UT men's basketball finds its firepower against Massachusetts, 83-69

Tennesseeís Kenny Hall, right, is pressured by UMass players Chaz Williams, left, and Terrell Vinson during a NCAA college basketball game in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Photo by Ricardo Arduengo

Tennesseeís Kenny Hall, right, is pressured by UMass players Chaz Williams, left, and Terrell Vinson during a NCAA college basketball game in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Jarnell Stokes on the Vols' win over UMass

BAYAMON, Puerto Rico — As Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin and his men's basketball staff gathered outside a construction trailer serving as a makeshift locker room Sunday, the conversation inside heated up.

His players were looking ahead to the following day. Returning to Knoxville as losers in two of three games was not an option.

"I said I didn't want to be mad on the plane tomorrow," Josh Richardson said.

Nor did anyone. As a result, Richardson said, "We definitely brought the fire in the second half."

Powered by 15 second-half points from Jarnell Stokes and a swarming defense that held high-octane Massachusetts to 10-of-37 shooting after the break, the Vols indeed brought the fire.

A rousing 83-69 victory in the consolation round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off sent them back to the mainland smiling.

"We wore 'em down," said Stokes, who finished with a career-high 24 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

The win came as welcomed relief for Tennessee (3-1), which was beaten up in a 17-point loss to Oklahoma State on Friday.

"I don't want bring up the last game, but I told our guys that wasn't Tennessee basketball," Martin said. "That wasn't us, but you have to deal with it and you have to live with it. They did a great job of bouncing back.

This time, when the Minutemen pushed, the Vols pushed back.

After UMass (2-2) leading scorer Jesse Morgan rattled in a 3-pointer with 9:41 left, a 52-50 UMass lead flashed on the scoreboard and UT's 38-34 halftime lead was gone.

The Vols' response was prompt and definitive. After tying the game 54-54 with 8:28 to go, the UT defense threw a tarp over the Minutemen.

Holding UMass without a point for the next 3 minutes, 56 seconds, the Vols pieced together a 14-0 run to take control. Among the highlights, a dead-eyed 3-pointer by junior Jordan McRae and back-to-back offensive rebounds and put backs by Richardson.

Coming off the loss to Oklahoma State, UT players and coaches met Saturday for film study. Martin asked the Vols, playing without starting power forward Jeronne Maymon, how they would respond to adversity.

They answered the question Sunday.

"Adversity hit and we all came together as a team and huddled up and said we've got to keep playing hard and doing what we do," Richardson said.

UMass tried to answer with some late 3-pointers, but the Vols made free throws down the stretch to hold on comfortably.

After missing four of his seven free-throw attempts in the first half, Stokes canned seven of 10 after halftime.

"That's the Tennessee team I'm accustomed to seeing," Martin said.

Easily overlooked in the win was an exhaustive 29-minute outing from UT point guard Trae Golden. The junior was in charge of handling UMass' relentless full-court defense. He did so and finished with just one turnover, six assists and 11 points.

"The thing about great point guards is you have to be able to handle the press, not give the ball up, and this is the first time in his two years where he really attacked the press and kept that ball alive," Martin said. "When he's doing that we're tough to beat."

Eleven points apiece from Richardson and Skylar McBee, along with 12 from McRae, aided the effort.

Tennessee dominated UMass on the glass. A 43-34 advantage was highlighted by 12 offensive boards. The Vols entered the game with 29 in the first three games combined.

"Both of our teams pattern themselves on working hard, but I think we out-worked them in the second half," Stokes said.

Morgan led the Minutemen with 18 points, but shot 6-for-15 from the field. Diminutive point guard Chaz Williams, a terror at 5-foot-8, finished with 16 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

After making just 13 field goals for 45 points two days earlier against Oklahoma State, the Vols made 14 shots in the first half against UMass. The resulting 38-34 halftime lead came thanks to nine different UT players scoring.

The Vols finished 28-for-62 from the field.

While key contributions came off the bench from McRae, Quinton Chievous (four points, four rebounds), Armani Moore (11 minutes of relief for Golden) and Yemi Makanjuola (five points, four rebounds in seven minutes), D'Montre Edwards did not play.

