Vols upset No. 13 Connecticut, 60-57

New starting lineup, FTs late keys

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee players and cheerleaders celebrate after the Vols defeated Connecticut, 60-57 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee players and cheerleaders celebrate after the Vols defeated Connecticut, 60-57 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Jarnell Stokes on the Vols' 60-57 win against Connecticut

Skylar McBee on the Vols' 60-57 win against Connecticut

Cuonzo Martin on the Vols' 60-57 win against Connecticut

Jeronne Maymon on the Vols' 60-57 win against Connecticut

Coach Cuonzo Martin's decision to change Tennessee's starting lineup led to the Vols winning a close game for a change.

Tennessee pulled out a 60-57 victory against 13th-ranked and defending national champion Connecticut before a crowd of 21,114 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Martin's decision to alter the Vols' lineup for just the second time this season came after UT (9-10) lost its previous three games by four points or less.

As was the case the last time Martin shook up the lineup — before a 67-56 victory against then-No. 13 Florida on Jan. 7 — UT responded to change with a home win against a ranked opponent, upsetting the Big East's Huskies (14-5).

Martin's insertion of mid-term freshman enrollee Jarnell Stokes into the starting lineup in place of Renaldo Woolridge paid immediate dividends Saturday. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound Stokes recorded his first career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Stokes did it against projected NBA lottery draft pick Andre Drummond. Stokes, along with Jeronne Maymon, held the 6-10, 270-pound Drummond to six points on 3-of-8 shooting while fellow UConn big man Alex Oriakhi scored all of five points before fouling out with 5:51 remaining.

"I know those guys are ranked, but I don't believe in all that kind of hype,'' said Stokes, who played a season-high 29 minutes in his third appearance with UT since graduating early from Memphis Southwind High School in December. "I believe it's heart that puts you over the hump.''

Former Grainger High standout Skylar McBee exhibited just that in the clutch, drawing a foul off an inbounds pass with 21 seconds left and the game in the balance.

"If you're a real competitor, you want to go to the (free-throw) line in that situation,'' McBee said. "It's a situation you grow up dreaming of being in.''

McBee, an 84.3 percent career free-throw shooter, made two free throws with 19 seconds left to extend UT's lead to four points after the Huskies made a furious run during the final three minutes to cut a 10-point lead down to two.

The crowd was on edge when the mustached former walk-on went to the line; UT was in the midst of its worst free-throw shooting performance of the season, going 10-of-21 from the line including 5-of-8 in the final 33.9 seconds.

"That's why I had (McBee) in the game, because he can make free throws'' said Martin, who sported a white t-shirt in support of the 'We Back Pat' campaign for women's coach Pat Summitt. "You could see he didn't want to pass that ball; he wanted to step up and make free throws. That's what you want in a situation like that, a guy to step up and make the play, and he did that.''

UT's Kenny Hall split a pair of free throws with 9.7 seconds left to make it a five-point game before UConn's Shabazz Napier (18 points) hit a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left to cut the Vols' lead to 59-57.

Napier had a chance to tie the game moments later after Cameron Tatum (15 points) hit one of two free throws, but the UConn point guard's heave from mid-court failed to draw rim.

Jeremy Lamb did the bulk of the work for the Huskies, scoring a game-high 23 points.

It was the Vols' fourth straight win against defending national champions at home, dating back to a 68-61 win over Kentucky in 1999.

"(Martin) obviously has something going; their team was terrific,'' said legendary Huskies coach Jim Calhoun. "Their team stayed together, they ran their stuff and they were much more physical than we were in a game that was equally officiated.''

UT trailed 27-25 at the half before opening the final 20 minutes on a 9-0 run. Tatum sparked the go-ahead spurt with a 3-pointer and Maymon capped it with a dunk at the 16:24 mark that put the Vols up 34-27. The Huskies failed to regain the lead, but they closed to 34-33 with 12:08 left on a Lamb drive after UT went seven possessions without scoring.

Stokes broke the dry spell with a free throw at the 10:19 mark, and he followed with a jump shot to pad the lead to four.

The Vols had a nine-point advantage when Tatum hit a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 52-43 with 3:57 left, and a Trae Golden free throw pushed the lead to 53-43.

UT failed to score a field goal the remainder of the game and was in danger of collapsing before McBee's free throws helped settle things after Napier drained a 3-pointer to pull UConn within two with 21.9 seconds left.

The Huskies' 27-25 half-time advantage came after six lead changes and five ties in the opening 20 minutes.

The Vols took their largest lead of the opening half, 13-8, after Stokes drained a 10-footer at the 11:14 mark to cap a 6-0 run.

The Huskies responded with an 8-0 run of their own sparked by a pair of Lamb free throws and capped by a Lamb trey at the 8:33 mark that gave UConn a 16-13 advantage.

