Vols hold off Western Carolina, 66-52

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) drives over Western Carolina guard Mike Brown (2) as he goes up for a basket in the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) drives over Western Carolina guard Mike Brown (2) as he goes up for a basket in the second half at Thompson-Boling Arena Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

If Tennessee had hopes of strolling its way into Christmas break against Western Carolina Friday night, a bad omen dashed those wishes in pregame warmups.

“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” piped through Thompson-Boling Arena’s speakers about 40 minutes before tip-off.

With that heart two-sizes too small, the Grinch reared his grouchy head in the first half, but he couldn’t steal the game.

After making just three shots in the first half, Tennessee made 14-of-26 second-half field goals and rode a late 18-2 run to a 66-52 victory over the Catamounts.

“It was a rough game all around,” said sophomore guard Josh Richardson, who sparked the Vols by scoring 10 of his 12 points in the second half.

The difference, as in most UT wins this season, came at the free-throw line.

The Vols (7-3) enjoyed 42 shots from the stripe. They made 30.

Aggravation seeped off the Catamounts as 30 whistles hampered most of the lineup with foul trouble. On the other end, UT was called for 13 fouls.

“Any team would be frustrated knowing their opponent is continuing to get the foul calls and going to the line,” said Tennessee senior forward Kenny Hall, who returned to the lineup with nine points and 13 rebounds after missing Tuesday’s win over Presbyterian with a strained hamstring. “That goes without saying. Of course they were getting frustrated.”

It boiled over when UT’s game-changing 18-2 run turned a 38-37 WCU advantage with 11:54 left in the second half into a 55-40 lead for the home team with 4:06 remaining. The Catamounts were dazed.

The stretch included three layups by Richardson, two big buckets by Hall, four of Jordan McRae’s 14 points and was capped by a Skylar McBee 3-pointer from the wing.

“We loosened that thing up — making some perimeter shots, attacking off the dribble offensively and making plays,” said coach Cuonzo Martin.

The Vols’ outburst erased an otherwise anemic offensive showing.

Western Carolina (4-8) jumped out to a 14-4 lead thanks to point guard Trey Sumler, who finished with game-high 23 points. Coach Larry Hunter filled his Catamounts’ coffer with top-25 tests at Georgetown, Illinois and Wichita State this year and it showed. A two-thirds empty Thompson-Boling Arena offered no intimidation.

Then the whistles started piercing the air.

WCU’s valiant early lead vanished as the Vols began parading to the line.

Tennessee missed 18 of its 21 field-goal attempts in the opening 20 minutes, but used 16-of-20 free-throw shooting to manage a 22-18 halftime lead.

“With this being the last game before Christmas, I guess people weren’t as focused — ready to go home or whatever — but we were talking (at halftime) about still having a game to play,” Hall said.

It only got worse for WCU in the second half. Tennessee took 22 more foul shots. Fourteen went in.

Jarnell Stokes added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Vols, who dominated the glass, 45-30. Fifteen offensive boards led to a 17-2 edge in second-chance points.

Fighting through a 1-for-9 night from the field, Trae Golden made 8-of-10 free throws and finished with 10 points.

While UT’s hit-or-miss offense mostly missed, the defense again stood pat. Western Carolina shot 21-for-56 (37.5 percent) from the field and became the 10th straight opponent held under 70 by the Vols.

That’s Tennessee’s longest streak since coach Kevin O’Neill’s 1995-96 Vols held 16 straight foes under 70.

Four days off now await the Vols. Just like the Whos, they get to celebrate Christmas.

It’ll be short. They’ll be back to work at practice the 26th.

Xavier comes to Knoxville next Saturday.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 52

vol98champ writes:

Hard to watch at times. Exciting at times. I think they called 30 fouls against WC. In 1960 when I played they would have called 100. This game is getting dangerously rough.

Tennfan4075 writes:

The BB team has become the alter ego of the football team all defense no offense as to just the opposite of FB all offense and no defense. Neither will work in the long run.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Opposing teams aren't liking Stokes much. Refs just let it go 'cause he's big?? But obviously Stokes wasn't the only one on our team getting fouled. I was beginning to think their coaches teach them the fouling method of defense. well it worked first half.

Way to take it and way to make a lot of free throws. If you'd made more the first half they'd stop that junk.

BTW merry Christmas W. C.

Also wtg Mocs. finally.