Edwards played 17 minutes in the loss to Oklahoma State.

"It's nothing disciplinary or anything," Martin said. "He just needs to work harder."

He'll have a week to think about it. Tennessee is off until a Nov. 26 meeting with Oakland at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 37

VictorKruger writes:

<Generic Dooley comment with 1-2 spelling and grammatical errors, already been made at least 500,000 times>

<Generic next football coach comment w/2-3 errors, already made 250,000 times>

Great to see the team finish the trip on a high note! Proper toughness and energy today. A lot of opposing forwards and centers are going to foul out trying to guard Stokes! He even played good defense and had a couple of nice passes to go along with all those points and rebounds. I really wish that Chievous would stop jacking up 3s. The team will be best served by him defending, rebounding, and picking up a few points with putbacks and fast break points.

PS Doolys turrible! Definately hire Grudin!

UT4prez writes:

We are so awesome! I knew that loss was a fluke! Final Four here we come!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

ESPdarNU did it again Tennessee fans lose the ability to watch a game most others get. I suppose I could have watched it with someone's ESPdarNU package.

Anyhow Randy Smith and Dane Bradshaw do a great job. Dane actually probably makes Smith better.

It sounded like a fun game to watch. Stokes was huge! Golden controlled well and Richardson hit some key late buckets for the Vols. It sounded like Chievous is gonna do well. Hall had another tough game but Chievous filled in well. I just don't know if we'll see much of Makenjuola this year.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to UT4prez:

We are so awesome! I knew that loss was a fluke! Final Four here we come!

I still think they had a party the night before that loss. shame shame shame

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Kind of the consolation game nobody cared about but I never miss a Vol bball game..It's games like this and Oakland that this team will use to find what's working or not..Martin was smart and centered the game around Stokes and outside of missed free throws was excellent..But that will not fly as well against bigger more athletic and talented teams..Stokes will be a big key to success but IMO against bigger,experienced teams the burden will fall on Golden and McRae for point production..Problem is they both run hot and cold..Today Hot

UT4prez writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I still think they had a party the night before that loss. shame shame shame

The real shame is they didn't invite us!

You seem pretty reasonable mocs. I'm waiting for the first person to fall into my trap of sarcasm. It was a solid win against a solid team. I didn't get to truly watch like I wanted but the second half was on in the background of taking care of my boys.

SummittsCourt writes:

A nice win and with OK St holding a 10 point lead on #6 NC State that loss isn't looking so bad now.

VolunteerLifer writes:

A confidence building game, especially for Trae.

VinylVols writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

A nice win and with OK St holding a 10 point lead on #6 NC State that loss isn't looking so bad now.

Its also making akron look a lot better too.

manniesghost1903 writes:

U Mass usually has a good team so this is a good win away from Home. Congrats Coach Martin. Make UT fans proud. Lord knows we all need it right now.

Tippet writes:

Great win. I like the direction Cuonzo has this program going. Can't wait to get our best player/leader back as well.

Looks like OK State is the real deal after all. A 20 point butt kicking of #6 NC State makes a strong statement for them. They will be ranked in the top 15 soon.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Maybe the Okie St game doesn't look quite as bad after all. OSU leads 76-54 over #6 NC St near the end of the game. A real woodshed job. OSU looks good, really good for the start of this basketball season. Hopefully UT can learn from an early tail-kicking and fix the things they need to fix. It looks like the Wolfpack will have to learn the same lesson as they lick their wounds as well.

doctorvol#211700 writes:

Good game all around. Need to hit FTs better though. Stokes will shoot a lot of them, but the pause before shooting breaks his rhythm. He needs a better routine. I thought Moore looked pretty capable.

hikerdude writes:

Enjoyed the win, but we better come up with some defense from somewhere or we won't make the big dance. Trae can't defend the quick guards and McBee and McCrae can't guard anybody.

VinylVols writes:

in response to hikerdude:

Enjoyed the win, but we better come up with some defense from somewhere or we won't make the big dance. Trae can't defend the quick guards and McBee and McCrae can't guard anybody.

