Tennessee overpowers winless Tennessee State, 88-67

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) shoots a two-pointer over guards Jordan Gaither (23) and Patrick Miller (2), from left, during the second half against Tennessee State at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) shoots a two-pointer over guards Jordan Gaither (23) and Patrick Miller (2), from left, during the second half against Tennessee State at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Pass-first with Tennessee's Darius Thompson

The Tennessee men’s basketball team started, stalled then pulled away from a win-less Tennessee State team still in search of its first win.

UT beat TSU 88-67 Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vos (3-1) won their third consecutive home game since their season-opening loss at Xavier on Nov. 12.

Tennessee State has started its season with six consecutive losses for the first time since 1999-2000, when the Tigers dropped eight in a row.

Senior guard Jordan McRae scored 25 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Junior forward Jarnell Stokes added 16 points and eight rebounds. Freshman point guard Darius Thompson had a solid outing as well. He finished with seven assists, five points and five steals.

After jumping out to a 16-point lead in the first half, the Vols’ momentum stalled as intermission neared. The Tigers cut the deficit to eight before the half then got as close as six early in the second. But UT countered with a run of its own, a spurt that relied heavily on attacking the basket and making the free-throws that followed; UT made 18-of-19 in the second half.

Now the competition increases. The Vols travel to Atlantis Twin Towers Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, for the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament. They play UTEP at 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. The winner of that game faces the winner of a first-round game between Iowa and Xavier.

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

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Comments » 3

wigmeister writes:

Not extremely pretty, but a win. The tournament coming up will be a better barometer of where this team is at this point.

volnsc writes:

Maymon is still not his old self. Hope he hurries with conditioning and shot making around the basket. He seemed to favor his restored knee last night some. Both he and Stokes seem to get in trouble when they put the ball on the floor.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volnsc:

Maymon is still not his old self. Hope he hurries with conditioning and shot making around the basket. He seemed to favor his restored knee last night some. Both he and Stokes seem to get in trouble when they put the ball on the floor.

Well, Maymon may never get back to what he was a couple of years ago. No doubt he and the staff are constantly having to estimate how hard he can work out without over-stressing his knees.

I agree that he and Stokes both need to avoid trying to dribble in traffic. Both have shown that they can take the ball directly to the basket off the dribble, but they shouldn't try to split double-teams until they are taking it right to the rim.

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