BruisedOrange writes:

Got to watch the first half on TV.

Call me crazy, but that was the most intriguing, enjoyable first half of basketball I've ever watched! (with no championship on the line)

When Tennessee was on offense, every pass, every fake, certainly every shot from the field was important simply because, like Keebler cookies, they were uncommonly good.

And how entertaining it was to have every free throw in the first half feel as critical as any trip to the line with only seconds remaining.

But that defense... oh, I could watch that kind of effort on defense 'til the end of March! Guts, effort, hustle, tenacity. Those are character traits, and whatever the venue, they are what make sport worth watching.

Thank you CCM. Great effort men!

SummittsCourt writes:

Glad they were not playing Duke tonight. If you are going to have a bad game better have it against WC than a quality team.

tennrich1 writes:

Man Doug Shows and crew may have called one of the worst I have seen in some time tonite....not bias either way so much (UT was taking to the hole intentional to draw fouls and it worked)...Just an ugly officiated game...and I dont slam on Doug and the boys often...I thought the flagrant foul was a little too much...At least Vols won..

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

This team is the worst shooting BB team I've ever seen..If Maymon doesn't play this season they won't make the NIT the way they're shooting.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Came in handy against a team wearing brass knuckles.

manning_berry_special_player1614 writes:

good game ..GO VOLS..

ACWLY writes:

Conditioning and bench only reason we won this game... but we won and that's what it's all about.

1vavolfan writes:

I don't think Bert got to yell money until half way through the 2nd half. WCU is not a bad team and should do well in the Southern Conference. Impressed with Richardson, we need to put him on the opposing team's best scorer every night. Hall had a good game except for the turnovers.

GerryOP writes:

No one can accuse this team of giving up. Another difficult lesson. Good job by 'Zo and our basketVols.

AllVol1 writes:

This team is learning some tough lessons about how other teams are attacking them. Tonight, they had to capitalize on free throws. Fortunately, they did. Also, teams that can slowly grind out the clock have good luck against the Vols. Until this team gets dangerous from the foul line and can push for more transition points, this will be the way most teams will attempt to beat them. If Richardson will let go and play with a true scorer's mentality, that would help tremendously.

At this point, I am personally hoping Maymon redshirts. If he takes the time to fully heal up, we would be absolutely loaded for a deep run next year. And the team would be stronger because this year other players would have to develop themselves (Stokes, for example) without Maymon to lean on.

TheFuj writes:

Just do not look good. I hope Maymon can return before the SEC. Also, hope it is not the Dooley coaching technique. Best his first year, then drop each year.
Team wins or losses most games with Mc's. If Mcrae and Mcbrick hit well--we will win most if not all games.

pupvol writes:

The gang that can't shoot straight!

SevenT writes:

Does anyone know if the NCAA is checking into the eligibility of Skylar McBee. He looks like he is a 30 year old hippie from the smokey mountains. No way he is in college.

MikeInTN writes:

Very boring team to watch!!!

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Does anyone know if the NCAA is checking into the eligibility of Skylar McBee. He looks like he is a 30 year old hippie from the smokey mountains. No way he is in college.

Pot calling the kettle black when it comes to checking into eligibility. This is what players look like when they stay more than one year. I forgot, you all have to learn a new roster every year. You need to put Velcro on your souvenier jerseys so you dont have to buy a new one each year. What is the funniest thing of all, even with the best recruiting class in the nation, the great Cal's kittens have yet to beat a ranked team.

PHAT_VOL writes:

Spending way to much time thinking on offense. Just run the pattern and play.
Dont stress free through shooting it only makes it worse.
Hopefully they will get rid the head deamonds and play lose on offense and the free throw shooting will improve as well.
GO VOLS!!!

Pullingguard writes:

This team will get killed in SEC this year...Sorry shooting team, the first half was terrible, and except for some generous foul calling in first half it would have been worse... Some were worried Stokes would go pro....Forget it....Ome has to wonder
If he's being coached up for improved game, or if it's those surrounding him that affects his potential. Hard to watch this team..

ellerbee123 writes:

For the first time since Pearl was our coach, I feel our basketball program is on its way back to where it was before the Pearl days. Martin needs to step up and get some shooters or we need to start hunting a coach for next year whether we can afford it or not.

david_light_38230#225602 writes:

Ugly but a win . . . What is the status of Maymon?

