Vols have reason to celebrate against Oakland ... after the game

Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes is cheered on by teammate Kenny Hall after Stokes drew a foul from Oakland's Corey Petros, left, at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, November 26, 2012. Tennessee defeats Oakland 77-50. 

(Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Photo by Saul Young, 2012 Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes is cheered on by teammate Kenny Hall after Stokes drew a foul from Oakland's Corey Petros, left, at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, November 26, 2012. Tennessee defeats Oakland 77-50. (Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Tennessee senior forward Kenny Hall was quick to say there was "a whole different setting" in the Vols' halftime locker room against Oakland on Monday night.

No cheering.

No boasting.

The scene didn't match the 23-point lead hanging on the Thompson-Boling Arena scoreboard. It looks like lessons were learned from those second-half lapses against non-power conference teams from Kennesaw State and UNC Asheville.

Each win saw halftime cheering. Each also saw healthy halftime leads shrink to uncomfortable levels.

"We'd go in thinking about all the highlight plays or all the offensive things we did," Hall remembered.

So there was no cheering Monday. The resulting second-half result showed the difference. The Vols' lead over Oakland never shrank below 19 points, swelled to as many as 29 and finished up as a 77-50 men's basketball victory for Tennessee (4-1).

"We should expect this type of performance every game so there's no need for any celebration until after the game," said UT sophomore Jarnell Stokes, who scored 11 of his game-high 19 points after halftime.

Defense was the rallying cry against Oakland. The Vols held Oakland to 5-of-32 shooting in the first half and 16-of-55 shooting overall.

Before the game, UT assistant coach Kent Williams pulled point guard Trae Golden aside to remind him that he and his teammates owed the Grizzlies a beating.

Oakland (2-5) stunned Tennessee in an 89-82 win in Knoxville in 2010 and an 89-81 home win last season.

There was none of that Monday night. An early 13-0 run powered a 15-2 UT lead and the Vols never looked back.

"You get those big leads and you have a mental letdown, and that's part of human nature, but it's also, for us, having to mature as a team to stay in tuned and try to finish ball games," said coach Cuonzo Martin.

Monday showed maturity.

UT outscored Oakland 42-22 in the paint and 15-2 on fastbreak points after entering the night with just 14 fastbreak points through four games this season.

Defense earned the victory, though. The Vols drew two early charging fouls on Oakland and swarmed the perimeter, including a highlight blocked shot by Jordan McRae on a 3-point attempt by Grizzlies guard Duke Mondy.

"When we stop them on the shot clock, that's when Coach Martin shows the most emotion," Golden said. "I throw a no-look to Jarnell, Coach Martin, he don't care. But when we get a 35, you look over there and he's screaming and jumping around."

Golden finished with his best stat line of the young season — 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, seven assists and one turnover.

Oakland's big gun, shooting guard Travis Bader, was holstered. The junior entered the night third in the country with 22 made 3-pointers. Against the Vols, he scored 18 points, but made just five of 14 shots from the field and only a pair of 3s.

The Grizzlies cut UT's lead to 53-34 with 9:32 left only to watch the Vols score on their next eight possessions. The defense matched the intensity. Just like that, it was 73-44.

"I feel like if we defend the way we did today, we can't be beat," Stokes said.

That theory will be tested Friday. Tennessee will travel to No. 20 Georgetown for the SEC/Big East Challenge. The Hoyas boast four starters over 6-foot-7 and a 4-1 record featuring a win over UCLA and a narrow overtime loss to No. 1 Indiana.

After going 2-1 at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off last week, UT went back to basics at practice the last eight days. It showed against Oakland.

"I don't think we played that well in Puerto Rico," Martin said. "I thought we did a good job of competing against UMass, but those first two games, I don't think we played well at all."

"I knew after the performance we gave against Oklahoma State — we played horrible defensively — I anticipated coach getting back to how he was in the preseason," Stokes responded. "Guys knew it was coming. It was a long eight days, but it helped us today."

