Xavier coach Chris Mack breaks down Tennessee's 64-49 win
Cuonzo Martin, on the Vols' loss to UTEP
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – The shots that rimmed out Thursday night fell Friday afternoon, and those that didn’t were almost always gobbled up and put back successfully by a Tennessee men’s basketball team determined to make its second game against Xavier go differently than its first.
UT beat Xavier 64-49 in its second game in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament on Friday at Imperial Arena. The rematch was one UT (5-2) would have liked to avoid; it happened due to the Vols’ sluggish performance and eventual 78-70 loss to UTEP late Thursday night.
But the Vols responded, if nothing else redeeming themselves against the Musketeers, who beat UT by four in the Vols’ season-opener in Cincinnati.
Jarnell Stokes was dominant, scoring a team-high 20 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Jeronne Maymon, who was visibly agitated after he made one of his six shots against UTEP, bounced back with a 14-point performance. He made six of eight shots and gathered six rebounds. Jordan McRae scored 16.
A UT defense that allowed UTEP to make 58 percent of its shots buckled down and held Xavier to 40.4 percent. Musketeer’s star guard Semaj Christon, who dealt with cramping problems in Xavier’s overtime loss to Iowa on Thursday, scored just four points. He led the Musketeers’ with 18 in the first matchup with the Vols.
But the biggest difference was on the glass. UT out-rebounded Xavier 41-29. As a result the Vols outscored Xavier 26-4 on second-chance points.
UT plays at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The opponent will be the winner of the Wake Forest-Southern Cal game that started at 3:30 p.m. Friday. Wake Forest lost to No. 2 Kansas 87-78 on Thursday. USC lost to Villanova 94-79.