Richardson, Reese lead Tennessee against Morehead State, 82-67

Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon (34) defends against Morehead State guard Angelo Warner (22) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 82-67. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel, Wade Payne)

Photo by Wade Payne

Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon (34) defends against Morehead State guard Angelo Warner (22) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 82-67. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel, Wade Payne)

Josh Richardson scored his season-high before halftime and sparked the Tennessee men’s basketball team toward a win it desperately needed.

Richardson finished one short of his career-high in points (19), pulled down eight rebounds and the Vols beat Morehead State 82-67 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for UT (7-4).

Richardson took control when UT’s leading scorer, Jordan McRae, hit the bench with early foul trouble. He made 6-of-7 shots in the first half for 14 points. He hit a 3-pointer and one of his patented pull-up jumpers. But mostly he attacked the rim on drives and cuts without the ball. The performance, which lost a little steam after Richardson’s powerful dunk early in the second half, was a breath of fresh air for the starter. He had totaled six points in the previous two games.

UT coach Cuonzo Martin had hinted at rotation changes headed into the game. The starting lineup remained the same, but there was one major difference revealed later. Sophomore Derek Reese, who is listed as a guard but plays as a forward, saw the court for the first time this season. He appeared ahead of freshman forward A.J. Davis and totaled a career-high in points (12), rebounds (10) and blocks (4).

Jeronne Maymon (16 points, eight rebounds) and Jarnell Stokes (13 points, nine rebounds) also finished in double-digits. McRae scored a season-low nine but dished a season-high five assists. UT as a team totaled a season-high 20 assists.

UT led 41-30 at intermission and never looked back thanks to a 13-0 run to start the second.. Morehead State didn’t score until a free-throw went in with 16:40 left to play.

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Comments » 9

Chris_L75 writes:

This won't exactly calm the waters, especially the ultra-sloppy finish. UVA game shaping up as last stand for this regime. Actual attendance count for that one will be interesting as well.

Glad to see D. Reese inject some momentary life.

vut5686#1405392 writes:

Pulls away? This story should be about a blow out from the word go. Better tacticians than I have dissected Vol play in many other post(s). Suffice it to say, after this much time together, they do not seem to know what will work or who will make it work.

RoadTrip writes:

So if the team runs and scores more they win. All of sudden Richardson, Barton, Maymon and even Stokes get in transition. If Reese plays they get some offensive help from outside as well as rebounds. So why have they not been running and why has Reese not been playing? Because neither are Zo's style. So lose with Zo's style or win with something not Zo's style. Unfortunately it's up to Zo.

willphill#241787 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

So if the team runs and scores more they win. All of sudden Richardson, Barton, Maymon and even Stokes get in transition. If Reese plays they get some offensive help from outside as well as rebounds. So why have they not been running and why has Reese not been playing? Because neither are Zo's style. So lose with Zo's style or win with something not Zo's style. Unfortunately it's up to Zo.

you are correct. Problem is 52% free throw shooting. Fast or slow. With 52% you lose.

volnsc writes:

Some good things and some things that are still bothersome. MSU drove at will to the basket and easy lay-ups, especially in the second half and especially around Thompson. The second half of the second half was sloppy, sloppy. Turnovers rampant. Why is foul shooting still a serious problem? Put another opponent on the floor and this translates into another loss. Happy for the win but was expected, and still sloppy.

Plasticman85 writes:

While AJ Davis looks like he is going to be a very good player, it's obvious Reese should have been playing this season. He provides a threat from the outside and has the athleticism to score in the paint as well. Plus, he has been around for 2 years now. Not sure what CCM has been thinking all year with keeping Reese on the bench. Hopefully he continues to provide the spark this team needed.

johnlg00 writes:

Thompson was not the only freshman to be exposed defensively in the game. Hubbs also continues to struggle on that end, and Davis' shortcomings on defense may be one reason why Reese got so many of his minutes. The team's apparent lack of concentration in the last ten minutes or so was somewhat troubling, but there were a fair number of subs playing big minutes during that stretch. I think the Vols showed what they had to in their vastly improved ball and player movement. They actually ran a number of set plays that resulted in scores or at least in meaningful attempts that should have been scores. The main issue all along for this team has been consistency of effort and execution. They showed both of those for a longer stretch last night than they have in some time. Let's just hope they don't lose that over the holidays.

Speaking of which, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all members of the board. Conversing with you all is one of this old man's great joys these days. See you all in the New Year! Let's hope it is kinder to us Vol fans than the last few have been!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

While AJ Davis looks like he is going to be a very good player, it's obvious Reese should have been playing this season. He provides a threat from the outside and has the athleticism to score in the paint as well. Plus, he has been around for 2 years now. Not sure what CCM has been thinking all year with keeping Reese on the bench. Hopefully he continues to provide the spark this team needed.

IMHO, it is somewhat jumping to a conclusion to say that because Reese went off last night, he should have been doing that all year. The subtext is that Martin was too stupid to play a guy that was obviously better than the guy playing ahead of him. A Morehead guy who averages less than double-figures went off for FORTY in his last game. Does that mean he should have been the leading scorer all year or just that a decent player had an extraordinary game? I would hope Reese has quite a few more performances like he had last night, but with any team it is what you are doing all along, in practice and in the weight room, that determine your opportunity on the court for real. In another article, Martin said that Reese had been doing all the right things much more intensely than he had for a while and thus earned a longer look.

jmaples54 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Thompson was not the only freshman to be exposed defensively in the game. Hubbs also continues to struggle on that end, and Davis' shortcomings on defense may be one reason why Reese got so many of his minutes. The team's apparent lack of concentration in the last ten minutes or so was somewhat troubling, but there were a fair number of subs playing big minutes during that stretch. I think the Vols showed what they had to in their vastly improved ball and player movement. They actually ran a number of set plays that resulted in scores or at least in meaningful attempts that should have been scores. The main issue all along for this team has been consistency of effort and execution. They showed both of those for a longer stretch last night than they have in some time. Let's just hope they don't lose that over the holidays.

Speaking of which, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all members of the board. Conversing with you all is one of this old man's great joys these days. See you all in the New Year! Let's hope it is kinder to us Vol fans than the last few have been!

ditto.

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