Vols rout Arkansas, 77-58

Rout puts Vols in tie for 4th place in SEC

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) shoots over Arkansas forward Hunter Mickelson (21) while guard Brandon Mitchell (25) defends during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) shoots over Arkansas forward Hunter Mickelson (21) while guard Brandon Mitchell (25) defends during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee played like a team that wanted to make a statement Wednesday night.

Arkansas got the Vols' message, loud and clear.

"We feel like we can beat any team," UT freshman Jarnell Stokes said. "We feel like we should win out. There's no way we should lose any more games."

The Vols displayed that sort of swagger from the onset, winning their fourth straight with a 77-58 men's basketball victory over the Razorbacks before a crowd of 16,048 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The triumph moves UT (14-12, 6-5 SEC) into a tie for fourth place in the SEC with Mississippi State (19-7, 6-5).

Tennessee hit nine of its first 10 shots, fueling a 19-0 run that led to a 47-30 lead at the half. Arkansas (17-9, 5-6) didn't get closer than 10 points for the rest of the game, falling to 0-9 away from Fayetteville.

UT sophomore Jordan McRae came off the bench to score 14 points, as the Vols went to a four-guard lineup at times to effectively combat the Razorbacks' pressure defense.

Arkansas abandoned its press, and UT finished with 14 turnovers while the Razorbacks had 18.

Tennessee played without junior center Kenny Hall, who Martin said has been suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.

"You've got to do the right things on and off the court — that's the bottom line," said Martin, adding that Hall would neither practice nor travel with the team during his suspension.

Stokes started in Hall's place, as the Vols used their fifth different lineup since the beginning of the SEC season, improving to 5-0 in those games.

Trae Golden scored 13 points and had seven assists, Skylar McBee and Jeronne Maymon each had 12 points, Cam Tatum had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Stokes finished with 10 points.

"Our success starts with Trae Golden," Vols coach Cuonzo Martin said. "He has done a really good job taking that leadership as the point guard and running the offense. He's directing traffic, running the offense.

"Once he took that step and we became a better defensive team, I thought we had a chance to be pretty good."

Golden left the game for a few minutes in the second half after twisting his ankle, but he returned to play and Martin said it won't affect his status.

Arkansas, led by BJ Young's 18 points, used a 6-1 run to close to 60-50 with 8:29 left on a Brandon Mitchell basket.

McBee, who was 4-of-7 shooting the three, answered with a 3-pointer as UT came back with a 14-3 run of its own to put the game out of reach.

The Vols hit 11 3-pointers — their most since connecting on 12 on Jan. 31, 2009, in a 61-60 win over Florida — and led by as many as 24 points in the first half when Stokes scored on a put-back to make it 47-23 at the 3:57 mark.

The Razorbacks closed the half on a 7-0 run to narrow the margin.

UT's pivotal 19-0 run was triggered by a Tatum jumper at the 17:33 mark. Tatum closed the outburst, too, scoring on a drive at the 13:29 mark that made it 23-6.

"We're getting a vibe for each other, a good chemistry for each other, how and where each person likes the ball," said Tatum, who was 5-of-12 shooting. "We just have to keep playing for each other and playing collective defense.

"We're in that groove right now."

Tennessee returns to action at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Alabama (16-9, 5-6) in Coleman Coliseum.

The Crimson Tide has dropped two straight but is 10-3 at home this season and owns a 41-17 advantage over the Vols in Tuscaloosa.

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

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Comments » 62

VolunteerLifer writes:

Hubba, Hubba. Big win. great to see Cam have a good game. If he heats up we could be dangerous. Hopefully we'll get Kenny back before Tuscaloosa Saturday. Dare we think about the ncaa tourney now? Yes, I think we should. Way to go, Volunteers!!!

born2ride writes:

The Hogs have not been relevant since Nolan Richardson left.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to born2ride:

The Hogs have not been relevant since Nolan Richardson left.

Neither have you.

bosscat writes:

CCM for Coach of the Year.

iowavol writes:

Good to see this. Coach and the team coming together. Looks like a lot more confidence on the floor than what we saw earlier in the year.

Razor784 writes:

Yeah not sure they'll make the tourney but they've improved as much through this year as any Tennessee team that I can remember

govols1234567 writes:

hmmm... I'm starting to actually believe what Martin said about potentially making the tournament. Speaking of Martin, I read Tee Martin got hired by USC. Crazy.

kyvol98 writes:

Good game. No doubt the detractors will want to debate, Oh well.

vollerdash writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Neither have you.

Very nice comeback, lol......... i hate these trolls who cant just enjoy the win.Its hard to win at this level, SO ENJOY IT !!!!!

GerryOP writes:

Another great win for coach Zo and the gang!

Before the season some naysaying hater negavols predicted lucky to get 10 wins and maybe 2-3 SEC wins. I'm lookin' at you westknoxrepub! I predicted we win more than we lose and finish well above the predicted 11th in the SEC. I'm still ahead.