Tennessee returns to action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Vanderbilt (TV: ESPNU). The Commodores (14-5, 4-1) lost 78-77 in overtime to No. 18 Mississippi State (16-4, 3-2) in Memorial Gym on Saturday night.

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

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Comments » 237

TopTenn writes:

STOKED! GBO!

One_in_West_Knox writes:

The jigsaw pieces are there. They just need to fit better and hold tighter. A win at Rupp is now even more likely.

liferjarhead writes:

OMG what a game. This team can really play at any level. Yes so time they play down to their competition but there is no doubt they will be a contender in the SEC tournament.

HtownVol writes:

AMAZING win, Stokes is just unbelievable!

I am sorry to complain but Trae Golden almost killed UT today.

WHY is he holding the ball for so long at times when it is not called for? Reall bad turnovers and bad shooting/free throw shooting.

The thing is we all have seen that Golden has some talent and can knock down shots. He is his own worst enemy at times.

ANYWAY, Stokes..WOW!

Please C Martin, recruit some scorers to compliment Stokes and UT will be a top 25 team next season.

GREAT WIN

GO VOLS

voloffaith writes:

Rah rah sis boom bah!!!! Free throws ah yes.....

TopTenn writes:

Another great effort defensively by the VOLS. Offense needs to improve. GBO!

UT2006 writes:

Now if only we can convince Stokes to stay for a couple of years

volinlouisvilleky writes:

Sweet! The manchild comes of age! Keep the NCAA tournament in sight, keep winning....you never know!

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to TopTenn:

STOKED! GBO!

If Stokes is a one-and-done or a one-and-a-half-and-done or a two-and-done...oh PLEASE, NO!!

spacehistorian writes:

I didn't watch the game because I thought we would lose given the frustrations of the last several games. My Mom (who lives in East TN) called me all excited to tell me the good news. Now I wish I had watched it... lol. Great win by our Vols on national TV. It always feels good to beat the Connecticut men or women!!!! I look forward to watching the highlights. I think these Vols have a lot of potential and they should make the SEC Tournament very interesting because on any given day they seem capable of beating anyone. GBO!!!

DebKY writes:

It was great to listen to the announcers talk positive about the VOLS!!!!!!!!!!
I hope Poythress regrets signing with the baby cats!
GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

manniesghost1903 writes:

Holy *&%$ Batman! 2 signature wins on the home court! Wow I wonder how good Coach Martin at coaching football?

bigdisbig writes:

Ok Cuonzo I forgive you for losing to Austin Peay but I ain't forgiving Dooley for losing to Ky.......Way to go BB Vols!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Agree with the above. 2 pieces of the puzzle missing..........a true point guard and somebody who can shoot a free throw. At the end, UConn was making 3's almost with the ease of a layup, at the same time we were missing those free throws.

Really makes us scratch our heads to lay an egg at Georgia, then to come home and play a Florida/Kentucky type game.

Great heart from the team. Hustle from beginning to end. Was wondering why Stokes was not in the game the end......but Martin knows what he's doing.

Now on to Nashville to play "Festus" and "Chain Gang" and co.

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to liferjarhead:

OMG what a game. This team can really play at any level. Yes so time they play down to their competition but there is no doubt they will be a contender in the SEC tournament.

This Vols, if they put their mind to it, could have given Shaq and Kobe and the Lakers a challenge, maybe even win a game. But that playing down to their competition means that raising a championship banner at TBA is even further down the line.

VandyisGold writes:

in response to spacehistorian:

I didn't watch the game because I thought we would lose given the frustrations of the last several games. My Mom (who lives in East TN) called me all excited to tell me the good news. Now I wish I had watched it... lol. Great win by our Vols on national TV. It always feels good to beat the Connecticut men or women!!!! I look forward to watching the highlights. I think these Vols have a lot of potential and they should make the SEC Tournament very interesting because on any given day they seem capable of beating anyone. GBO!!!

You are no fan. You sound like some of our fans

Stokes is a stud! Hopefully vandy will be ready for this guy.

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

Where, oh where are all the Cuonzo Martin doubters now?

Wait...I withdraw the question.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

Let's see here...

Golden has an off game with his number of assists up, his number of attempts and points both down...

and

VOILA!...

Vols win over highly ranked opponent, on national TV, rather than weakly peeing on their feet before the national audience.

This is NOT high school basketball; there is no need for one guy to run up and down the floor and dominate shooting...

Now if the Vols can just get Golden to stop mishandling bringing the ball in so that he sops turning over the ball...and stops falling on his nose and turning over the ball...and stops having his pocket picked and turning over the ball...

then the team may win another one this year.

Jarnell Stokes is the Star of this show...NOT Golden. And thank The Lord Cam Tatum is

BACK!!! Cam Tatum is going to finish strong...

I believe!...