GO VOLS!!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to LSG410EC83:

Pot calling the kettle black when it comes to checking into eligibility. This is what players look like when they stay more than one year. I forgot, you all have to learn a new roster every year. You need to put Velcro on your souvenier jerseys so you dont have to buy a new one each year. What is the funniest thing of all, even with the best recruiting class in the nation, the great Cal's kittens have yet to beat a ranked team.

LSG and fellow Vols,

No, what is really funny is how 2 trolls, Seven IQ and Title village are more consumed with Tennessee than many of our own fans.

Those 2 kids hop on every column we read.
Really funny............

underthehill writes:

Hard to watch this team..about says it all..not sure when the last time was that UT had 3 field goals in the first 20 min..the TV guys said they had never seen a game when the foul shot points total for both teams was more than the total points of their field goals..the loss of Maymon was expected to have a bad effect..but not this bad..my hope is that the young guys get more game time and step up..looks like the finish last year created false expectations by me...

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to AllVol1:

This team is learning some tough lessons about how other teams are attacking them. Tonight, they had to capitalize on free throws. Fortunately, they did. Also, teams that can slowly grind out the clock have good luck against the Vols. Until this team gets dangerous from the foul line and can push for more transition points, this will be the way most teams will attempt to beat them. If Richardson will let go and play with a true scorer's mentality, that would help tremendously.

At this point, I am personally hoping Maymon redshirts. If he takes the time to fully heal up, we would be absolutely loaded for a deep run next year. And the team would be stronger because this year other players would have to develop themselves (Stokes, for example) without Maymon to lean on.

It's obvious the last 2 games an effort to push in transition has been emphasized..Problem is this year even bad teams are running the floor and getting back fast on defense.The days of 3 and 4 men on 2 on break aways with cool dunks are OVER!!Not much can be done about that with coaches doing so much preaching about getting back quickly and in position to defend..Thats why you see Golden push up court himself and going coast to coast for a lay up..It's so bad that trailing players can't even make a play..Look to me that Richardson cut loose pretty good..He had a huge game on offense and defense and was a big reason we got the win

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Offensively this teams got some holes that Martin is having a hard time fixing; and I don't see it improving any time soon..There was a time when Martin ran a motion offense with a lot of player movement..I wasn't a big fan of this but it would help a lot against the zone defense..You may have noticed WCU used it and it helped them a lot..We are doing better against the zone and Martin has resorted to a offense that is based on driving hard to the basket with good results..What frustrates me is nobody on this team can hit a pull up jump shot at 12 feet out!!Any player at this level should have that down pat!!It's basketball 101..You develop that skill in High School..WCU had it down pat!!! Shooting 2 for 17 in the first half is inexcusable on your home court..Not much Martin can do about us opening games shooting bricks!!!I give him credit for his calm demeanor with the cold shooting..If Iam the coach I would be in the players face for missing point blank shots and easy lay ups!!If we do that against Xavier they will blow us out of our own gym..Kudos to Richardson for playing great on offense and defense.Without him sparking the offense we could have lost the game!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree. A good post player does most of his work before he gets the ball. Part of that can be making a little hop just as the ball comes to him to get his feet placed to make a quick, strong move without having to put it on the floor. Footwork seems to be a sadly neglected part of the game for most players these days.

budd#207344 writes:

This is a game that last year's team loses. It shows they have grown and I think will be better than last year at the end. Getting more scoring and making foul shots. The loss to Gtown hurt but they learned from it. Want to see the Xavier and Memphis games. I'm betting on wins

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

This team is the worst shooting BB team I've ever seen..If Maymon doesn't play this season they won't make the NIT the way they're shooting.

Don't think that will be a problem. Look who Vandy lost to last night. The SEC is pitiful. Only 3 or 4 teams most likely will have a winning conference record. UT should get the needed 16 wins for NIT. I am holding out hope still for the big dance. All depends on the Mc brothers. Skyler and Jordan.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Glad they were not playing Duke tonight. If you are going to have a bad game better have it against WC than a quality team.

