All of Jordan McRae's career-high 34 points 'count' in 82-72 win over LSU

Saul Young/News Sentinel
Tennessee’s Jordan McRae attempts to score against LSU  at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday. Tennessee won 82-72 and McRae scored a career-high 34 points and did not miss a 3-pointer.

Photo by Saul Young, 2013 Knoxville News Sentinel

Saul Young/News Sentinel Tennessee’s Jordan McRae attempts to score against LSU at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday. Tennessee won 82-72 and McRae scored a career-high 34 points and did not miss a 3-pointer.

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Sporting an incredulous stare paired with a scoffing smirk, Jordan McRae plainly declared, “They didn’t count.”

The “they” were five games this season that saw the Tennessee guard score more than 20 points.

They all ended in losses.

Tuesday counted.

Blistering LSU with a career-high 34 points — including 20 in a lights-out second-half performance — McRae powered Tennessee to an 82-72 victory at Thompson-Boling Arena.

With the modesty of a monk, the Georgia native declared the evening, “A good day at work.”

Don’t tell that to the Tigers.

McRae finished the night 13-of-18 from the field, 6-of-6 from 3-point distance and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line. It was the best game of his three-year career and the best outing — points-wise — by a UT player since Chris Lofton poured in 35 against Texas in 2006.

“It’s good company,” noted Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin.

McRae’s numbers speak loudly. When they came speaks volumes. After LSU cut Tennessee’s lead to 66-60 with 5 minutes, 46 seconds remaining, he took care of the Vols’ next nine points. A 3-pointer preceded two layups. Then, with 3:21 left, his lone two free throws left UT with a 75-65 advantage.

The Tigers would get no closer than seven to close out the night.

None of this means it came easy. The Vols needed every second of McRae’s 38 inspired minutes. Thanks to him, the foot remains on the gas following Saturday’s ballyhooed 30-point rout of No. 25 Kentucky. Tennessee (15-10, 7-6 SEC) won for the fourth straight time.

“(McRae) made big plays, be it at the rim, at the three-point line, he played extremely well,” said LSU coach Johnny Jones. “He looked great and we just didn’t have an answer for him.”

The Tigers (15-9, 6-7) rode a 24-point, eight-rebound outing by sophomore Johnny O’Bryant III. The 6-foot-9, 256-pound forward was advertised as one of the few players in the SEC physically capable of banging with UT’s Jarnell Stokes.

It was the truth.

“It was like playing against myself,” Stokes said.

“If I wasn’t playing on the team, I’d pay money to see Jarnell and Johnny O’Bryant go at it,” added McRae.

He’d get his money’s worth. Stokes, one game after snapping a streak of six straight double-doubles, finished the night with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The sophomore is now the first Vol to notch 10 double-doubles in a season in 20 years.

“Even though your guard might be the leading scorer on the team, you have to go through Stokes in order for us to have success, and I think that’s the main reason why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Martin said.

The Vols came out cooking in the first half with McRae and Trae Golden stirring the broth. Runs of 12-3, 6-0 and 11-3 combined to build a 40-30 halftime lead. The guards scored 14 first-half points apiece, combining for 11-of-16 shooting.

Golden finished with 20, lost deep in the shadow of McRae’s outburst.

That’s not how the star of the night saw it, though.

“Trae can get anybody an open shot at any time,” said McRae, who made five of his career-high 13 field goals off Golden’s game-high eight assists. “Your only job is to hit your shots. I got a lot of open ones tonight.”

Carrying over their red-hot shooting against Big Blue, the Vols made 27 of 47 shots (57.4 percent), 10 of 15 3-pointers and 18 of 21 free throws.

“This is a different team,” Martin said. “This is the team I thought we’d be at the beginning of the season, but you go through things — guys have to learn, guys have to grow. I don’t think Trae Golden and Jarnell Stokes would have been the guys they were at the beginning of the season.”

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

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Comments » 93

VOLSnTITANS writes:

Vols beat a hot LSU team and the refs tonight. Great job.

