Dec. 20, 2011
Renaldo Woolridge scored a career high 17 points, including 13 in the first half. Woolridge also accounted for a career-high seven field goals made.
Kenny Hall had a career-high three blocked shots and scored in double-figures for the third time in 2011-12.
Renaldo Woolridge made a career-high seven field goals in the win as part of his career-high 17 points.
The Vols outrebounded Asheville by eight in the second half, 24-16, and 37-33 for the game.
Tennessee is now 8-0 all-time against UNC Asheville, winning every game since the series started in 1997.
Cameron Tatum scored in double-figures for the 39th time in his career with 17. He had scored just three points in the last two games combined.
BY JOSH PATE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Cameron Tatum scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and hit two critical 3-pointers late in the game as Tennessee rallied for a 72-68 comeback victory over UNC Asheville Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Renaldo Woolridge matched Tatum with a career-high 17 points behind three 3-pointers that kept Tennessee within striking distance in the first half. Jeronne Maymon added 10 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Vols in which they dropped each contest by eight points or less.
"It helps a lot," Woolridge said of pulling out the close game. "It makes us fight for it more. We definitely had to battle from start to finish. I just think it's a good thing for us because it helps us grow. In the future, we're going to be in situations like this because the SEC has a lot of tough teams. The rest of our season is going to be tough so we just have to know how to battle."
The Vols (4-6) trailed for most of the game until Woolridge and Tatum sparked the comeback. With Tennessee down by 8 points, Woolridge battled for a layup and then gave way to the long ball.
Three consecutive 3-pointers - two by Tatum and one by Skylar McBee - helped transform a 6-point deficit into a 1-point lead for the Vols midway through the second half. Tatum got the scoring under way with a 3-pointer to make it 53-50 Bulldogs with 8:45 to play. Asheville hit a pair of free throws, then McBee responded with another 3 for Tennessee. Tatum hit a third long ball for the Vols that gave them the lead 56-55 with 7:37 remaining.
The two teams traded leads until Maymon pulled down an offensive rebound and fired it out to a wide-open Tatum for another 3-pointer to make it 61-59 Vols. Asheville missed on its end of the floor, then Tatum was fouled and converted a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 63-59 with 4:26 to play.
Asheville (6-5) responded like it did all game as Dickey drained a 3, but the Vols also were ready. Trae Golden scored his first basket of the night with 3:41 remaining. Maymon then got a steal and shipped it up to Kenny Hall for a dunk and a 67-62 lead.
Again, Asheville wasn't finished. The Bulldogs scrapped back and cut it to 2 on a Jeremy Atkinson layup. Then they cut it to just a point when Chris Stephenson made one of his free throws to make it 68-67 Vols with 52 seconds to play with the fans on their feet.
The teams exchanged free throws to make it 69-68 Vols, but then the clock got away from the Bulldogs and they were forced to foul. The Vols made 4-of-6 free throws down the stretch, and the Bulldogs couldn't get their desperation shots to fall as Tennessee sealed the much-needed victory.
"It was a great win for our guys," Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin said. "I knew as a player and coach, when you get consecutive losses you start thinking about them, you're not as crisp with your passes, you're hesitant in everything you do. Our guys did great job for the first time being down and coming back, really getting down and defending."
J.P. Primm led Asheville with 25 points.
The Bulldogs started the game lights-out shooting, going 8-of-9 from the floor. They continued the hot streak for most of the first half, shooting 52 percent going into halftime. Yet Tennessee didn't back down thanks to a late-half run that cut an 11-point Asheville lead to 35-32 at the break.
Asheville cooled off in the second half just when Tennessee heated up. The Vols also took control of the rebounds 37-33 thanks to Maymon's inside presence.
"Jeronne took pride in the second half," Martin said. "He said to himself, `We're going to win this game,' and really started going and getting rebounds."
Maymon, who got into early foul trouble and sat for most of the first half, admitted he had a heart-to-heart with himself.
"I was just more aggressive and said, `I need the ball,'" Maymon said. "I knew that if we were going to win this game, I was going to have to step up in more ways than one so that's what I tried to do and we came out with the win."
The Vols go right back into action Friday when they host East Tennessee State at Thompson-Boling Arena for a 7 p.m. tipoff.