Aug. 10, 2012
In a game that saw the Volunteers trailing by three at the end of the first quarter, the Tennessee basketball team fought its way to a hard-earned 82-68 triumph over Lithuania's BC Atletas Friday night at Pala Meridien in Monsummano Terme, Italy.
The win gives the Big Orange a 2-0 exhibition record at the midway point of its 10-day, four-game exhibition tour of Italy.
Tennessee sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Junior point guard Trae Golden scored 14 points, and redshirt freshman guard Quinton Chievous added 11. Sophomore center Yemi Makanjuola came off the bench to score five points, grab 13 rebounds and block three shots.
"I thought our guys did a good job making adjustments - especially in the second half," UT head coach Cuonzo Martin said. "We had good spacing and did a good job getting the ball inside. (The physical nature of the game) was great for us. We expect physical play (here in Europe); that's what we wanted. I thought our guys did a good job of being aggressive and really attacking."
The Vols led 70-55 with seven minutes left to play Friday, before guard Sarunas Vingelis caught fire for Atletas. Vingelis scored 10 straight points for his team, including three straight 3-pointers, to make it an eight-point game, 75-67, with two minutes remaining.
But UT freshman guard Armani Moore drained a 3-pointer - his only points of the night - to end all hopes of an Atletas comeback.
Vingelis finished with 26 points to lead the Atletas offensive assault. Atletas won the championship in Lithuania's second division last season and is moving to first-division play this year. Earlier in the week, they posted a 94-90 exhibition win over Georgia - which is also here in Italy on an exhibition tour.
Atletas made 23 of 37 free-throw attempts against UT Friday.
In a game that saw 46 fouls called (33 against Tennessee, 13 against Atletas), Atletas head coach approached one of the officials during the fourth quarter and complained, "This is boxing, not a basketball game."
Tennessee senior forward Rob Murphy was another Vol who provided a lift off the bench Friday. With Stokes in foul trouble late in the game - and returning senior posts Kenny Hall (DNP), Dwight Miller (knee) and Jeronne Maymon (knee) held out of action - Murphy provided four points and three rebounds while coming up with several key defensive stops as well. His offensive rebound and putback at the third-quarter buzzer gave UT a 62-52 lead - and all the momentum - entering the final 10 minutes of play.
"Rob's a guy who has been patiently waiting for his time, and he really did a great job of executing for us tonight." Martin said of the Brentwood, Tenn., native.
Moore, Edwards, Chievous, Stokes and Richardson started for the Vols, who began the day with a guided walking tour of the Accademia Gallery and historic downtown Florence. A highlight of the tour was the opportunity to see Michelangelo's marble sculpture of David, which is housed in the Accademia Gallery and is considered one of Michelangelo's greatest sculpture masterpieces (he was also a painter and architect).
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