Balanced Vols Wear Out Blue Hose, 78-62

Dec. 18, 2012

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Jarnell Stokes dominated inside for 18 points to lead five Vols in double figures as Tennessee cruised to a 78-62 win over Presbyterian on Tuesday at Thompson-Boling Arena before 14,495.

Tennessee (6-3) had the edge in nearly every aspect of the game, outrebounding Presbyterian (2-9), 42-22. The Vols had just six turnovers, the fewest in the Cuonzo Martin era.

Stokes had seven rebounds and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe to lead UT's interior attack.

Trae Golden, coming off a season-high 25 points against Wichita State last week, continued to have the hot hand. The junior point guard scored 16 points and dished out a season-high eight assists without a turnover.

Jordan McRae (12), Skylar McBee (12) and D'Montre Edwards (career-high 11) all scored in double-figures.

Tennessee started the second half with more inside scoring. After a Stokes layup, Golden connected for a short jumper with 18:09 on the clock to cap a 12-0 UT run and push the Vols' lead to 47-13. That 34-point margin was the largest of the game.

Presbyterian's Khalid Mutakabbir (18 points) made a 3-pointer at the 17:45 mark to end a 0-for-6 Blue Hose stretch that lasted 5:56, going back to the end of the first half. That score sparked a brief 8-2 PC run, thanks to a pair of steals by Eric Washington on inbounds passes. All eight points came from Mutakabbir, who pulled the Blue Hose to within 50-21 with a free throw at the 16:08 mark. Stokes ended that PC run with a layup and a free throw.

Skylar McBee led Tennessee from beyond the arc making four of his 10 shots, all 3-pointers. Jordan McRae and D'Montre Edwards also made two threes each, and Trae Golden added one.

The Vols connected on 5-of-10 three pointers in the first half, which helped produce a 30-point lead, compared to Presbyterian's one three on 13 attempts. UT finished going nine for 22 with four different players at least making one.

"I thought as a team we played well," McBee said. "We shot the ball pretty well tonight. I've been in the gym getting ready for SEC play, just trying to get up as many shots as I can."

McBee started the game hot going making two threes on three attempts in the opening minutes. Edwards hit both his threes at the end of the first half with the first coming off a pass from McRae and the second off an assist from McBee.

"D'Montre played with confidence all night," McRae said. "That's what we need him to do. He stepped up and made some big shots, and as a team, we all really shot the ball well tonight."

The Vols tied their season high with nine 3-pointers with the same total in a win against UMass Nov. 16, and they fell one short of their season high in attempts with 22.

- Ryan Howard

PC would not go away. A layup by Ryan Hargrave with 15:15 on the clock started a 9-3 Presbyterian run to pull PC to within 56-30.

Led by Stokes, the Vols continued to find success inside. He scored four points off free throws and an offensive rebound to put Tennessee up 29 points, 62-33, with 11:16 left.

The Blue Hose continued to fight, finishing the game on an 8-0 run for the final 16-point margin in UT's favor.

McBee scored the Vols' first points two minutes into the game when he hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to give UT the 3-2 lead. That bucket opened a 10-0 run for Tennessee.

The Blue Hose was unlucky over that early stretch. Within the first four minutes of the game, Jordan Downing had a wide-open jumper rim out and Washington had layup bounce harmlessly off the rim.

Tennessee drove into the paint early in the first half, making 5-of-5 free throws in the first eight minutes. Edwards converted two free throws at the 12:58 mark to begin a 13-0 UT run.

Multiple Vols started to heat up. Stokes dominated inside, jostling in the paint for a layup at the 10:07 mark. Josh Richardson connected for a jumper from the left wing and had a putback in front of the rim on Tennessee's next possession to give the Vols a 23-5 advantage with 8:06 left in the half.

Downing drained a jumper at the 7:38 mark to end a nearly seven-minute scoring drought for Presbyterian.

The Blue Hose started to hit some jumpers with just under seven minutes before halftime, but strong outside shooting by Tennessee prevented PC from establishing offensive rhythm. Edwards found his stroke from the right side of the arc, connecting from long distance at the 5:33 and 4:20 marks to keep UT ahead comfortably, 35-11.

The Vols closed out the first period with an 8-0 run, capped by a Golden jumper at the top of the key with six seconds left. UT took a 43-13 lead into the break. PC's 13 points were the fewest Tennessee has allowed in a half all season and the fewest allowed in a first half since leading Georgia at halftime, 35-13, en route to a 77-48 victory on Feb. 4, 1998.

UT outmuscled Presbyterian on the glass in the first half with a 26-10 rebounding edge. The Vols shot 48.4 percent from the floor while the Blue Hose managed just 23.1 percent shooting, including a 1-of-13 showing from 3-point range. Golden and McBee led UT with nine first-half points each.

Tennessee continues its six-game homestand on Friday, Dec. 21, when the Vols host Western Carolina at 7 p.m.





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