Holding a high scoring team to 69 points? I'd say thats pretty good defense. I agree about McBee though. McBee needs to get off the starting lineup. Replace him with McRae, you'll see better results and faster starts.

BolivrBob writes:

Good win! OK State was just on fire during the tourney. Beat #6 NC State worse than they did us.

ACWLY writes:

So glad to see the Vols make such a comeback, Excellent win, Congratulations, proud to be a Vol!

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to VictorKruger:

<Generic Dooley comment with 1-2 spelling and grammatical errors, already been made at least 500,000 times>

<Generic next football coach comment w/2-3 errors, already made 250,000 times>

Great to see the team finish the trip on a high note! Proper toughness and energy today. A lot of opposing forwards and centers are going to foul out trying to guard Stokes! He even played good defense and had a couple of nice passes to go along with all those points and rebounds. I really wish that Chievous would stop jacking up 3s. The team will be best served by him defending, rebounding, and picking up a few points with putbacks and fast break points.

PS Doolys turrible! Definately hire Grudin!

'Definitely agree with your post ecxept I definitely don't think Gruden's leaving ESPN and "definitely" isn't spelled with an "a".

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

Oklahoma State wore out an NC State team that many thought had a good chance of winning the ACC this year. Perhaps the pressure defense had a lot to do with both TN and NC State's poor performance. Just saying.

brod writes:

much better. couldn't watch the game, but i dvr'd it. stokes is worse this year from the free throw line than he was as a freshman. not good.

John_10065 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Kind of the consolation game nobody cared about but I never miss a Vol bball game..It's games like this and Oakland that this team will use to find what's working or not..Martin was smart and centered the game around Stokes and outside of missed free throws was excellent..But that will not fly as well against bigger more athletic and talented teams..Stokes will be a big key to success but IMO against bigger,experienced teams the burden will fall on Golden and McRae for point production..Problem is they both run hot and cold..Today Hot

Every game counts.

2-1 instead of 1-2 coming home from Puerto Rico.

Stokes shot 59% from the line, it could have been better but it wasn't awful.

VictorKruger writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

'Definitely agree with your post ecxept I definitely don't think Gruden's leaving ESPN and "definitely" isn't spelled with an "a".

I was following my own instructions! Man you people are hard to please ;>).

volboy81 writes:

Great finish after being tied 54-54! The OSU pummeling of #6 NC State makes me feel better. Either OSU is way better than people thought, or they were just white hot all week!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to volboy81:

Great finish after being tied 54-54! The OSU pummeling of #6 NC State makes me feel better. Either OSU is way better than people thought, or they were just white hot all week!

At that point in the game I thought we might blow it..Was holding my breath with Moore at PG and Golden joking it up on the bench..Soon as Golden returned we dismantled them.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to volboy81:

Great finish after being tied 54-54! The OSU pummeling of #6 NC State makes me feel better. Either OSU is way better than people thought, or they were just white hot all week!

At that point in the game I thought we might blow it..Was holding my breath with Moore at PG and Golden joking it up on the bench..Soon as Golden returned we dismantled them.

dcap8424 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

ESPdarNU did it again Tennessee fans lose the ability to watch a game most others get. I suppose I could have watched it with someone's ESPdarNU package.

Anyhow Randy Smith and Dane Bradshaw do a great job. Dane actually probably makes Smith better.

It sounded like a fun game to watch. Stokes was huge! Golden controlled well and Richardson hit some key late buckets for the Vols. It sounded like Chievous is gonna do well. Hall had another tough game but Chievous filled in well. I just don't know if we'll see much of Makenjuola this year.

Yeah, not having ESPN U sucks. I called Comcast to ask about it and they gave me 6 months free. You should call them and see what they'll do for you. It's not that expensive even if you have to pay for it, $7 a month I think.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

ESPdarNU did it again Tennessee fans lose the ability to watch a game most others get. I suppose I could have watched it with someone's ESPdarNU package.

Anyhow Randy Smith and Dane Bradshaw do a great job. Dane actually probably makes Smith better.