TopTenn writes:

Good win, four in a row. Beat A&M.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say many words said about him shooting 3's but he has a really good mid range game. Witch Doctor say when youre hot youre hot!
Bones never lie.

tobytyler writes:

Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep those w's rolling. Next up, we get to gig some Aggies. GBO!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

When's the last time we had two guards over 20 points apiece?

Great offensive game. LOL if we can keep McRae and Golden scoring like this...

usnavyvolfan_on_duty writes:

couldn't watch the game, so I followed on twitter and gamecast. This team is en fuego for sure! Hope they keep it going! GBO!!

BigDave64 writes:

Nice win! I would have never imagined this team playing so well a month ago. Go Vols.

MtnMike91 writes:

"Hiccup quick"? Never heard that one before. Great win for the Vols - let's keep it going!

VolGrad writes:

Great victory tonight over LSU. Each time Tennessee got a little sloppy and let LSU back in it, McRae would go on a spurt of his own. Another good performance by Trae with 20 points as well.

Go Vols! Beat the Aggies!!!

utvolz#637682 writes:

Is this a Vols teams finally starting to find its identity and tournament legs?

alfrizzle097 writes:

The SEC is just god awful this year.... its really incredible. We are to basketball what the Big East is to football.

That being said, its nice that they are finally ENJOYABLE TO WATCH win or lose.

tobytyler writes:

It's de'ja vu all over again. Top 4 seed in the sec tournament doesn't seem that far fetched now.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

How bout dim Vols?! They refuse to go down! They are playing some dang good basketball. It's about time everyone recognizes it. I'm proud of you guys! You determine your own destiny. Show everybody what you've got! Always good to beat LSU!

Go Orange!

tennlions writes:

I think it's time to give CCM some credit. He is using this 4 guard lineup most of the time now and the results are huge. He also had handled Stokes and Golden's slumps well and gotten them back on top of their games. I like the way that roles are getting defined on this team. If they keep it up, the Dance will be a real possibility.

Basketvol writes:

From Professionalsomethingortheother before the game:

My UT vs LSU anaylisis..LSU Wins
"LSU +8
A letdown is a very real possibility for Tennessee after the Vols' rousing 88-58 romp past Nerlens Noel-less Kentucky on Saturday. That offensive eruption was also the Vols' only game cracking the 70-point barrier in almost a month, as Cuonzo Martin's side has rarely resembled a smooth-running offensive machine with G Trae Golden (who scored 24 vs. the Cats, but whose offensive numbers are down from last season, including a mere 25.5% triples TY) enduring an erratic campaign. Meanwhile, Johnny Jones' LSU (5-1 SU last six) has been quietly surging in recent weeks as it sets itself up for a likely postseason invitation (NIT appears a good bet). Memphis transfer G Charles Carmouche is the latest Tiger to step to the fore, with a season-high 21 points in Saturday's win over Mississippi State. And Jones continues to get yeoman's work from 6-9, 262-lb. battering ram PF Johnny O'Bryant (21 ppg & 11 rpg last three)."

.
.
.
.
Ahahahahaha! Professional my foot!

What a great game, 80+ points (looks like they cracked 70, again), lights out (6-6) 3-pt shooting from McRae, 20 pts and 8 assists from Golden, another double-double from Stokes, and no black curtains to be found. As for LSU, O'Bryant fouled out and had 4 turnovers. Carmouche shot 0-0 fg and had a mere 2 pts in 3 minutes. Did he get hurt? Nice prediction otherwise. Ahahaha!

I hope the team is taking it one game at a time, but next Tuesday can't come soon enough for me. Let's keep it rolling! Go Vols!

jt45 writes:

180 degree turnaround in a month, whatever they are doing in practice I hope they keep it up. McRae could have kicked those shots in tonight, I hope he shoots like that the rest of the season. I couldnt watch the game but I heard plenty of Money over the air waves.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

The SEC is just god awful this year.... its really incredible. We are to basketball what the Big East is to football.

That being said, its nice that they are finally ENJOYABLE TO WATCH win or lose.