Everybody contributed...no longer a one-man turnover machine...
GO VOLS!

jt45 writes:

Stokes is the man ! We need a guard that can handle the ball, golden almost lost another one for us. Foul shots are killing us this year 10 of 21 is just pitiful. Why did their guards get all those open shots ? They just smoked our guards all night and Lamb almost single handedly beat us at the end.

With a good guard we should be in the hunt next year.

Great win but hard to watch at times !
Go Vols !

tampafloridavol writes:

"am sorry to complain but Trae Golden almost killed UT today."

Golden is generally our leading scorer and #1 in assist in the SEC. He had one bad scoring day but had 6 assist 3 steals and only 2 turnovers. Pretty good line for a point guard except for the scoring. You folks with the Golden hate on I guaranteed were Hopson haters and Junior Pearl lovers.

TommyJack writes:

CCM can't coach. Get rid of the bum.

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to spacehistorian:

I didn't watch the game because I thought we would lose given the frustrations of the last several games. My Mom (who lives in East TN) called me all excited to tell me the good news. Now I wish I had watched it... lol. Great win by our Vols on national TV. It always feels good to beat the Connecticut men or women!!!! I look forward to watching the highlights. I think these Vols have a lot of potential and they should make the SEC Tournament very interesting because on any given day they seem capable of beating anyone. GBO!!!

...Pat STILL won't play the Lady Huskies??

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to spacehistorian:

I didn't watch the game because I thought we would lose given the frustrations of the last several games. My Mom (who lives in East TN) called me all excited to tell me the good news. Now I wish I had watched it... lol. Great win by our Vols on national TV. It always feels good to beat the Connecticut men or women!!!! I look forward to watching the highlights. I think these Vols have a lot of potential and they should make the SEC Tournament very interesting because on any given day they seem capable of beating anyone. GBO!!!

Nice thought, but it wasn't "national TV".

oldster writes:

Tremendous win. It appears that we have finally gotten a highly touted recruit who is going to live up to the hype. Scotty Hopson and Vincent Yarbrough were disappointments when comparing their hype to their production. Stokes looks like the real deal. However, if he does not improve his free throw shooting, he will be treated to the hack a Shaq defense.

Caspian writes:

Man, that was frustrating to watch. That was a gift from UConn. We were inept. They were more so. So many of our players are turnover machines. We get the ball stripped over and over and over. Golden loses the ball almost everytime he penetrates. Maymon has the lowest ball release of any "big" man I've ever seen. Every shot seems more like a prayer. That constant, irritating clanging sound is all of our free throws banging against the iron. I don't know how CCM maintains his patience and composure. You can tell he's frustrated at times. And yet, despite all this, we somehow won, even though the crowd didn't really believe it was possible until the horn sounded. Even then, they had to look at the scoreboard again just to make sure. I'll take it.

AtopTheHill06 writes:

The Vols have taken on the identity of their coach, tough and unrelenting. I can't wait to see what Jarnell can do, when he is in full shape. The T.V analyst compared him to the "the Mailman." He has the potential to get to that level, and I think he has a better mid range game.

BTW who is Tyler Mcbee? Good job CBS

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to TommyJack:

CCM can't coach. Get rid of the bum.

I'm sorry I asked.

murrayvol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

CCM can't coach. Get rid of the bum.

bwahahahaha! :{)

mikkim writes:

Where is born2ride.....hiding under his rock with nothing to say!!! Go Vols!

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to mikkim:

Where is born2ride.....hiding under his rock with nothing to say!!! Go Vols!

Shhhhhhh!

Razzle writes:

in response to spacehistorian:

I didn't watch the game because I thought we would lose given the frustrations of the last several games. My Mom (who lives in East TN) called me all excited to tell me the good news. Now I wish I had watched it... lol. Great win by our Vols on national TV. It always feels good to beat the Connecticut men or women!!!! I look forward to watching the highlights. I think these Vols have a lot of potential and they should make the SEC Tournament very interesting because on any given day they seem capable of beating anyone. GBO!!!

How's that bandwagon seat? Now let's beat the Commadoors.

BolivrBob writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Rah rah sis boom bah!!!! Free throws ah yes.....

McBee's 2 sealed it but we only shot 48% from the stripe on our home court. Pathetic ! Great win! Smothering defense. Man..... Lamb and Napier can play!

richvol writes:

Maymon and Stokes will be too much for anyone to handle next year. Maymon is a beast now but after another year of weight room and practice with Stokes I don't see anyone being able to stop them. We just need a point guard.

murrayvol writes:

This makes the loss to UGA hurt even more.

oldvoltimer62 writes:

Great win way to Vols JJ was a monster inside today a rebounding machine.I can't wait till he fully lives up to his potential.Vols improved today with less mistakes ,but still have a long way to go.Gotta hit free throws better and quit going cold at critical moments.Good effort to keep Uconn from going on big run down the streach and keeping the lead gotta keep on closing em out .That Lamb kid is a beast scoring big and looking smooth in the process.great call by Martin getting the TO at the end to set up on D.Way To Go VOLS!!!!

jobrando#216494 writes:

Still waiting for our football team to do this just once.