It sounded like a fun game to watch. Stokes was huge! Golden controlled well and Richardson hit some key late buckets for the Vols. It sounded like Chievous is gonna do well. Hall had another tough game but Chievous filled in well. I just don't know if we'll see much of Makenjuola this year.

Five points and four rebounds in seven minutes for Yemi. Not too bad if you ask me. He could be key this year in spots. He is still trying to learn how to use his size and strength. All the Vol big men need to get better at gathering themselves inside and POWERING the ball to the basket rather than just trying to flip something up on the hop. I must say that Stokes did a MUCH better job of that yesterday than I have ever seen him. The Vols will be OK. One of the announcers said that Maymon told him he would be back in a month or so. I surely hope that's the case!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

'Definitely agree with your post ecxept I definitely don't think Gruden's leaving ESPN and "definitely" isn't spelled with an "a".

Read his first two sentences a little more carefully and then think again about your response. Context is everything.

johnlg00 writes:

Agree with all that Stokes needs to improve at the line. A big man who doesn't shoot them well just invites the defense to beat him up. In any case, he played with the kind of energy we need from him every time out.

Disagree with those who undervalue McBee's defense. Everybody has trouble stopping quick guards who look to drive on every occasion. McBee comes up with loose balls, rebounds well for his size, and hustles all the time. And when his shot is on, he brings a dimension none of the others can. Also, we must remember that a good team is more than the sum of its parts. Whenever he is on the floor, the other team must have someone on him, making one fewer to drop down and double in the post.

I'm glad everybody seems to be drawing the proper conclusions about the Vols loss to OK State after the way they dismantled the Wolfpack. CJ Leslie, NCSU's All-America candidate, went 1-5 from the floor and fouled out with two points.

I loved the Vols' effort and performance, but they got a tremendous break when Chaz Williams got his fourth foul about five minutes into the second half and also seemed to have tweaked an already-injured ankle. He was killing them until then.

VinylVols writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Agree with all that Stokes needs to improve at the line. A big man who doesn't shoot them well just invites the defense to beat him up. In any case, he played with the kind of energy we need from him every time out.

Disagree with those who undervalue McBee's defense. Everybody has trouble stopping quick guards who look to drive on every occasion. McBee comes up with loose balls, rebounds well for his size, and hustles all the time. And when his shot is on, he brings a dimension none of the others can. Also, we must remember that a good team is more than the sum of its parts. Whenever he is on the floor, the other team must have someone on him, making one fewer to drop down and double in the post.

I'm glad everybody seems to be drawing the proper conclusions about the Vols loss to OK State after the way they dismantled the Wolfpack. CJ Leslie, NCSU's All-America candidate, went 1-5 from the floor and fouled out with two points.

I loved the Vols' effort and performance, but they got a tremendous break when Chaz Williams got his fourth foul about five minutes into the second half and also seemed to have tweaked an already-injured ankle. He was killing them until then.

I agree about McBee and forcing turnovers and about the double team, But he can't shoot anything but 3's and a couple plays i remember, he had just sloppy ball control. He lost the ball 1 or two times and someone had to bail him out a couple times.
However, I'm not saying he should get less playing time, I just think he's more powerful coming off the bench. McRae has higher intensity, so I was saying if he started instead of McBee, they'd have faster starts. Then sub McBee in while we're up a few and he'll have room to hit some 3's.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to VinylVols:

I agree about McBee and forcing turnovers and about the double team, But he can't shoot anything but 3's and a couple plays i remember, he had just sloppy ball control. He lost the ball 1 or two times and someone had to bail him out a couple times.
However, I'm not saying he should get less playing time, I just think he's more powerful coming off the bench. McRae has higher intensity, so I was saying if he started instead of McBee, they'd have faster starts. Then sub McBee in while we're up a few and he'll have room to hit some 3's.