Hall scored nine points to go with 11 rebounds against Oakland, while Skylar McBee and Quinton Chievous added six apiece. The Vols finished 28-for-53 from the field and made 15-of-20 free throws, their best showing of the season from the stripe.

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

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Comments » 46

VolGrad writes:

Indeed the best played game this year from start to finish. Keep 'em going, Zo.

Go Vols!!!

peerlessvolfan writes:

Finally I can face my OU colleagues here in metro Detroit with my head held high tomorrow! Go Big Orange!

Rumblefish writes:

holy cow...were those stands empty. anybody know the announced attendance??? i mean EMPTY!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Great to beat that pesky Oakland team..I can't wait for this team to get healthy and see Maymon down low with Stokes..They have a chance to really dominate this year..GBO!!

CoverOrange writes:

Jarnell is so good he skipped a grade? when did he become a junior?

jt45 writes:

Excellent game, the defense was the best Ive seen from this bunch to date. Golden really did a great job tonight, the assist ratio shows how well they are playing as a team.

Keep it up, beat the Hoyas

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

just who is this dull dud with Kessling supposedly but in vain doing color?????----after Counzo empties his bench to let reserves play some at 1:15 left and up by 30 he actually said " lets slow it down now-- work some clock"------this guy was unbearable-------where is Bert??????????

iowavol writes:

I would love to have seen this game - either live or via whatever internet based service. In fact, I have been checking the KNS website everyday for the past five or so days trying to figure out when UTBB would play again. Granted, I'm usually on my droid and don't have time to search the website, but you would think rather than the endless dribble from John Adorns about his opinion on what's going to happen in UT football - as if he actually has any clue.

However, congrats to the Zo lead BB team - keep it going. I've got faith in you.

VinylVols writes:

Whats up with vols fans? We have one bad basketball season, not even that bad considering we had a new coach, and no ones posting on these message boards at all. Cmon, 4-1 and looking pretty damn good.

wigmeister writes:

Great game. Hate the TV announcers. Can't believe the network can't do better than that!

VolGrad writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

just who is this dull dud with Kessling supposedly but in vain doing color?????----after Counzo empties his bench to let reserves play some at 1:15 left and up by 30 he actually said " lets slow it down now-- work some clock"------this guy was unbearable-------where is Bert??????????

Bert was attending a funeral. They didn't say anything else about it that I heard.

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

in response to iowavol:

I would love to have seen this game - either live or via whatever internet based service. In fact, I have been checking the KNS website everyday for the past five or so days trying to figure out when UTBB would play again. Granted, I'm usually on my droid and don't have time to search the website, but you would think rather than the endless dribble from John Adorns about his opinion on what's going to happen in UT football - as if he actually has any clue.

However, congrats to the Zo lead BB team - keep it going. I've got faith in you.

The best place to get the schedule is on the official UT site.

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

in response to MooseandSquirrelVol:

The best place to get the schedule is on the official UT site.

UTSports.com

SummittsCourt writes:

Maybe this team has learned from their past mistakes which is a good sign for the future.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

just who is this dull dud with Kessling supposedly but in vain doing color?????----after Counzo empties his bench to let reserves play some at 1:15 left and up by 30 he actually said " lets slow it down now-- work some clock"------this guy was unbearable-------where is Bert??????????

Steve Hamer, played on some of the terrible Kevin O'Neill teams. I agree he was awful, said that Jarnell's form on his free throws was great and he would eventually be a great foul shooter. Sorry but don't ever see Jarnell shooting over 80% from the line, maybe 60%.

born2ride writes:

I am more excited about Gruden than basketball.

VolsFanInAfghanistan writes:

Anytime any team from UT wins i'm happy as ever. I can't see or hear some of the games over here so when I see us doing good i'm excited. I wear my gear over here proudly even when they do lose. Now for our BB team its always about the basics. Basics will always win out over the fancy passes and long range jumpers. Pound it down low and work the paint and when they adjust to that swing it out and nail that mid range, butter baby. Basics will get these guys further than that fancy phooey any day. Along with Coach Martin staying in that rear end. GBO. VFL.