Betcha there aren't too many teams anxious to play our Vols right now.

10SE writes:

What the heck is going on here?

kyvol98 writes:

in response to born2ride:

The Hogs have not been relevant since Nolan Richardson left.

Gee, and you haven't had a relevant post since.... well never! Everyone is tired of you, so please, just go away. Like the hogs, you are ROASTED!

GerryOP writes:

in response to kyvol98:

Good game. No doubt the detractors will want to debate, Oh well.

Naysayers keep on naying, haters keep on hating, and negaVols keep on being negative. That's just what they do!

eduardo writes:

dunk by Stokes has got to make espn top 10!

Brentwoodvol writes:

in response to born2ride:

The Hogs have not been relevant since Nolan Richardson left.

Dude give it up, by now you are just looking childish. CCM is making you look more stupid by the game. Man up or go away!!!

punkin writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Neither have you.

Excellent!!!!!

Ironcity writes:

Awesome game hope Goldens ankle is OK. I also hope Alabama's bigs are still suspended. I didn't particularly care for our small lineup but it did the job. We win Saturday then who knows what could happen.

jt45 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Neither have you.

+10 I got a good laugh out of that one. Some folks just never learn.

makelemonade writes:

If we win out, there's a good chance we will end up tied with Fla for 2nd. We would get the second seed in the tourney due to the sweep. I really don't see the NCAA passing over the second place SEC team no matter what our RPI ends up. Of course, that still depends on us winning the rest of them.

tobytyler writes:

How about Trae Golden!!! 13pts,7asst, and more importantly turning into the point guard and leader that we knew he could be. Next year he will be the best pg in the sec. This team is peaking at the right time, and hopefully they can get a tough road win at Alabama on Saturday. Go Big Orange!!

wigmeister writes:

Good game. Began to get a little worried when the Hogs began to come back, but our boys held it together. CCM has done a good job. Hope this is just the start of a long roll.

wigmeister writes:

Man, Jarnell has large feet. I don't know how any opposing player moves him. Throw it down Jarnell!!

smyrnavol1 writes:

I finally got to watch a game from start to finish tonight. Coach has these boys playing like a team, and not crazy streetball. The "D" was intense the whole(a few lapses) game. Nice job with ball movement also. Great complete game IMHO. GO VOLS!!! Always VFL!!!

blackoutcuffem1592 writes:

You've got to be proud of this Tennessee team. Even if they are not able to make the NCAA tournament this year, the pieces are in place next year for this to be a very special team, possibly the 2nd best team in the SEC behind Kentucky

VandyisGold writes:

Great game guys. UT played a flawless first half. This team is hot and I don't look forward to our game. I'll have to admit Martin is the real deal. He has complete control of this team.

RunningWithTheVols writes:

in response to born2ride:

The Hogs have not been relevant since Nolan Richardson left.

Neither have you

traderjoe writes:

Looking Good!!! Finally some sunshine in Voland

jt45 writes:

Excellent job by Golden against the hogs high pressure defense, he showed some toughness coming back after that injury. Jordan McRae has really made some major improvements over the last few games, in fact they all have and their playing like a different team. The second half had some traces of the old team and they did get worn down a little but they weathered the storm.
McBee is shooting much better since he started. Stokes is gonna be something else with a season or two under his belt.

Good win,Coach Martin has turned this team around, that's quite an accomplishment considering how they started out.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to blackoutcuffem1592:

You've got to be proud of this Tennessee team. Even if they are not able to make the NCAA tournament this year, the pieces are in place next year for this to be a very special team, possibly the 2nd best team in the SEC behind Kentucky

Yes, I agree that next year could be special, assuming a few things come together. And who knows about Kentucky, given they will likely be a completely different team next year. They might be very good again, or not. But I'm more focused on us. Ain't it great??

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to RunningWithTheVols:

Neither have you

Great comeback. Wish I had thought of it. Oh, well.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

Congratulations to Coach Martin---for the first time in a long on the hill, there is ample evidence of continuously coaching the players on a U. T. major men's team. Game to game player development has been lacking since Phillip Fulmer coached football.

Kenny Hall's question to Coach Martin, earlier in the season, about what could the player do to become one of those high producing ballers sounded like a "con," at the time. Maybe I'm just cynical, nowadays; but I believe Hall has shown what he can do to help the team: get suspended, so that the team has to develop its 3-point shooting. Now if they will increase by just a fraction, the inside game---sad that Orlando's son is not a grinder inside and that the kid from Nigeria is so horribly green---then maybe, just maybe, they can continue the string...

if they can remember to NOT let up when they are up, but turn it up for the entire 40 minutes---not the talk, but the walk of that, so they don't let up after half-time...

one game at a time...

make a run in the tournament...

one game at a time...

and get a couple of rounds into the NCAA...

one game at a time...

and somebody can get Coach Martin to stand for coach of the year, nationally.

One game at time...this team does not need Kenny Hall.

