Vols pull away from Tennessee Tech, 84-63

Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, right, searches for a teammate to pass the ball to as Wake Forest's Travis Mckie defends during the during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Paradise Island, Bahamas, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. Tennessee won 82-63. (AP Photo/Bahamas Visual Services, Tim Aylen)

Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, right, searches for a teammate to pass the ball to as Wake Forest's Travis Mckie defends during the during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Paradise Island, Bahamas, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. Tennessee won 82-63. (AP Photo/Bahamas Visual Services, Tim Aylen)

Jeronne Maymon started the game on the bench, and the Tennessee men’s basketball team fell behind. But the usual starter entered shortly after and the Vols outlasted a streaky Tennessee Tech team that poured in points in the first half but stalled in the second.

The Vols (6-2) beat the Golden Eagles 84-63 Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena. Jarnell Stokes notched his fourth consecutive double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan McRae scored 16 points. Josh Richardson added 13. And Maymon also finished with 13, despite not being in the starting lineup for the first time this season. He entered at the 16:06 mark in the first half, when the Vols trailed by one.

Tennessee Tech (5-6) led by as much as seven in the first half, largely because they made seven of their first eight 3-pointers and eight of the 10 they lofted before intermission. Still UT tied the game before intermission, when Richardson made a layup and the free throw that followed with three and a half minutes to play. UT headed to halftime with a one-point lead (41-40), then surged in the second.

After Tennessee Tech scored to start the second half, the Vols put together a 22-1 run that squashed the thought of an upset. No opponent of the Vols had finished higher than 45.5 percent from behind the arc this season. The Golden Eagles finished the game at 50 percent after making 80 percent in the first half.

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Comments » 7

johnlg00 writes:

Congrats to Tech for shooting the lights out in the first half and punching above their weight for the whole game. The Vols put an end to that with much better defense in the second half. I haven't seen the rebound totals, but the Vols must have outrebounded Tech by 20.

While one hates to draw any firm conclusions in a game against such an opponent, there can be no question that Jarnell Stokes is a vastly more complete player this year than he has been the last two. His stamina seems much improved, his FT% continues to get better, and his ball-handling looks very solid for a big man. Anybody doubting Richardson's improved stroke got an eyeful today. Don't know what's up with Barton and Hubbs, but if they can get back on the beam, the Vols are going to be a tough out. Thompson's production and confidence grows with every game. Maymon made most of his shots in close and shot FTs better than he did in the Bahamas.

The team generally looked smoother and more assured on offense than they did at almost any time over Thanksgiving. There was good ball movement and driving and cutting action toward the basket. The team's ball-handling was solid; I'm sure they had less than 10 turnovers unless they had a few I missed in the last few minutes of garbage time. Stokes and Maymon worked some nice high-low stuff and Stokes spent a fair amount of time at the high post as I have been praying he would do all along.

While all of the above were good signs for the Vols, they once again got off to a bit of a slow start which, if repeated, will kill them at Wichita State next week. After dropping those two to Xavier and UTEP, the Vols can't afford to blow their chance to make some headway in the RPI next Saturday.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Congrats to Tech for shooting the lights out in the first half and punching above their weight for the whole game. The Vols put an end to that with much better defense in the second half. I haven't seen the rebound totals, but the Vols must have outrebounded Tech by 20.

While one hates to draw any firm conclusions in a game against such an opponent, there can be no question that Jarnell Stokes is a vastly more complete player this year than he has been the last two. His stamina seems much improved, his FT% continues to get better, and his ball-handling looks very solid for a big man. Anybody doubting Richardson's improved stroke got an eyeful today. Don't know what's up with Barton and Hubbs, but if they can get back on the beam, the Vols are going to be a tough out. Thompson's production and confidence grows with every game. Maymon made most of his shots in close and shot FTs better than he did in the Bahamas.

The team generally looked smoother and more assured on offense than they did at almost any time over Thanksgiving. There was good ball movement and driving and cutting action toward the basket. The team's ball-handling was solid; I'm sure they had less than 10 turnovers unless they had a few I missed in the last few minutes of garbage time. Stokes and Maymon worked some nice high-low stuff and Stokes spent a fair amount of time at the high post as I have been praying he would do all along.

While all of the above were good signs for the Vols, they once again got off to a bit of a slow start which, if repeated, will kill them at Wichita State next week. After dropping those two to Xavier and UTEP, the Vols can't afford to blow their chance to make some headway in the RPI next Saturday.

You said a mouthful in that last graph. Play a 1st half like that vs Wichita St. and it's curtains.

Really can't draw too many serious conclusions when Tech is your opponent.

fannotsheep writes:

Had to work all day so I appreciate the analysis.