It's called "Parity" dude..A lot of teams with similar talent and most all with emphasis on defense..Every Sec team has at least one good shooting guard and a power forward.. Some like us have good utility players that can add to that simple formula and post double digit games..IMO it's made for some good ball games this year

volfan2002 writes:

Great win for the Vols even if it was seven on five McRae smoked him some Tiger tail.

bosscat writes:

I believe.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

McRae looked like he could play in the NBA tonight..Great confidence inside or out, he was shooting the ball lights out..Great game, Jordan.

jt45 writes:

in response to Basketvol:

From Professionalsomethingortheother before the game:

My UT vs LSU anaylisis..LSU Wins
"LSU +8
A letdown is a very real possibility for Tennessee after the Vols' rousing 88-58 romp past Nerlens Noel-less Kentucky on Saturday. That offensive eruption was also the Vols' only game cracking the 70-point barrier in almost a month, as Cuonzo Martin's side has rarely resembled a smooth-running offensive machine with G Trae Golden (who scored 24 vs. the Cats, but whose offensive numbers are down from last season, including a mere 25.5% triples TY) enduring an erratic campaign. Meanwhile, Johnny Jones' LSU (5-1 SU last six) has been quietly surging in recent weeks as it sets itself up for a likely postseason invitation (NIT appears a good bet). Memphis transfer G Charles Carmouche is the latest Tiger to step to the fore, with a season-high 21 points in Saturday's win over Mississippi State. And Jones continues to get yeoman's work from 6-9, 262-lb. battering ram PF Johnny O'Bryant (21 ppg & 11 rpg last three)."

.
.
.
.
Ahahahahaha! Professional my foot!

What a great game, 80+ points (looks like they cracked 70, again), lights out (6-6) 3-pt shooting from McRae, 20 pts and 8 assists from Golden, another double-double from Stokes, and no black curtains to be found. As for LSU, O'Bryant fouled out and had 4 turnovers. Carmouche shot 0-0 fg and had a mere 2 pts in 3 minutes. Did he get hurt? Nice prediction otherwise. Ahahaha!

I hope the team is taking it one game at a time, but next Tuesday can't come soon enough for me. Let's keep it rolling! Go Vols!

Handicapper never gets much right, in fact he has proven time and again to be a jinx to his own predictions many many times. If I were a betting man I would take whatever team he says will lose and do well I suspect. Stallings and the Dores are his Idols wich kind of explains his affliction.

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

Go VOLS!

IC_Vol writes:

Who is this team? I watched this bunch a couple of weeks ago and predicted three wins the rest of the way. Its amazing how much better this team is when Golden just plays average. When he plays good, they will scare anybody. Small line up struggled defensively and LSU played well but there was no stopping this team tonight. Go Vols keep it up.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

Good win over an LSU team that has been playing some good b-ball. Really like the way this team is stepping up. They're really attacking on both ends of the court. Seems like everybody may be healthy now. Next up: A&M. The Aggies will come hungry on their own court. One game at a time, guys, one game at a time.

movol53 writes:

OK it was a great game and UT won. So my question is where's the UT defense??? They allowed LSU to get back into the game three or four times; getting the score down to single digits. I like what I see but the defense? What has happened? Have they just decided to out score everyone?

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to tennlions:

I think it's time to give CCM some credit. He is using this 4 guard lineup most of the time now and the results are huge. He also had handled Stokes and Golden's slumps well and gotten them back on top of their games. I like the way that roles are getting defined on this team. If they keep it up, the Dance will be a real possibility.

Not so sold on the 4 guard thing..Despite Hall being up and down I like seeing him on the floor with Stokes and Hall pulls in as many rebounds as Moore.. it's pretty obvious we're winning because we are shooting 55% and Golden and McRae are on a terror..I guess if it ain't broke don't fix it and with Bama and Ole Miss behind us..go for it

VictorKruger writes:

Incredible guard play once again. Yemi was a disaster and Stokes got outplayed by O'Bryant, but with Golden, McRae and Richardson playing like this, the team will be hard to beat. I refuse to get hopeful about the NCAAs until the team gets past A&M and Florida, so I'll just keep enjoying the ride. Congrats on a career night, Jordan!

tennlions writes:

in response to movol53:

OK it was a great game and UT won. So my question is where's the UT defense??? They allowed LSU to get back into the game three or four times; getting the score down to single digits. I like what I see but the defense? What has happened? Have they just decided to out score everyone?

