Vols Pull Away From MSU, Win 72-57

Jan. 19, 2013

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee secured its first SEC win of the season with a 72-57 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon. Jarnell Stokes posted his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Josh Richardson (16), Jordan McRae (12) and Trae Golden (10) also scored in double-figures.

The Vols ended their four-game losing streak and moved to 9-7 overall and 1-3 in league play.

The Bulldogs (7-9, 2-2 SEC) were led by Knoxville native Jalen Steele, who had 15 points.

The Vols moved the ball well all afternoon as they posted a season-high 19 assists (on 28 baskets) with Golden notching the most by a Vol this season, nine.

Freshman guard Armani Moore corralled a career-high 11 rebounds, the most by a Vols' guard since Scotty Hopson had 11 vs. VCU on Nov. 24, 2010. Moore had eight rebounds in the first half alone to double his previous career-high of four.

Tennessee dominated down low outscoring the Bulldogs, 42-16 in the paint. UT also outscored MSU, 18-4, on points off turnovers.

The Vols held an eight-point halftime lead, 37-29 behind 11 points from Richardson and 10 from McRae. It was the first time all season the Vols had two players score in double-figures in the first half.

After a sluggish start to the second half, the Vols started to connect on 3-pointers as Skylar McBee combined with a pair of Derek Reese for three trifectas in a row for the Vols putting UT ahead, 48-37 with 14:35 left.

Tennessee went on 12-4 run over a two-minute span halfway through the first half to help give UT the lead at halftime and pull out a win over SEC opponent Mississippi State.

Guards Josh Richardson and Jordan McRae, along with Jarnell Stokes, opened the offensive part of the run with a pass from Richardson to McRae, who bounced passed it to Stokes to give the Vols a 2-point lead, 18-16.

"I thought I did a pretty good job offensively tonight," Stokes said. "I was a lot more aggressive, and my teammates did a good job of penetrating and getting me the ball."

On the next offensive possession, McRae drove to the basket late in the shot clock and missed a layup. Stokes missed the put back, and McRae finished up on the play converting his own put back.

With 8 minutes left in the first, McRae hit a pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the key off a Josh Richardson pass to put the Vols up 23-18. The next possession, UT ran a fast break that ended in a McRae layup that forced the Bulldogs to call a timeout.

"We got out to a fast start, which is something we've been needing to do," Richardson said. "Next game, we just need to pick up on the same note and keep working hard."

A couple possessions later, Armani Moore punctuated the run with UT's largest defensive statement of the night. Moore blocked a Jalen Steele jumper on the baseline that sent the ball into the stands and drew a standing ovation.

"I came from the weak side and just had to time it right," Moore said. "It felt good to see all my work on defense pay off and to see the fans' reaction."

- Ryan Howard

Dunks by McRae and Stokes pushed the Vols' lead to 52-39 with 12 minutes left. Then Reese bombed another 3-pointer for a 16-point bulge with 11:38 left.

Tennessee continued to pull away with Golden becoming the fourth Vol in double-figures with a layup at the 1:19 mark, giving UT its largest lead at 17, 72-55.

In the first half, the lead pushed to eight at 31-23 on a layup by Golden with 4:39 left in the half. Stokes' bucket gave the Vols their double-figure lead of the game, 37-27 with 1:23 left in the first half.

The game stood tied at 16 on a jumper by Steele with 10:52 left in the half. The Vols went on a 9-2 surge to take a 25-18 lead on a McRae layup with 7:30 left. Stokes' dunk with 9:44 left gave UT the lead for good.

Richardson scored seven of the Vols' first eight points as Tennessee jumped out to an 8-2 lead.

The Vols new football coaching staff led by head coach Butch Jones was introduced to the crowd during a timeout late in the first half. Former Vols baseball player Chase Headley, who led the National League in RBIs while playing with the San Diego Padres was also recognized at the game.

The Vols began a stretch of three home games in four overall contests with the Mississippi State game. UT travels to Oxford to play Ole Miss on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m ET. That game will air on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Vol Network.

UT will host Alabama next Saturday at 2 p.m., also on ESPN2 and Vanderbilt on Jan. 29 at 7 p.m., on ESPNU.





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