Aug. 8, 2012
ROME - The Tennessee basketball team used an active and aggressive defense and a steady scoring attack to defeat All-Star Italy 83-32 at Arena Altero Felici Wednesday in the first of four exhibition contests during UT's current tour through Italy.
Sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes led the way for the Vols with seven rebounds and a game-high 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting.
Junior point guard Trae Golden was efficient in the victory, totaling 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He added four assists and a steal while committing no turnovers and making two of three shots from 3-point range.
The most daunting obstacle Tennessee faced Wednesday was an uncooperative team bus, which broke down en route to the arena. Players and staff exited the bus and waited on the sidewalk of a nearby intersection until a replacement bus arrived to bring the team to the arena much later than expected.
The host team was gracious enough to give UT ample warm-up time, however, before the Big Orange starting five of Golden, Stokes, Jordan McRae, Skylar McBee and Kenny Hall took to the court for the opening tip.
As expected, the two officials calling the game under FIBA rules were quick to enforce the strict FIBA traveling violation, which calls for the offensive player to clearly establish his dribble on a drive before moving both feet. Both teams fell victims to several early turnovers due to traveling calls.
Tennessee owned a 19-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the Vols' smothering defense seemed to get more effective as time wore on.
In the second quarter, Stokes really began to impose his will on the offensive blocks. By halftime, he had tallied 11 points and finished several plays with dunks.
The Vols led 39-32 entering the second half, and that is when several bench players off the Tennessee bench began to shine.
Junior-college transfer guard D'Montre Edwards began crashing the glass, grabbing six offensive boards on his way to a team-best total of eight rebounds on the night.
Freshman guard Armani Moore displayed a knack for being in the right place in the right time, pulling down two offensive rebounds and converting each into baskets. The Kennesaw, Ga., native finished with six points, four rebounds and two assists.
Sophomore guard Josh Richardson quietly put together a stat line that included 12 points, three rebounds, a steal and four deflections.
Richardson's deflections total mirrored that of versatile redshirt freshman guard Quinton Chievous, who scored all eight of his points in the second half.
Senior guard Skylar McBee drained a pair of 3-pointers for his six points on the night, and sophomore center Yemi Makanjuola totaled six points (all in the second half) to go along with three rebounds.
Hall added four points and a block, while McRae overcame a scoreless first half to finish with eight points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
All-Star Italy was led by post presence M. Pavone's five points. Measuring in around 6-6, 250 lbs, Pavone was a bull down low and provided a good physical test for Stokes and Hall, in particular.
Tennessee departs Rome for Florence Thursday morning, and its next game comes Friday night against Montenegro Selezione in the small city of Montecatini at 2 p.m. ET.
Wednesday's win was the first of four games in eight days for Coach Martin's team over in Italy. For more updates, please follow the Vols at @Vol_Hoops