Well, if they were playing #1 Duke, TBA would most likely be full and rocking. It's pretty hard for college kids to get up for a game against an also-ran in a nearly empty gym. CCM tries to get them to play hard and well on every possession, every game, against every opponent, but this is hard for most players to do on a consistent basis. It may take a while yet to get players to understand the importance of that in their bones.

johnlg00 writes:

I'm not sure if a missed shot on which the shooter is fouled counts toward figuring field-goal percentage, but from all accounts, the Vols were taking the ball inside and getting chopped. I didn't see the game so I don't know if they were throwing bricks from the perimeter. As long as they keep playing the stingy defense, rebounding, taking it at the rim, and making free-throws, they will have a chance to win most games. Still too early for gloom and doom about this team. The shots will fall at some point if every player is taking shots that are good ones for them.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Don't think that will be a problem. Look who Vandy lost to last night. The SEC is pitiful. Only 3 or 4 teams most likely will have a winning conference record. UT should get the needed 16 wins for NIT. I am holding out hope still for the big dance. All depends on the Mc brothers. Skyler and Jordan.

Yeah, you're probably right. I think UT will beat Ole Miss in the opener, and other than Missouri and possibly FU should be able to play with anybody in the conference. I wouldn't count them out against the gators either, based on past results and the ability to take FU out of their game. UT could easily have another good conference record, but, the SEC is so down this year their RPI won't move down much even if they win in conference.

maciste54 writes:

WC could have been called for twice the fouls they were. Barely stopped short of actually tackling and punching the Vols in the mouth. I'm surprised there were no fisticuffs.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I'm not sure if a missed shot on which the shooter is fouled counts toward figuring field-goal percentage, but from all accounts, the Vols were taking the ball inside and getting chopped. I didn't see the game so I don't know if they were throwing bricks from the perimeter. As long as they keep playing the stingy defense, rebounding, taking it at the rim, and making free-throws, they will have a chance to win most games. Still too early for gloom and doom about this team. The shots will fall at some point if every player is taking shots that are good ones for them.

McBee hit one 3 pointer with about 5 min to play, so he earned his brick layers union card last night. Sadly the whole team was sleep walking, Golden only made one shot from the field a driving layup and McRae couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a beach ball. Other than that they looked great. But, I do believe it was more of Christmas Break influence than focus as well as playing a team that was 4&8. UT played with a lot more passion at the 10 min mark and really squeezed the life out of their opponent. For that reason I call Cuonzo's style of coaching the Anaconda attack..Opposed to Pearl who was more of a quick strike Viper attack..JAT.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to maciste54:

WC could have been called for twice the fouls they were. Barely stopped short of actually tackling and punching the Vols in the mouth. I'm surprised there were no fisticuffs.

Good point, that goon "King" was strictly a fouler..He wasn't in the game for any other reason than to hack Stokes and commit flagrant fouls. I'm shocked McRae didn't get flattened on his back after that cheap shot he received in mid-air. Like you mentioned it could have gotten real ugly especially if Jordan would have been injured.

BruisedOrange writes:

What I saw in the first half was every shot taken from within 5 feet hitting low on the front edge of the rim. Don't know if due to a lot of forearm fouls not being called, but hard to imagine everyone going inside was too weak last night to get the ball up another 2 inches.

It really was strange to see guards AND big men repeatedly shooting the ball low into the rim like that from close-in.

Isn't that the new technique? When you're taking the ball hard into the basket, gripping the ball too tight or in the wrong way to finesse the shot, to send the bottom third of the ball into the front rim to take velocity off the shot, deflecting its momentum upward and giving it the best chance to gently find its way into the hole?

Anybody in AAU that can comment?

BruisedOrange writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I agree. A good post player does most of his work before he gets the ball. Part of that can be making a little hop just as the ball comes to him to get his feet placed to make a quick, strong move without having to put it on the floor. Footwork seems to be a sadly neglected part of the game for most players these days.

Back in the '80s you could see 14-18 year old big men practicing where there was no basket... only a flat wall where they could bounce passes to themselves to practice the timing of their footwork, then dance through 4 or 5 different step patterns (at least 2 of which set up hook shots--as per previous poster).

I think coaches have soured on the baby hook because they're convinced it generates fewer fouls and offensive rebounds. Though of course, if a player makes 60% of them...(!)

BxVol writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

Back in the '80s you could see 14-18 year old big men practicing where there was no basket... only a flat wall where they could bounce passes to themselves to practice the timing of their footwork, then dance through 4 or 5 different step patterns (at least 2 of which set up hook shots--as per previous poster).

I think coaches have soured on the baby hook because they're convinced it generates fewer fouls and offensive rebounds. Though of course, if a player makes 60% of them...(!)