GiveHim6TDTennessee writes:

Finally, that was one hell of a performance!

mlynn1 writes:

Great defense Vols, keep it up and you will be ok.

Hounddawg writes:

in response to iowavol:

I would love to have seen this game - either live or via whatever internet based service. In fact, I have been checking the KNS website everyday for the past five or so days trying to figure out when UTBB would play again. Granted, I'm usually on my droid and don't have time to search the website, but you would think rather than the endless dribble from John Adorns about his opinion on what's going to happen in UT football - as if he actually has any clue.

However, congrats to the Zo lead BB team - keep it going. I've got faith in you.

utsports.com is easiest place to get schedule and see where televised...

David Howell the next HFC

Nunshalpass writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

holy cow...were those stands empty. anybody know the announced attendance??? i mean EMPTY!

The stands were only really empty near the end of the game. Quite a few in there at the start.

SouthPaVol writes:

Was a very solid performance, end to end. I like to see the Vols win both halves. figured Oakland would come out and play better the 2nd half, and we rose to the occasion

brod writes:

i was there. it was a decent crowd for a monday night. i caught a free tee shirt, and got to see a route of oakland. not a bad night. however, not signing chris jones is now hurting the team. armani moore seems like a real nice kid, but can't handle the ball well and is not a reliable back up point guard to golden. good teams will notice this and feast on it. golden will be playing a lot of minutes this season. should have signed chris jones. mcrae didn't shoot the ball well, but other than that it was a good performance.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I missed the game thinking it was tonight(Tues.).

Just got through listening on utsports. sounded like great defense for most of the game.

We're gonna need great D against Georgetown. I won't miss that game.lol Not if I can help it.

It seems we're playing as a team now. Keep it up.

Go Vols

Sir_Spanky writes:

in response to born2ride:

I am more excited about Gruden than basketball.

Hope you don't get left at the alter. :-(

tovolny writes:

Coach Martin has a handle on the team. They now know Martin has his act together. The team doesn't want to get him upset. When I meet him, I shake his hand, smile, and call him SIR.

tovolny writes:

Empty seats, huh? I know I didn't have an idea they were playing. Some how, I missed the setup from this site...they did have at least one setup article, I suppose. I guess I am still suffering from Post Dooley Syndrome, PDS.

TheEffect writes:

in response to Nunshalpass:

The stands were only really empty near the end of the game. Quite a few in there at the start.

They were empty the entire game.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to VinylVols:

Whats up with vols fans? We have one bad basketball season, not even that bad considering we had a new coach, and no ones posting on these message boards at all. Cmon, 4-1 and looking pretty damn good.

Iam all in my friend and loving it..This team will not be losing against bad ooc teams..Not much not to like last night..Golden is really playing well and Stokes has added some nice moves to his game..passing in the post was excellent as was the defense..McRae didn't shoot well but was still a factor and McBee shutdown their top scorer

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I missed the game thinking it was tonight(Tues.).

Just got through listening on utsports. sounded like great defense for most of the game.

We're gonna need great D against Georgetown. I won't miss that game.lol Not if I can help it.

It seems we're playing as a team now. Keep it up.

Go Vols

Big national game with Hoyas and another test to see if we are playing big boy Bball..Pretty even match up..Cold shooting is this teams worse enemy..Gonna take good defense and double digit scoring from 4 players..This team is looking like being 9 and 3 entering the Sec..Last year we were 7 and 7

ljlongtimevolfan writes:

Why is the attendance down this season for the Vols and Lady Vols?

John_10065 writes:

I know it was Oakland and their best scorer moved on but this was a buzzer to buzzer beatdown and that is what is really important. They played a complete game.

What I saw was old school mid-west basketball right out of the Purdue coaching tree. Tough, tough defense with no uncontested shots followed up by motion offense, good passing into the paint, taking the open jumper when available and battling inside for rebounds.

It was the kind of game I expected to see from a Martin team when he got here. It's the kind of game I've been watching for 20+ years up here in Hoosier Land.

John_10065 writes:

in response to ljlongtimevolfan:

Why is the attendance down this season for the Vols and Lady Vols?