This LSU team played with a lot of heart tonight. They just simply willed themselves to stay in the game. Their guards were quick enough to get an open look most trips down the floor and they hit some second half threes. I don't think it's a knock on UT's defense as much as it is a testament to how hard LSU played.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to IC_Vol:

Who is this team? I watched this bunch a couple of weeks ago and predicted three wins the rest of the way. Its amazing how much better this team is when Golden just plays average. When he plays good, they will scare anybody. Small line up struggled defensively and LSU played well but there was no stopping this team tonight. Go Vols keep it up.

The turnaround has been amazing even to me. The bucket is looking like the Arizona meteor crater to Jordan right now. His improved efficiency is related to his having drastically cut down on his head-long forays into traffic. He has been much better lately at picking his spots for his drives, often pulling up for those smooth mid-range jumpers instead.

The 4-guard lineup hurt the Vols the most on the defensive board and in defending LSU's formidable front line. LSU had several second-half possessions where they got three or more shots. O'Bryant was the monster I feared he would be inside and even the big tuba player had his moments. It may have helped against the press, though. After a few shaky possessions that let LSU back in the game, the Vols settled down and attacked it, eventually forcing them to abandon it until the last minutes.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

It's called "Parity" dude..A lot of teams with similar talent and most all with emphasis on defense..Every Sec team has at least one good shooting guard and a power forward.. Some like us have good utility players that can add to that simple formula and post double digit games..IMO it's made for some good ball games this year

You can have parity where you have many top 15 quality programs (SEC football), or you can have parity where you have a bunch of stinkers. Equality does not require quality. SEC basketball has been rough this year. Maybe some teams can turn it around towards the end.

IC_Vol writes:

in response to movol53:

OK it was a great game and UT won. So my question is where's the UT defense??? They allowed LSU to get back into the game three or four times; getting the score down to single digits. I like what I see but the defense? What has happened? Have they just decided to out score everyone?

UT needed to get its offense in order and it looks like they have. Defense was good but LSU played well. We really struggled with rebunding early in the second half. From watching this game I thought LSU was pretty lucky in some of the crazy bounces tonight. All and all I thought this was a fantastic effort and consistant with what we did Saturday. The only difference was LSU played a lot better then Kentucky.

VolInIndy writes:

worst officiating of the year

tennlions writes:

John...I couldn't agree more. This lineup will get hurt by teams with a dominant front line. However, they handled the press very well and can shoot. This lineup would have beaten Bama on the road for sure. Gotta give CCM credit for changing things up and looking to play to the strength of this team.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VictorKruger:

Incredible guard play once again. Yemi was a disaster and Stokes got outplayed by O'Bryant, but with Golden, McRae and Richardson playing like this, the team will be hard to beat. I refuse to get hopeful about the NCAAs until the team gets past A&M and Florida, so I'll just keep enjoying the ride. Congrats on a career night, Jordan!

Ditto on the guards. McRae and Golden are just straight cash these last few games. O'Bryant has really got GAME; he'll be playing for big bucks real soon, I hope. Agree about Yemi; he has somewhat regressed during this latest mini-streak. I think his minutes have gone down with the smaller lineup and it may be hurting his confidence and timing, never real strong points for him at any time. Richardson always seems to chip in with just enough of whatever they need, game after game. No reason to be either hopeful or in despair. What will be, will be. If they keep winning, great; if they lose, it has been nice seeing some signs of life that give hope for next year.

redskinvol1 writes:

Good win today.There was no post KY let down.Go Vols!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to tennlions:

This LSU team played with a lot of heart tonight. They just simply willed themselves to stay in the game. Their guards were quick enough to get an open look most trips down the floor and they hit some second half threes. I don't think it's a knock on UT's defense as much as it is a testament to how hard LSU played.

I agree. Anybody who puts down LSU must not know that they had won about five or six straight themselves. They have become a solid team that nobody wants in their bracket in the SEC tournament. They never gave up, but then neither did the Vols. A few weeks ago, they would have lost a game like this. All props to Jordan for going OFF, but the rest of the team showed the grit to fight off a real challenge and still salt away the win.

oldster writes:

in response to tobytyler:

It's de'ja vu all over again. Top 4 seed in the sec tournament doesn't seem that far fetched now.