Glad to hear that Stokes is becoming more dependable. Understand having to fit new pieces of puzzle together takes time. Trying to be patient but the Vols have too much talent to waste this year's opportunity. Hopefully they continue to improve as season goes along. Can't afford many more losses in winnable games if we hope to make the Dance. Unlike Jones, Martin doesn't seem to be able to attract top recruits. Can't figure out why that is. Hope making a deep run in March will change things.

magicbyswh#221420 writes:

These Vols start slow every game and when SEC play begins it will come back to haunt them. They will end up getting beat in SEC play by teams that should not beat them. I feel when it is all said and doen this team will be on the bubble come tourney time as they have been the last 2 years.

no1djkb#278630 writes:

hmmm! Ok start out slow every game. They were ahead in this game. Be it buy one point but man Tech was making some crazy shots. I really want to know why you guys are so hard on this team. Hey do you think Tech was just going to lay down and let Tennessee drill them? KY just lost today to a lesser team. Belmont beat UNC. My point is that no team is going to blow a lesser team out every game. Heck the Miami Heat lost to Detroit Pistons last week. Coach Martin has had three years to get this team together and now they seem to play the kind of basketball he wants them to play. They went 2 and 1 last week in the battle for Atlantis. That team could have packed it in after that horrible loss to UTEP but they got it together and put together two good games. 6 and 2 is a pretty good record to me. Honestly no one should have anything negative to say about this team.
You guys who post this stuff are starting to get on my nerves

johnlg00 writes:

in response to no1djkb#278630:

hmmm! Ok start out slow every game. They were ahead in this game. Be it buy one point but man Tech was making some crazy shots. I really want to know why you guys are so hard on this team. Hey do you think Tech was just going to lay down and let Tennessee drill them? KY just lost today to a lesser team. Belmont beat UNC. My point is that no team is going to blow a lesser team out every game. Heck the Miami Heat lost to Detroit Pistons last week. Coach Martin has had three years to get this team together and now they seem to play the kind of basketball he wants them to play. They went 2 and 1 last week in the battle for Atlantis. That team could have packed it in after that horrible loss to UTEP but they got it together and put together two good games. 6 and 2 is a pretty good record to me. Honestly no one should have anything negative to say about this team.
You guys who post this stuff are starting to get on my nerves

You make several good points. There have already been lots of shockers this season. Kansas lost to Colorado. Baylor is probably better than you gave them credit for. The SEC has lost several close games lately that will hurt the whole league when it comes time to make the tourney selections. The Vols can't afford to lose any more winnable games against decent teams.

All of this accounts, in my mind, for the bulk of the anxiety that some are expressing in the early going. The whole NCAA field is just about as wide open as it has ever been. The Vols are in as good a position to benefit from that as anybody. However, there are several things that they must get better at if they are to do so. Clearly, opinions vary about Martin as a coach. I think most, except perhaps for a few disgruntled Pearl supporters, are generally positive about Martin, but anybody who follows the game closely can see several areas in which the Vols must improve, especially in areas related to consistent effort and attention to detail, if they are to fulfill their considerable potential.

no1djkb#278630 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

You make several good points. There have already been lots of shockers this season. Kansas lost to Colorado. Baylor is probably better than you gave them credit for. The SEC has lost several close games lately that will hurt the whole league when it comes time to make the tourney selections. The Vols can't afford to lose any more winnable games against decent teams.

All of this accounts, in my mind, for the bulk of the anxiety that some are expressing in the early going. The whole NCAA field is just about as wide open as it has ever been. The Vols are in as good a position to benefit from that as anybody. However, there are several things that they must get better at if they are to do so. Clearly, opinions vary about Martin as a coach. I think most, except perhaps for a few disgruntled Pearl supporters, are generally positive about Martin, but anybody who follows the game closely can see several areas in which the Vols must improve, especially in areas related to consistent effort and attention to detail, if they are to fulfill their considerable potential.

I totally agree man. I think it is more effort than anything. Like I have said in a few post, no one can deny the good Coach Pearl brought to this program. He is a great coach but we have Coach Martin now and we have to give him a chance. To me his philosophy is sound and when the players play the way he expects (example second half of TN Tech), they are a pretty good basketball team. As a coach you can't force the players to work on their game. Becoming a better player has to come from the individual not the coach. I believe players on this team have worked hard and you can see it paying off just ask Josh:). I believe now the young players have to get on board. Some of them don't shoot with any confidence. I hope they will learn from the hard work the seniors and juniors are putting in. I am very proud of those guys. They are going to be good players at the pro level (overseas or NBA).

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