Bernard King did a segment with Red Auerbach that can been seen on You Tube showng how he was ready to shoot quickly over a smaller defender.This should be mandatory watching for our Vols!

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Well, if they were playing #1 Duke, TBA would most likely be full and rocking. It's pretty hard for college kids to get up for a game against an also-ran in a nearly empty gym. CCM tries to get them to play hard and well on every possession, every game, against every opponent, but this is hard for most players to do on a consistent basis. It may take a while yet to get players to understand the importance of that in their bones.

Seemed like a bigger crowd than Presb., but not as loud. Us upper deckers were a lot louder than those (not all) falling asleep on the floor. Realize the students are out for Christmas and the weather was far from the greatest to have to drive in/walk in, but the size of the crowd wasn't bad. Hope there will be some rowdies courtside for the Xavier game. As for the play, was good to see that being down by 10 at one point did not have the guys getting down on themselves. I feel this is a huge improvement for these guys compared to last year. I did like seeing them continue attacking the rim although they were getting hacked and beat up a lot (more were not called than called). Sure they are beginning to see that improved free throw shooting is a huge help in securing a win. Ugly game at first, but thought they played good the second half. Look for them only to get better. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

LibertyVolance writes:

in response to BruisedOrange:

Got to watch the first half on TV.

Call me crazy, but that was the most intriguing, enjoyable first half of basketball I've ever watched! (with no championship on the line)

When Tennessee was on offense, every pass, every fake, certainly every shot from the field was important simply because, like Keebler cookies, they were uncommonly good.

And how entertaining it was to have every free throw in the first half feel as critical as any trip to the line with only seconds remaining.

But that defense... oh, I could watch that kind of effort on defense 'til the end of March! Guts, effort, hustle, tenacity. Those are character traits, and whatever the venue, they are what make sport worth watching.

Thank you CCM. Great effort men!

Either you are crazy or the other posters surely are. Not having seen the game myself, I can only rely on the descriptions of the ones who did. What you saw is completely opposite of what other people saw, so somebody is obviously wrong in their description.

I know this. Things usually get tougher after the break when conference play begins. If we are having this much consternation scoring offensively now, it isn't going to get better later. The defense may be good, but D alone doesn't translate into success. Kevin O'Neil's teams proved that.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to LibertyVolance:

Either you are crazy or the other posters surely are. Not having seen the game myself, I can only rely on the descriptions of the ones who did. What you saw is completely opposite of what other people saw, so somebody is obviously wrong in their description.

I know this. Things usually get tougher after the break when conference play begins. If we are having this much consternation scoring offensively now, it isn't going to get better later. The defense may be good, but D alone doesn't translate into success. Kevin O'Neil's teams proved that.

Well, unlike the Presby game we DID score more than them in both halves. Josh had a great game. Stokes is probably still soaking in hot water for the bruises. Golden and McRae made some free throws. It might have been more interesting if you'd watched it.hehe

Basketvol writes:

in response to budd#207344:

This is a game that last year's team loses. It shows they have grown and I think will be better than last year at the end. Getting more scoring and making foul shots. The loss to Gtown hurt but they learned from it. Want to see the Xavier and Memphis games. I'm betting on wins

I'm surprised more people don't see it this way. UT lost to AP last year. I don't see that happening with this team, which shows improvement. And no, I don't think AP (or Oakland, who UT lost to last year and beat this year) should be a measuring stick for the Vols, but that's just the way it is right now. When you are rebuilding a program you have to start somewhere.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

btw BrusedOrange may be crazy. But he is definitely facetious.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

btw BrusedOrange may be crazy. But he is definitely facetious.

hmmm maybe not! I definitely think we're much better this year that at any time last year.

Basketvol writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

McBee hit one 3 pointer with about 5 min to play, so he earned his brick layers union card last night. Sadly the whole team was sleep walking, Golden only made one shot from the field a driving layup and McRae couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a beach ball. Other than that they looked great. But, I do believe it was more of Christmas Break influence than focus as well as playing a team that was 4&8. UT played with a lot more passion at the 10 min mark and really squeezed the life out of their opponent. For that reason I call Cuonzo's style of coaching the Anaconda attack..Opposed to Pearl who was more of a quick strike Viper attack..JAT.