It does not matter what seed UT gets in the SEC tournament. They will be lucky to win one game. They are just snake bitten in this tournament.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolInIndy:

worst officiating of the year

Yeah, they were missing them right and left on both ends of the floor. It was an insult to two teams mostly playing hard and well.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to oldster:

It does not matter what seed UT gets in the SEC tournament. They will be lucky to win one game. They are just snake bitten in this tournament.

Well, that is certainly their history. But I bet you didn't see that 30-point beatdown of UK coming, either!

justafan4ut writes:

GO BIG ORANGE

justafan4ut writes:

in response to movol53:

OK it was a great game and UT won. So my question is where's the UT defense??? They allowed LSU to get back into the game three or four times; getting the score down to single digits. I like what I see but the defense? What has happened? Have they just decided to out score everyone?

Isn't that the objective? to outscore the opponent? Just asking.

golfman1975 writes:

Where is cattleprod at? We won and they lost.

SummittsCourt writes:

Great win again. I must give credit where credit is due. Coach Martin had made adjustments to this team and it is working.

UF just lost to Mizzou too!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

First off, a great win over a quality opponent. In fact, a much better opponent than the one we saw last Saturday. For a while, there was a little Kentucky hangover with the lethargic crowd.

Tonight, a great ending to a great basketball day. Indiana comes back at Michigan State to win it in a thriller. Virginia goes down at Miami.

And finally, just watched the end of the Lizards game at Missouri. How sweet those games were.

Hard to find much wrong with Tennessee tonight. Awesome shooting. We wonder how those 3's will keep falling but so far it's unbelievable. Free throw shooting.........just great. Hard to find anything wrong with the team.......although it seemed we never could put LSU away..........they kept staying within 6 to 12 points away from us.

Not wanting to sound ungrateful, but wondered about letting them ( LSU ) take that shot before the half when we had fouls to give. Oh well, it didn't come back to hurt us.

Congrats guys.

golfman1975 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Yeah, they were missing them right and left on both ends of the floor. It was an insult to two teams mostly playing hard and well.

Rights and lefts are used in boxing...they don't mean anyting unless someone gets knocked
out.

tan007 writes:

This is an exciting team to watch right now. I haven't missed a home game & those guys are improving & playing with true grit. I agree with another post, we have really had some bad officiating crews this year. Usually I recognize some from previous years but we have had a lot of newcomers. I feel bad for Stokes because he gets a lot of bad calls. I don't know why the officials can't see what poor calls they are making on him. It has to be very frustrating for him & I wish they would get in the game with his style of play & quit calling a foul on him when it is totally uncalled for. Tonight was terrible, they refs almost got blown off the court by boos, especially after fans saw replays on the Jumbo-tron.

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

I know Jerome is not playing this year, but I wonder if he's Healthy and back practicing with the team, Therefore making the whole team better.

tan007 writes:

in response to VolInIndy:

worst officiating of the year

I keep wondering where we are getting these crews to officiate...used to recognize a lot from previous years games but not this season. Had some real duds this year.

AHOUSE writes:

I am a little late in giving my thoughts after all the nice comment made here, and probably not many people will read or care what I think, but I will put it in here just in case.
The major difference this month and before most people wanted to fire the coach and stop watching the team play , if you notice Golden no longer waltz's up the floor, and they don't wait until the clock runs down to get it going.
Now it's different,and it appears they work on their game in practice enough so it is automatic in the game and play as if it is the last game of their career. I would like to see them spread the floor against the press, and not throw the ball to McBee,(has no speed and can't dribble).
Stokes, he has decided he is wearing the big boy pants and now can play with the big boys. I wish for Hall, stop walking and practice catching, but it maybe too late. My next wish to play KY and win by 40!!!

That_One_Fellar writes:

I wonder who McRae would put his money on in that fight... I have an eery feelin McRae and Stokes aint best of friends... Other than that, awesome game tonight Vols... McRae played like a man possessed... Gah, I love me some good guard play... But I will say, this team would scare me in the SEC tourny...

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