Jan. 28, 2012
(12-9, 2-5 SEC)
(10-11, 2-4 SEC)
Jeronne Maymon recorded his sixth double-double of the year with team-highs of 15 points and 19 rebounds.
The Vols held their first opponent under 50 points this season, limiting Auburn to 49 points.
The Vols have held three of its six SEC opponents to less than 60 points (Florida 56, Georgia 57 and Auburn 49).
Tennessee had five players in double-figures and maybe even more notable, the five players accounted for 62 of the Vols' 64 points.
Jeronne Maymon had his sixth double-double this season with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
The Vols won their 1,500 game in program history and stand at 1,500-956-2 all-time, dating to 1909.
BY JOSH PATE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Jeronne Maymon scored 15 points and grabbed 19 rebounds and Tennessee's defense held Auburn to just 30.4 percent from the floor as the Volunteers overpowered the Tigers 64-49 Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Four other Vols scored in double figures as the Tigers tried to use a zone defense look to contain Tennessee's inside presence. It didn't work.
Tennessee (10-11, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) was able to work past the shifting Auburn (12-9, 2-5) defense and outscore the Tigers 26-12 in the paint. The Vols also owned the boards, outrebounding the Tigers 53-30. The Vols held the Tigers to just five offensive rebounds for the game.
Rebounding and defense were what made up for the lackluster offensive performance, according to Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin. The Vols shot just 34.4 percent.
"Like I told the guys, we shot under 40 percent from the field and won the game because we rebounded and defended," Martin said. "That's where you hang your hat, on the defensive side of the ball. But good teams have to get better on both sides of the ball, and that's what you've got to continue to work at."
The bright spot for Tennessee's effort all around was Maymon, who collected his sixth double-double on the season. The 19 rebounds were the second-most in his career, one shy of the 20 he grabbed against Memphis back in November.
"I just try to go up there with two hands and control the ball," Maymon said of his rebounding. "That's just what we work on. Coach Martin and the rest of the staff make sure we do that in practice a lot so it just comes natural. I just try to stick to the principles."
Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said the rebounding was the difference maker.
"We are what we are offensively, so that's not surprising," Barbee said. "And I thought we defended well enough to be in the game, because they are not a very explosive offensive team either. But when you get out-rebounded by 23 rebounds, when you've got one player for them in Maymon who has 19 rebounds by himself, and our three-man rotation in the post - (Adrian) Forbes, (Kenny) Gabriel and (Rob) Chubb - don't have 19 total, it's going to be hard to win that game."
Trae Golden scored 13 points for the Vols, followed by Skylar McBee's 12 points. Jarnell Stokes and Jordan McRae both had 11 points. The five players who scored in double-figures accounted for 62 of Tennessee's 64 points.
Kenny Gabriel led Auburn with 13 points.
The Vols collected eight blocked shots in protecting the rim, and the 49 points by Auburn was the lowest output by a UT opponent since Dec. 17, 2010 (Charlotte, 49 points). However, the Tigers struggled also in part to shots simply not falling late in the first half.
Trailing 13-12 with 9:46 to play in the first half, the Vols closed the half on an 18-3 run and held the Tigers without a basket until the teams went to the locker room. Tennessee led 30-16 at the break as the Tigers missed their last 10 shots.
As good as the run looked on paper, it was a struggle for both teams offensively the rest of the way. Tennessee's difficulty from outside of the paint included a 4-of-20 mark from behind the 3-point line. Auburn, however, continued its ice cold performance. The Tigers were just 17-of-56 (30.4 percent) for the game. They made just six buckets in the first half.
"I think we're getting better," Martin said of his team's defensive mind-set. "We had a poor showing in Nashville (a 65-47 loss to Vanderbilt), but since SEC play has started, we've gotten better. I think we're at about 75 percent on defense, 25 percent to go to be a really good defensive team, but we're getting there."
The victory was Tennessee's 1,500th in program history. The Vols hold a 1,500-956-2 (61.1 percent) dating to 1909.
The Vols head to No. 1 Kentucky to take on the Wildcats on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU. and can be heard on the Vol Network. Tennessee is 4-11 all-time against No. 1 ranked teams, but won its last two games vs. the top team in the land with a 76-68 victory vs. Kansas (1/10/10) and a 66-62 win at Memphis (2/23/08). The Vols are 4-2 in their last six games vs. the No. 1 team in America, the other two wins came on March 5, 1966 (vs. Kentucky 69-62) and Dec. 6, 1969 at South Carolina (55-54).