McBee's a great player to me but I think McRae's gonna be better if not better now. Personally I'd just like to see McRae start and see if he can get us going sooner on offense. Sit him if he's crazy shooting or not playing defense. McBee will still be there. At least try it with Akron or whoever's next.
But I also agree with John's comments as far as McBee's concerned. We need to learn how to screen better though. The one good screen for McBee in the loss was a make for him. Plus we have the option of Edwards or even Chievous. We might try Golden at shooting guard with Moore at point some too. We have more options offensively than last year. Well except against the Okie States of the world.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Agree with all that Stokes needs to improve at the line. A big man who doesn't shoot them well just invites the defense to beat him up. In any case, he played with the kind of energy we need from him every time out.

Disagree with those who undervalue McBee's defense. Everybody has trouble stopping quick guards who look to drive on every occasion. McBee comes up with loose balls, rebounds well for his size, and hustles all the time. And when his shot is on, he brings a dimension none of the others can. Also, we must remember that a good team is more than the sum of its parts. Whenever he is on the floor, the other team must have someone on him, making one fewer to drop down and double in the post.

I'm glad everybody seems to be drawing the proper conclusions about the Vols loss to OK State after the way they dismantled the Wolfpack. CJ Leslie, NCSU's All-America candidate, went 1-5 from the floor and fouled out with two points.

I loved the Vols' effort and performance, but they got a tremendous break when Chaz Williams got his fourth foul about five minutes into the second half and also seemed to have tweaked an already-injured ankle. He was killing them until then.

Excellent points

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VinylVols:

I agree about McBee and forcing turnovers and about the double team, But he can't shoot anything but 3's and a couple plays i remember, he had just sloppy ball control. He lost the ball 1 or two times and someone had to bail him out a couple times.
However, I'm not saying he should get less playing time, I just think he's more powerful coming off the bench. McRae has higher intensity, so I was saying if he started instead of McBee, they'd have faster starts. Then sub McBee in while we're up a few and he'll have room to hit some 3's.

Well, everybody has their shaky moments against good teams, but on balance I think McBee does a good job. I don't care if he starts or not, but CCM apparently thinks the team works better with him starting and getting major minutes. I would agree with you that McRae seems to have a bigger upside, but he too sometimes falls asleep on defense, and while I admire his courage in taking the ball to the basket, his success rate is not quite what it should be yet. Perhaps if he started, he wouldn't feel pressured to make something happen every time he gets it. But again, that's CCM's decision and I see no real reason to question it at this time.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to hikerdude:

Enjoyed the win, but we better come up with some defense from somewhere or we won't make the big dance. Trae can't defend the quick guards and McBee and McCrae can't guard anybody.

Are you watching a tape of last year's games? The main reason Skylar is out there is his defense. TG had one turnover and defended Williams well in the clutch. McRae can work harder but he is better than last year and that is what you want

VinylVols writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Well, everybody has their shaky moments against good teams, but on balance I think McBee does a good job. I don't care if he starts or not, but CCM apparently thinks the team works better with him starting and getting major minutes. I would agree with you that McRae seems to have a bigger upside, but he too sometimes falls asleep on defense, and while I admire his courage in taking the ball to the basket, his success rate is not quite what it should be yet. Perhaps if he started, he wouldn't feel pressured to make something happen every time he gets it. But again, that's CCM's decision and I see no real reason to question it at this time.

Yeah i agree. I'm just stating an opinion.

UTbasketballfan writes:

Stokes played great basketball,once we get Maymon back, them two will be a big threat on on the post.Oklahoma St. is really good, that is not a bad loss for Tenneessee. Besides they're ranked number 20 in the nation.Keep playing good basketball VOLS.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to UTbasketballfan:

Stokes played great basketball,once we get Maymon back, them two will be a big threat on on the post.Oklahoma St. is really good, that is not a bad loss for Tenneessee. Besides they're ranked number 20 in the nation.Keep playing good basketball VOLS.

Well. Really though...ANY loss is a bad loss. We played terrible on the offensive side. Granted they had a great Defense and that hurt our shooting some. PLUS I know there are gonna be some just plain ole bad games. Our offense that game was just plain ole bad. Remember when the other team's defense actually helped our shooting? Loften? He'd make 3s with people yanking his arms.

We can win against any top 20 team...but not with the offense we had that game. Which also means we can lose to any top 20 team or even lower ranked ones.

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