Vols overcome early scare, beat Florida Southern in exhibition opener

Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon (34) puts a shot up past Florida Southern guard Dominique Williams (12) during their game Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. Tennessee won 105-80. 
 (Photo by Wade Payne, Special to the News Sentinel)

Photo by Wade Payne, © 2013 The Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon (34) puts a shot up past Florida Southern guard Dominique Williams (12) during their game Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. Tennessee won 105-80. (Photo by Wade Payne, Special to the News Sentinel)

For a first half and then some Saturday afternoon it appeared Cuonzo Martin’s perfect record in exhibition games as the coach of the Tennessee men’s basketball team might be in jeopardy due to the preseason tune up he scheduled against former Purdue teammate and current Florida Southern coach Linc Darner.

But the Vols overcame the pesky Mocs as the second half carried on and Martin improved to 9-0 in exhibition games in three seasons at UT. The Vols turned a game that caused some early anxiety into a rout, beating the Florida Southern 105-80 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Junior forward Jarnell Stokes had 27 points and 10 rebounds. Senior guard Jordan McRae added 21 points and nine rebounds. And highly celebrated freshman guard Robert Hubbs played up to the hype, scoring 17 points in his collegiate debut. Senior forward Jeronne Maymon, who returned to action after sitting out all of last season with a knee injury, started the game and finished with eight points, seven boards and four assists.

Southern, which lost to No. 10 Florida 110-88 in Gainesville on Friday evening, trailed UT 47-43 at halftime after leading by as much as three points. Junior guard Kevin Capers carried the Mocs with 20 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting. He got continued looks thanks to sloppy ball handling by the Vols, who turned it over 11 times in the first half.

But Caper cooled in the second (he finished with 24 points) and the Vols took better care of the ball (they finished with 17 turnovers).

UT’s next exhibition is a home game Thursday against Southern Indiana at 7 p.m.

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Comments » 6

rocket22 writes:

Bruce, please come back!

Plasticman85 writes:

Looks like our margin of victory was better than the Gators had against this team. Slow start and missing our starting PG. this team could be a force to be reckoned with and should improve as the season progresses. As for the previous comment by Rocket22, all I can say is " Really?"!!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to rocket22:

Bruce, please come back!

Totally dumb comment. This was a scrimmage. Those guys weren't total chumps; Florida didn't beat them any worse than the Vols did. The Vols played without their starting PG and rotated players like a wrestling tag-team. The Vols got what they needed from the game and will be among the elite teams in the conference and the nation all year long.

johnlg00 writes:

BTW, UK beat Cumberland by only about 30 or so, so I guess they will be chumps this year, too, huh?

VictorKrugerII writes:

I don't know if it was the presence of Maymon, the match-ups or what, but Stokes got his points so easily it was ridiculous! He and Maymon are going to get to the free-throw line a lot, so I hope they're putting in extra time in the gym working on the freebies.

D'montre Edwards was a beast for the few minutes he was in. If he can provide that kind of spark consistently, this team is going to be even better than I thought.

Hubbs is as-advertised. That blend of athleticism has not been seen in a UT uniform since the days of Scotty Hopson.

McRae looked ultra-confident and could have put up 60 had he wanted to. He's going to be in an NBA uniform next season.

Can't wait to see this team with Barton at the point!

johnlg00 writes:

In case anybody else was worried about UT's relatively small margin of victory over Florida Southern, Duke--preseason ranked #2 in the country--trailed by three in the second half before pulling away to beat Drury, a Div-II team, by 16 at Cameron. The relatively brief article in the local Greensboro paper didn't say if they were missing any key players. I'm pretty sure Duke will be up to their normal standard as the season goes on, and UT should also still be strong, so there is no reason to read too much into any of these exhibition scores.

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