Apologies in advance for nit-picking, because I do agree with what you are saying overall; but Skylar actually hit two 3-pointers (2-8) and one free throw (1-2)that he earned by driving to the basket. He also had 3 rebounds, an assist, and no turnovers. I point this out because I hear so much negativity directed towards Skylar, while I see a player who gives his all for Tennessee. I'm not saying you are one of those people, because I haven't gone back and read your posts, but just making the point in general.

Basketvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I'm not sure if a missed shot on which the shooter is fouled counts toward figuring field-goal percentage, but from all accounts, the Vols were taking the ball inside and getting chopped. I didn't see the game so I don't know if they were throwing bricks from the perimeter. As long as they keep playing the stingy defense, rebounding, taking it at the rim, and making free-throws, they will have a chance to win most games. Still too early for gloom and doom about this team. The shots will fall at some point if every player is taking shots that are good ones for them.

I think it was about 50/50 as far as fouled shots vs bad shots. As many fouls as were called on WC, the refs probably could have called more. There was a "jump ball" involving Stokes that was clearly a foul. Also, there was an incident where one of the officials warned one of the WC players. I hate when they do that. Was it a foul or not? Yes, blow the whistle. No, let them play.

The numbers show that WC fouls a lot, more than the NCAA average, and I think this explains the amount of fouls, more so than any "home-cooking" theory proposed by some. I was proud of this team for they almost literally had to "fight" their way to a win. I'm glad it didn't come down to that.

Basketvol writes:

in response to Basketvol:

I think it was about 50/50 as far as fouled shots vs bad shots. As many fouls as were called on WC, the refs probably could have called more. There was a "jump ball" involving Stokes that was clearly a foul. Also, there was an incident where one of the officials warned one of the WC players. I hate when they do that. Was it a foul or not? Yes, blow the whistle. No, let them play.

The numbers show that WC fouls a lot, more than the NCAA average, and I think this explains the amount of fouls, more so than any "home-cooking" theory proposed by some. I was proud of this team for they almost literally had to "fight" their way to a win. I'm glad it didn't come down to that.

Also proud of Stokes for the maturity he displayed while being constantly "assaulted" by the other team.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Basketvol:

Apologies in advance for nit-picking, because I do agree with what you are saying overall; but Skylar actually hit two 3-pointers (2-8) and one free throw (1-2)that he earned by driving to the basket. He also had 3 rebounds, an assist, and no turnovers. I point this out because I hear so much negativity directed towards Skylar, while I see a player who gives his all for Tennessee. I'm not saying you are one of those people, because I haven't gone back and read your posts, but just making the point in general.

No apology needed, and you won't find me bashing athletes ever. I simply call it like it is and sometimes my opinion rubs fans the wrong way. When Skylar plays well I'll be the first to point that out. Last night none of our perimeter shooters played well as I already alluded to..P:0

BruisedOrange writes:

in response to LibertyVolance:

Either you are crazy or the other posters surely are. Not having seen the game myself, I can only rely on the descriptions of the ones who did. What you saw is completely opposite of what other people saw, so somebody is obviously wrong in their description.

I know this. Things usually get tougher after the break when conference play begins. If we are having this much consternation scoring offensively now, it isn't going to get better later. The defense may be good, but D alone doesn't translate into success. Kevin O'Neil's teams proved that.

LOL! No, we saw (and I was describing) the same thing--and I wasn't being facetious, though I understand why mocsandvolsfan thought so.

I was talking about the GAME experience as a spectator, not the style or quality of the play. Tennessee's offensive play wasn't individually entertaining. But the sparsity of points made every touch that much more significant. And I'm surprised that, for me, it made the game much more entertaining!

In a fast played game where a total of 180+ points will be scored, fans experience the game as a series of runs: 8 or 10 points for one team, then momentum shifts and the other team scores a dozen. You see great individual plays, but the game's excitement comes more from the clock--who will make that last run to win it.

In Friday night's game, every Vol's touch of the ball had significance. When baskets are so hard to get, every nuance of the game begs your attention as a spectator.

In feel, it reminded me of watching the 1968 Game of the Century between UCLA and Houston... Lew Alcindor vs Elvin Hayes. The quality of our game was nowhere near that--but the BATTLE on defense AND for points in that first half absolutely was.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

If we don't play like we did against Wichita, then we'll lose the next two. X and Memphis both have very capable teams and if we don't execute our offense much, much better, we will see 2 losses.

Jarnell absolutely has to play more aggressive. Would like to see him get an attitude like the Ky. kid (Noels?)

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