Don't know what he did to get into this mess, but he probably needs this team.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Have you guys ever heard the grouchy Leland from Arkansas who calls in on the Sports Animal?
He'll give his grouchy account of the game on Thursday.
The Vols were really hot..........then a little lull where they got careless with the ball and people started standing round looking for one guy
to do it all. But..........after the run by the Hogs, Tennessee regained its touch.

The biggest thing IMO, is bringing in a few more pieces of the puzzle, and coupled with the experience gained by the young players........the Vols will be something else next year.....maybe even at the end of this season.

Good job, just keep it up !

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to VandyisGold:

Great game guys. UT played a flawless first half. This team is hot and I don't look forward to our game. I'll have to admit Martin is the real deal. He has complete control of this team.

Nice post, VandyG. We'll be hungry that game, and I know the Dores will bring it strong. Lookin' for a "no-quarter-asked-none-given" type of game at TBA.

VolinCalif writes:

Yep! Yep! Yep! Those were our Vols.

carbonzip writes:

Maymon and Stokes working nicely togather.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Wow! Who'd a thunk it?

GO BIG O.

rabidvol1998 writes:

Do you think our Vols are number 1 on the "I wouldn't want to play them in the tournament list"? Lots of 4,5, and 6 seeds are hoping we don't make it.

GBO.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Agree with the comments about Vandy is Gold. This goes to show there are some true good sports out there even though some of them don't wear Orange & White. Vandy........some others should take lessons on your good sportsmanship here.

GreeneVol writes:

Yeah good sport there VandyGold. Let's hope Ezeli follows suit, but based on what was on display in Memorial earlier in the season, I'm not going to hold my breath. Circle the calendar Saturday, March 3rd at 4 p.m. I believe. I hope to be there. To see a sweep of the final nine games would be ideal...

Scrappers starting to season!

Props to Trae for his efforts of late. The passing and movement on offense are nice to watch.

The defense is a real hat-hanger. Big Mo on our side down the stretch...get us to March Madness & see what can happen fellas!

Reflections writes:

Linsational!?!

Stooley_Dinks writes:

Thank you from the land of the hog Vols. I don't have to eat it from those folks who can't wait to rub a hog win into my orange blooded veins.

I knew it when they happened, but those dang losses to Austin Peay and Georgia are going to hang over our heads like a millstone. CCM has done what good coaches do...make their players better. And, you can say FL and Ark did not look good, but the bottom line is that the Vols are actually playing very good basketball.

I think those 2 games may make the difference between NCAA and NIT, but I would rather go deep in the NIT and play good basketball than watch a good team underachieve like last year. Give that man a raise. And, even though Mike Hamilton thought he was torpedo-ing our BBall program, he screwed up and hired a really good coach.

Timbo_Slice writes:

Great win tonight! Was afraid of a Florida hangover type game but the Vols came to play and seem to be on a mission. Some earlier losses in the season are going to be hard to overcome, but for now this team is coming together and everyone on the outside is starting to take notice. Good to see them peak when it matters most. Go Vols...One game at a time!

STLVOLS writes:

It was not long ago that manyyyyyyy were saying "the Sky is Falling" because UT had hired a " no name" coach from Missouri State.

I kept and will continue to make posts that after following CCM'S MO State teams, particularly after MO State gave Vols a scare last year, CCM would be good fit for Vols.

Live From St. Louis-It's time to go to bed!! GBO

tturley#297658 writes:

Finally we get some good scheduling instead of flying 10hrs to Hawaii, get off the plane, fly to Detroit, playing on short weeks, etc. This team is peaked and ready to make a run in the Dance-- GREAT COACHING MR. ZO!!!

LSG410EC83 writes:

Poor old B2R. Just cant give up. Waiting on the others(westknox, bodeane, etc, etc.) Love how this teams seems to be coming together at the right time of the year. Just hope Coach Martin can keep their heads on straight and keep them looking at one game at a time. Love it when the teams scoring is evened out like it was last night. Six people in double figures. Just an all out TEAM effort. Another thing I like about this team, no showboating after a dunk or good shot, just getting back down the court to set up. Keep it up BIG ORANGE. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

SevenT writes:

Perhaps this will mean a NIT bid

tnvol4ever writes:

A win at Bama and I too will join in on the NCAA hype. Waiting for one more win. GO VOLS!!!

jt45 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Perhaps this will mean a NIT bid

Guess your still sore after that beatdown the LVs gave your Kitty Cats.

FanNotSheep writes:

Sure makes you wonder what this team could do if not for losses to Georgia and Austin Peay. Regardless of some people's opinions I don't see how UT gets to the NCAA without winning out and getting at least two Ws in the SEC Tournament. There's just no room on the resume for another loss, unless it's to Kentucky in March.

Alabama got left out with a 12-4 SEC record. With our RPI and the SEC's basketball reputation, 10-6 won't do it.

brod writes:

great win. the guys looked a little tired at times and made some bad turnovers. they are not used to the fast paced tempo. i don't see them shooting that well again against alabama, but if they do they will win.

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