Don't you think the general dismay over the football program influences attendance in other sports?

If we beat Georgetown or Memphis, move into the rankings or completely dominate the home stretch coming up, the men's attendance will be taken care of immediately. People will get excited again. It's just hard for a lot of fans to get excited about BB this soon after having their guts kicked in yet again supporting an abysmal football performance.

I also think the difference in style between Pearl ball and Martin ball will still take some getting used to for a lot of Vol fans.

I have confidence that Pat's influence in the women's coaching staff will prove that the women's game hasn't dropped any either.

Give it a month or so then let's see where the attendance is at!

John_10065 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Big national game with Hoyas and another test to see if we are playing big boy Bball..Pretty even match up..Cold shooting is this teams worse enemy..Gonna take good defense and double digit scoring from 4 players..This team is looking like being 9 and 3 entering the Sec..Last year we were 7 and 7

I am going to be optimistic and say 10-2. 11-1 would be pushing it but I think we'll win either the Memphis or Georgetown game and sweep the rest.

Playing a complete game after being up 20+ at the half last night was a huge mental hurdle for the team. It's just too easy to let down after a half like that. There was at one point what looked like a rugby scrum fighting for a loose ball on the floor midway through the 2nd half. Guys aren't going to just do that being up I think 26 at that point unless they have total focus and committment.

We just need Maymon back and in the game by league time. If he gets healthy and plays like he did early last year, it looks like it will be a very exciting year for the Vols.

brod writes:

guys, i think 14,625 paid attendance for a monday night game in november against oakland is pretty good. you should look at attendance for other games at other schools against mid majors. georgetown will be a tough road game.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Big national game with Hoyas and another test to see if we are playing big boy Bball..Pretty even match up..Cold shooting is this teams worse enemy..Gonna take good defense and double digit scoring from 4 players..This team is looking like being 9 and 3 entering the Sec..Last year we were 7 and 7

I admit to a little bit of nerves for the Georgetown game. I have no idea about the Memphis game other than they're talented players. They haven't been able to show it much so far.

I could live with 9-3 by SEC. I think we have the ability to go 11-1 but don't see it right now. Last night wasn't much of a test but it did show we have the desire to win and play hard to do so. We've got to come ready to play every night. Okie St. hopefully was a kick in the rear for us. I'M a BELIEVER!!!

11-1 till SEC!!!

GBO

budd#207344 writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

just who is this dull dud with Kessling supposedly but in vain doing color?????----after Counzo empties his bench to let reserves play some at 1:15 left and up by 30 he actually said " lets slow it down now-- work some clock"------this guy was unbearable-------where is Bert??????????

That "dull dude" was Steve Hamer, former Vol BB player. Had great seasons here and gave some very good comments about the game. Love Burt but SH did a commendable job and showed his understanding of the game

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to budd#207344:

That "dull dude" was Steve Hamer, former Vol BB player. Had great seasons here and gave some very good comments about the game. Love Burt but SH did a commendable job and showed his understanding of the game

I thought he was fine too. I also liked Dane when he filled in for a game or two. MONEY!!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

Big national game with Hoyas and another test to see if we are playing big boy Bball..Pretty even match up..Cold shooting is this teams worse enemy..Gonna take good defense and double digit scoring from 4 players..This team is looking like being 9 and 3 entering the Sec..Last year we were 7 and 7

I hope everybody knows I am all Big Orange and a huge Cuonzo Martin fan, but I will be astounded--in a good way--if the Vols beat G'town at their place without Maymon, or maybe even with him. They are BIG and play a stifling zone, which remains a complete mystery to the Vols on offense. They took #1 Indiana to overtime and dominated a talented if troubled UCLA team. If the Vols can pull that one out, they could have a truly outstanding season.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to John_10065:

Don't you think the general dismay over the football program influences attendance in other sports?

If we beat Georgetown or Memphis, move into the rankings or completely dominate the home stretch coming up, the men's attendance will be taken care of immediately. People will get excited again. It's just hard for a lot of fans to get excited about BB this soon after having their guts kicked in yet again supporting an abysmal football performance.

