LAHAINA, Hawaii — Tennessee finally found its shooting touch in Maui, raining down 15 3-pointers en route to an easy 86-60 victory over Division II Chaminade on Wednesday.
“It was good for the guys to shoot like that,’’ UT coach Cuonzo Martin said. “But more than anything, you want to come over here and play hard, and we did that.
“This was one of those games that’s tough to get prepared for, coming back with a 6:30 in the morning team meeting after you just go blow-for-blow in a double-overtime game, but the guys handled it well and I’m proud of them.’’
The victory by UT (3-2) came in the seventh-place game of the Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center and started at 9:30 a.m. local time.
The Silverswords (2-3) are 6-76 all-time in the Maui tournament, while UT’s all-time record in the tournament is 2-4, with its only other win coming against Stanford — 69-57 — in the season-opener of Buzz Peterson’s last season, 2004-05.
The Vols lost their first two games on the trip to No. 6 Duke (77-67) and No. 8 Memphis (99-97, double overtime).
Tennessee power forward Jeronne Maymon started but played only the first two minutes after tweaking his ankle during his 32-point, 20-rebound performance in the Vols’ loss to Memphis on Tuesday.
“I don’t remember anything happening; I woke up this morning and I was like, ‘damn!’ ” Maymon said. “It was 50-50 if I could have played. I didn’t play though, precautionary, I guess you could say.’’
Martin said Maymon will continue to get treatment on his ankle, and he expects Maymon to be able to play when UT returns to action Monday (TV: ESPNU, 9 p.m.) at Oakland (Mich.).
Tennessee, which will travel back to Knoxville tonight and into Friday morning, has a few days to feel good about its shooting against the Silverswords.
Duke held UT to an 0-for-8 shooting performance beyond the 3-point line on Monday, marking the first time in 461 games the Vols didn’t make a 3-point shot.
Tennessee warmed up to 7-of-21 shooting the three against the rival Tigers, but that was still well off the 26-of-53, 3-point shooting pace it entered the tournament with after playing two home games.
The Vols collectively shot 15 of 27 (56 percent) from 3-point range on Wednesday.
UT sophomore shooting guard Jordan McRae led the charge with a career-high 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including a 5-for-7 performance beyond the 3-point arc.
“It felt good making some shots and getting out there on defense,’’ said McRae, who also had a career-high five steals in the 24 minutes he played. “I didn’t play at the end of the Memphis game because Josh (Richardson) had got a hot hand and was getting after it on defense.’’
Trae Golden recovered his touch as well, scoring 17 points including 4-for-4 shooting the 3-pointer. Golden, who played nearly half of his 25 minutes at shooting guard on Wednesday, also pulled down five rebounds and passed out seven assists. Cameron Tatum scored 12 points, and Renaldo Woolridge had 11.
The biggest question against Chaminade was how UT would recover having to play the tournament’s first game on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. local time after their exhausting effort in the loss to the rival Tigers.
The Vols didn’t waste time answering the question, breaking out to a 14-2 lead in the opening minutes.
Chaminade, which trailed UCLA by only two points at the half of their first contest in Maui, cut the lead to 19-12 on a Lee Bailey 3-pointer, but UT came back with a 7-0 flourish and held a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game.
Martin cleared his bench starting at the 2:31 mark with the Vols up 85-56, allowing former Knoxville prep players Brandon Lopez, Galen Campbell and Tyler Summitt to play along with Ryan Kilmartin and Rob Murphy. Only Campbell registered a statistic in the box score, missing both of the 3-pointers he attempted.
Mike Griffith can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32