Vols blow out Virginia, 87-52

SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee’s Jordan McRae tries to score while being defended by Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, left, and London Perrantes at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, December 30, 2013.

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee’s Jordan McRae tries to score while being defended by Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, left, and London Perrantes at Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday, December 30, 2013.

When Antonio Barton’s half-court heave hit the nylon at the buzzer, Thompson-Boling Arena, which had become increasingly electric through the first 20 minutes of the game, really started to rock.

A Tennessee men’s basketball team that had shown a knack for letting meaningful games slip through its fingers had a 22-point lead at halftime against a team that wasn’t supposed to cough up points like this.

And the Vols kept their foot on the gas in the second.

Antonio Barton talks about the Vols' blow out win against Virginia

UT (8-4) beat Virginia (9-4) 87-52 at Thompson-Boling on Monday. The 35-point margin of victory was the most lopsided coach Cuonzo Martin has had in his UT career.

Josh Richardson provided an early spark; he scored 15 in the first half and finished with a career-high-tying 20. His teammates picked up the load when he encountered foul trouble. Jordan McRae scored a team-high 21; Jarnell Stokes scored 20; and Barton finished with 14.

The Vols had their best start of the season, torching a Virginia defense that had held opponents to 54 points per game. Their 48 points at intermission were the most they had scored in a first half all season. That total, according to a UT spokesman, is the most Virginia had surrendered in a first half since it surrendered 55 to Washington on Nov. 22, 2010.

UT shot 50 percent in the game, made 11-of-18 3-pointers and made 22-of-25 free throws. Meanwhile, the Vols held Virginia to 32.7 shooting from the field and 2-of-12 from deep. Virginia’s leading scorer, Joe Harris, scored seven points. Justin Anderson scored a game-high 11 for Virginia.

Ben Frederickson covers UT men’s basketball. Follow him at twitter.com/Ben_Fred

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 9

Chris_L75 writes:

Well, that was kind of unexpected.

I'm left speechless except to wonder where this team has been, and ask them to please stay a while.

If there's a Most Improved in SEC award, Richardson is leading at the moment.

rockypop writes:

It's beginning to look like one of those years when fans have no idea what to expect of their BB Vols. While UVA isn't in any conversation as a contender for conference or national recognition, it is still a well-regarded BB program with a rich tradition. This has to be considered a good, if not signature, win.

The most confounding thing though, is the ease with which the Vols dispensed them. Now, the fans are left to wonder if this was an anomaly or if it is the real Vols. So far, one thing's for sure - they sure are consistent. Consistently inconsistent.

murrayvol writes:

Let's hope this is the game they will choose to play for the balance of the season.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

I would have bet the deed to my condo that we wouldn't have won by that much. And obviously, next week I would have been in divorce court. Classic example of a 40 minute game!!!

willphill#241787 writes:

Tennessee's tempo increased significantly in this game. The crowd loved it. THe Vols played much better. I believe AD Hart may have had a hand in the Vols new style of play.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to willphill#241787:

Tennessee's tempo increased significantly in this game. The crowd loved it. THe Vols played much better. I believe AD Hart may have had a hand in the Vols new style of play.

I believe you are spot on. Bama Dave knows basketball. Time for Zo to expand his game. Hard to play Big 10 blah basketball without the roster that can play it that way.

Run, rhythm, active big guys in the paint, shoot earlier in the clock, pressure D, make the FTs, let Richardson create some O - all of it is what should be done because it plays to the strength of the roster. Zo needed to change - not the players. Let's see if he will stay consistent.

The SEC is a weaker conference top to bottom. You can win more games playing fast than slow and have a better chance of pulling the upset against the best. This roster is short in the front court. Big, but short. So you have got to get the whole team in motion and active to be effective.

bige141#1433363 writes:

I wondered if the Vols would even score 35 points, much less win by 35...count me as very surprised, this team is hard to figure

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

in response to willphill#241787:

Tennessee's tempo increased significantly in this game. The crowd loved it. THe Vols played much better. I believe AD Hart may have had a hand in the Vols new style of play.

Seriously?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

I believe you are spot on. Bama Dave knows basketball. Time for Zo to expand his game. Hard to play Big 10 blah basketball without the roster that can play it that way.

Run, rhythm, active big guys in the paint, shoot earlier in the clock, pressure D, make the FTs, let Richardson create some O - all of it is what should be done because it plays to the strength of the roster. Zo needed to change - not the players. Let's see if he will stay consistent.

The SEC is a weaker conference top to bottom. You can win more games playing fast than slow and have a better chance of pulling the upset against the best. This roster is short in the front court. Big, but short. So you have got to get the whole team in motion and active to be effective.

It is surely to Martin's credit if he in fact had such a discussion with Hart and heeded however much of it he found relevant. I agree with you that the movement of both man and ball was as good as we've seen it from these Vols. Passes were sharper and more accurate. Best of all, the defense has definitely picked up the last two games.

Given the kind of shooter he was in college, Martin could not have been loving the forced bricks the Vols were laying previously. I think this is exactly how he expected this team to play; maybe they will all remember as they go forward how much better this felt. It is not for nothing that the team's turnovers have been exceedingly rare lately as well. All this shows a better consciousness among the players about what they are doing. They won't always shoot that well, of course, but if they keep getting those kinds of shots, they will be fine. Best of all, the defense hasn't seemed to suffer too much, at least when the freshmen aren't playing. They will learn, but they DO still need to learn.

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