I also think the difference in style between Pearl ball and Martin ball will still take some getting used to for a lot of Vol fans.

I have confidence that Pat's influence in the women's coaching staff will prove that the women's game hasn't dropped any either.

Give it a month or so then let's see where the attendance is at!

And all this does not even take into account the fact that the home schedule for either the men or the women has not been all that enticing. I think along with you that both teams are talented and exciting, and as the season develops, attendance will pick up.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Steve Hamer, played on some of the terrible Kevin O'Neill teams. I agree he was awful, said that Jarnell's form on his free throws was great and he would eventually be a great foul shooter. Sorry but don't ever see Jarnell shooting over 80% from the line, maybe 60%.

I didn't listen to the Vol Network broadcast, so I can't comment on Steve as an analyst. However, I had him as a student when I was a GTA and he was and likely still is a great guy. In person, he was bright, articulate, and witty. Believe me, if every one of our student-athletes were like Steve, we would have the most trouble-free athletic contingent this side of the service academies.

As for Jarnell's free-throw shooting, he made nearly all of them in the second half. Eighty percent is a pretty lofty goal for most college players these days, but his stroke in the second half showed me he is capable of averaging in the 70's. I agree that he needs to improve; as the team's main inside threat, he will get LOTS of physical attention from opposing defenses.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I hope everybody knows I am all Big Orange and a huge Cuonzo Martin fan, but I will be astounded--in a good way--if the Vols beat G'town at their place without Maymon, or maybe even with him. They are BIG and play a stifling zone, which remains a complete mystery to the Vols on offense. They took #1 Indiana to overtime and dominated a talented if troubled UCLA team. If the Vols can pull that one out, they could have a truly outstanding season.

# 14 N.Car. vs #1 Indiana tonight!

This may be the first time Ive ever pulled for Tarheels. I don't recall really. Too bad they both can't lose.hehe

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

# 14 N.Car. vs #1 Indiana tonight!

This may be the first time Ive ever pulled for Tarheels. I don't recall really. Too bad they both can't lose.hehe

There is a lot of good basketball on this week with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, starting tonight, and the SEC-Big East series later in the week. Watch several of those games, and you will get a pretty fair impression of how the Vols and the SEC stack up against the rest of the country this year.

John_10065 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I hope everybody knows I am all Big Orange and a huge Cuonzo Martin fan, but I will be astounded--in a good way--if the Vols beat G'town at their place without Maymon, or maybe even with him. They are BIG and play a stifling zone, which remains a complete mystery to the Vols on offense. They took #1 Indiana to overtime and dominated a talented if troubled UCLA team. If the Vols can pull that one out, they could have a truly outstanding season.

I saw quite a few dribble penetrations not beng taken advantage of in the second half against the zone. The guys have to learn the pull the trigger when they get a chance either with the open look or the dribble penetration.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to John_10065:

I saw quite a few dribble penetrations not beng taken advantage of in the second half against the zone. The guys have to learn the pull the trigger when they get a chance either with the open look or the dribble penetration.

Very true. They absolutely need to be more assertive on their penetrations. Also, Stokes is an excellent ball-handler and passer for a man his size. I would like to see him in the foul circle area more. He has a decent jumper from there and the vision to locate guys on the perimeter if the defense collapses on him. Kenny could then just lurk around the rim and be open for passes where all he has to do is dunk it. Another approach would be to keep the middle open and penetrate to the lane on the dribble as we have both suggested.

Basketvol writes:

I've been without my computer for the last week and wanting to comment on all of the positives from this game: TG with a 7 to 1 assist to turnover ratio, 18 points and 4 rebounds; a team assist to fg ratio over 60%, mostly TG to JS; good 2-man play at times between KH and JS; went into halftime with a big lead and kept it up in the 2nd half; and on and on. They are starting to "play as a team" at a higher level than I've seen in a while at UT. It's still early in the season and Coach Martin has this team moving in the right direction. 18 - 16 at the half v Georgetown. Let's go Vols!

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