Dec. 29, 2011
Scored 18 consecutive UT points in the second half on the way to first-career double-double and career-highs with 18 points and 11 rebounds, all 11 minutes of second-half action.
3: Three Vols scored their first-career points with Tennessee in the win: Galen Campbell, Ryan Kilmartin and Rob Murphy.
13: 13 different Vols scored in the win, a season-high including four in double figures.
18: Yemi Makanjuola scored 18 consecutive points for the Vols in the second half over a span of 8:43.
31: The Vols had a season-high win margin of +31, besting the +29 vs. UNC Greensboro in the opener (92-63).
39.3: Tennessee held The Citadel to just 39.3 from the floor, the second-best defensive effort to allowing Chaminade to 34.9 on 11/23/11.
BY JOSH PATE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Yemi Makanjuola notched his first career double-double with a late-game scoring barrage to cap off Tennessee's 86-55 victory over The Citadel Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Makanjuola came into the game late with Tennessee in full control, but he proved his worth scoring all 18 of his points in a row and grabbing 11 rebounds - both career-highs - in just 11 minutes of action in the second half.
Coming into the game, Makanjuola had scored 18 points in 11 career college games.
"I'm not surprised," Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin said of Makanjuola's performance. "I knew eventually it would come at some point. He puts the work in at practice. He's really started to assert himself. He's a defender and rebounder first, but he's really improved his offense."
Makanjuola began his string of points with 10:49 left to play in the game with a putback rebound to make it 62-38 Vols. Over the next 8:43, the Nigerian-born freshman went to work in the paint and was unstoppable. He capped off his run with a three-point play and another layup in the paint to make it 78-48 Vols with 2:31 remaining.
Dwight Miller's dunk on Tennessee's next possession snapped the string by Makanjuola, which had fans on their feet. When Makanjuola came out of the game with 1:21 to play, the Tennessee faithful rewarded him with a standing ovation and the UT bench offered congratulations.
"I just think you're happy for a guy who puts the work in," Martin said of Makanjuola. "He cares about his teammates and I think that's why you see them support him."
Makanjuola shot 7-of-9 from the floor, with most of his points coming from inside the paint on offensive putbacks. Seven of his 11 boards were on the offensive end of the floor.
"I just tried to get the rebound and make my play from there," Makanjuola said. "That's kind of been something that I've had some work on. Since I've been here, my coaches have helped me with it."
The Citadel head coach Chuck Driesell admitted his squad wasn't prepared for such an outburst from the Tennessee bench.
"The guy coming off the bench killed us; we did not expect that," Driesell said. "We knew he was strong and big and could score around the rim, but we were hoping to keep him out of the paint. He did a heck of a job and it really hurt us."
Tennessee (6-6) had three other players score in double figures, led by Skylar McBee's 12 points off four 3-pointers. Renaldo Woolridge continued his stretch of solid performances with 10 points. Trae Golden also added 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.
The Citadel (2-10) was led by Mike Groselle's 21 points.
With the Vols leading 16-14 with 9:23 left in the first half, McBee nailed consecutive long balls over the Bulldogs' zone defense to get the Vols into a 15-3 run that turned a close game into a runaway.
Tennessee pulled away in the second half by continuing its hot shooting.
The Vols shot a scorching 59.3 percent from the floor in the first half and finished at 55.9 for the game, making 9-of-22 from 3-point range and outscoring the Bulldogs 42-22 in the paint. The Citadel shot 39.3 percent from the floor.
"This was a good team win tonight," Martin said, noting his team outscored the Bulldogs 50-12 in bench points. "I thought guys did a good job, probably the best game I've seen them play all season on both ends of floor for two halves."
Tennessee finishes its four-game homestand when it hosts Chattanooga on Monday at 7 p.m. ET (TV: SportsSouth) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Wrapping up 2011 with their biggest margin of victory of the season was a positive for Martin's Vols after six consecutive games decided by 8 points or less.
"I certainly think we're making progress," Martin said. "I think the guys are getting better. You see it in practice. One thing the guys have done whether it's wins or losses, the guys have come back and worked in practice."