SummittsCourt writes:

This team may not be as talented as others, but they are playing hard and today it paid off.

Great win for the Vol Nation!

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Vols,

Agree with the above. 2 pieces of the puzzle missing..........a true point guard and somebody who can shoot a free throw. At the end, UConn was making 3's almost with the ease of a layup, at the same time we were missing those free throws.

Really makes us scratch our heads to lay an egg at Georgia, then to come home and play a Florida/Kentucky type game.

Great heart from the team. Hustle from beginning to end. Was wondering why Stokes was not in the game the end......but Martin knows what he's doing.

Now on to Nashville to play "Festus" and "Chain Gang" and co.

I think maybe Stokes was worn out towards the end of the game. A lot of playing time for a kid FRESH out of high school. What a phenom he will be. GO VOLS

BolivrBob writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to volthrunthru#658770:

Let's see here...

Golden has an off game with his number of assists up, his number of attempts and points both down...

and

VOILA!...

Vols win over highly ranked opponent, on national TV, rather than weakly peeing on their feet before the national audience.

This is NOT high school basketball; there is no need for one guy to run up and down the floor and dominate shooting...

Now if the Vols can just get Golden to stop mishandling bringing the ball in so that he sops turning over the ball...and stops falling on his nose and turning over the ball...and stops having his pocket picked and turning over the ball...

then the team may win another one this year.

Jarnell Stokes is the Star of this show...NOT Golden. And thank The Lord Cam Tatum is

BACK!!! Cam Tatum is going to finish strong...

I believe!...

Everybody contributed...no longer a one-man turnover machine...
GO VOLS!

DC Comics and Marvel Comics, I give you an idea:
CAMTAT, the Fifth-Year Senior!
In the first (and probably only issue),
Will he or won't he finish STRONG this season??

volfan2002 writes:

This is a good defensive team hopefully we can get better offensively.

BolivrBob writes:

Let's wait another week before we fire Zo. LMAO

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Caspian:

Man, that was frustrating to watch. That was a gift from UConn. We were inept. They were more so. So many of our players are turnover machines. We get the ball stripped over and over and over. Golden loses the ball almost everytime he penetrates. Maymon has the lowest ball release of any "big" man I've ever seen. Every shot seems more like a prayer. That constant, irritating clanging sound is all of our free throws banging against the iron. I don't know how CCM maintains his patience and composure. You can tell he's frustrated at times. And yet, despite all this, we somehow won, even though the crowd didn't really believe it was possible until the horn sounded. Even then, they had to look at the scoreboard again just to make sure. I'll take it.

One turnover in the 2nd half....................

10 for the entire game. I'd say, that wasn't too bad.

liferjarhead writes:

in response to TommyJack:

CCM can't coach. Get rid of the bum.

Really, did you not see the game? He has played 4 ranked teams in a little over a week won 2 of them and almost the other 2

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to richvol:

Maymon and Stokes will be too much for anyone to handle next year. Maymon is a beast now but after another year of weight room and practice with Stokes I don't see anyone being able to stop them. We just need a point guard.

Maymon and Stokes, maybe even better than Shaq and Kobe used to be!!

pingkr62 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

Ok Cuonzo I forgive you for losing to Austin Peay but I ain't forgiving Dooley for losing to Ky.......Way to go BB Vols!

I must have missed something, I didn't know coach Dooley was on the field, I thought he was standing on the side line????

Razzle writes:

in response to liferjarhead:

Really, did you not see the game? He has played 4 ranked teams in a little over a week won 2 of them and almost the other 2

I'm betting TJ is really a big CCM fan.

OwensboroVol writes:

Didn't have a chance to see the game but any win over a ranked opponent is very good news. Congratulations to Team, Coach Martin, and his supporters here on Govolsxtra.com. I am not a Martin supporter but hope the recent wins are a indicator that he is growing into his job along with his team.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to mikkim:

Where is born2ride.....hiding under his rock with nothing to say!!! Go Vols!

He must have fallen off his mo-ped again without his helmet.

clvolfan writes:

in response to liferjarhead:

OMG what a game. This team can really play at any level. Yes so time they play down to their competition but there is no doubt they will be a contender in the SEC tournament.

Agree,and I and others on this site had better be glad we did not get our wish to bench Tatum.
Great game and finish.I just hope CCM works their butts off next practices on the foul line.They hung on in spite of bad shooting there.Good to have the excitement back again,and hope for a great second half of the season.....GBO

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