii – No one on the Tennessee coaching staff or roster is calling the the men's basketball team's two losses in the EA Sports Maui Invitational moral victories.
But the Vols (2-2) have, at the very least, proved a point to those who doubted their potential.
"This has been a great test for us,'' UT coach Cuonzo Martin said after the Vols dropped a 99-97 double-overtime loss to No. 8 Memphis on Tuesday at the Lahaina Civic Center."It's tremendous for our program to find out where we are, for our players to go up against great talent and great teams, and, man, we feel good about it.
"We as a coaching staff feel confident with what we have, but it was important for the guys to feel that way. When you play with confidence, anything can happen.''
Tennessee, which finishes the tournament against Division II Chaminade (2-2) at 2:30 p.m. today (TV: ESPNU), fought No. 6 Duke to the finish in a 77-67 loss on Monday.
Tournament chairman Dave Odom, who coached at Wake Forest and South Carolina and lives in North Carolina, said the Vols' efforts have been inspiring.
"They have completely changed the perception of their team (and) earned a new measure of respect,'' Odom said. "They showed the kind of toughness I'm sure (UT coach) Derek Dooley is trying to recapture in the Vols' football program.''
Jeronne Maymon, UT's 6-foot-7, 265-pound power forward, has looked like he belongs on the football field at times, bulling his frame around the paint to the tune of consecutive double doubles.
Against the Blue Devils, Maymon went for 14 points and 12 rebounds, while his 32 points and 20 rebounds against Memphis were noteworthy.
"We know we're good enough to play against anybody on any given night,'' Maymon said. "Each night we go to practice like we're getting ready for the No. 1-ranked team.''
UT point guard Trae Golden said the Vols' performances against Duke and Memphis might be validation for those outside the program, but not for the team.
"We can play with anybody; I don't think we learned that here — we knew that,'' Golden said. "Right now, we have to work defensively and offensively and get better.''
Historical Notes: Not only was Maymon's 30-point, 20-rebound effort the first for UT since Steve Hamer's 31 points and 21 rebounds against Alabama at the SEC tournament in 1996, it was the first for a player on a major conference team since Oklahoma's Blake Griffin accomplished the feat in 2009. Before that, current NBA players Michael Beasley (Kansas State) and Kevin Durant (Texas) had most recently accomplished the feat.
Maymon's 16 free throws were the fifth-most in a game in UT history and most since Tony White hit 18 in 1987.
Maymon's 32 points were the most for the Vols since Scotty Hopson scored 32 in a 69-63 loss against Georgia Feb. 19.
The Vols double-overtime loss was the program's first double OT game since Jan. 27, 2001, a 77-75 loss at Georgia.
After not making a 3-pointer for the first time in 461 games on Monday, UT started a new streak of games with a made 3-pointer with seven against Memphis.
Tough-Day Trae: Martin said Golden is going through a transition now that opponents have identified him.
"It's the next phase for Trae, when he has a target on his back,'' Martin said. "He's got to be able to play through the physical play. As far as the shots, I don't get concerned with how many shots he's taking.''
Golden was 3-of-19 shooting from the field in the loss to Memphis.
"I felt like I had two and three guys on me the whole time,'' Golden said. "It was a tough day for me, but we have to get ready to play again.''