This time Jarnell Stokes stuck around.
The Tennessee men’s basketball team’s junior forward, the only SEC player to average a double-double, scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and led his team to a 67-48 win against Georgia at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday. It was his 15th double-double of the season.
UT (16-10, 7-6 SEC) snapped a two-game losing streak and kept its hopes of making the NCAA tournament alive. Meanwhile Georgia (14-11, 8-5) watched its four-game winning streak, the second-longest in the SEC, cease. The crowd of 13,852 that watched was the smallest Thompson-Boling has held for a game between men’s SEC teams this season.
The game started just after 9 p.m.
Coming into the game UT coach Cuonzo Martin stressed the importance of finding and feeding Stokes, who made six of seven shots then went without a field goal attempt for the final 17 minutes of a five-point loss at Missouri last Saturday. Minutes into Tuesday’s game he stomped a foot on the court and shouted, “Give him the ball!” Stokes’ teammates listened.
Stokes made the game’s first basket and had 13 points, six rebounds by intermission. The Vols held a 34-28 lead despite making two of 11 3-pointers and Georgia reserve guard J.J. Frazier’s surprise; he scored a career-high 10 points in the half.
Frazier’s momentum stopped in the second half. He finished with 12 points. Georgia guard Kenny Gaines paced the Bulldogs with 13. Stokes continued to roll.
He overpowered Bulldogs near the rim for rebounds and showed his finesse, spinning past a defender for a tough, left-handed hook shot. His effort allowed him to check out of the game early as Martin sent in his subs.
Antonio Barton found his touch and scored 12 points. Jordan McRae struggled early and finished with 11. Josh Richardson scored 10.
The Vols play at Texas A&M on Saturday.