published Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Tennessee Vols basketball team shines as group

KNOXVILLE -- The Tennessee men's basketball team shared the spoils of an exhibition win about as evenly as possible and gave some of its new parts a test run under the lights in the process.

After a sluggish first half Monday night, the Volunteers settled in and breezed past Victory University 99-57 at Thompson-Boling Arena in the final tuneup before Friday's season opener against Kennesaw State.

All 10 Vols who played scored six to 15 points, and Tennessee recorded 24 assists on 38 made field goals.

"We have an unselfish team," point guard Trae Golden said after scoring eight points with eight assists, five rebounds and no turnovers in 20 minutes. "I feel like everybody wants to pass the ball."

Shooting the ball, though, gave the Vols trouble early. They shot just 41 percent in the first half and led 30-20 against the small Christian school from Memphis. After halftime, though, Tennessee made six of 10 3-pointers and 22 of 36 field-goal tries to pull away, and five newcomers did most of the work.

Second-year coach Cuonzo Martin wanted to give point guard Armani Moore, wing D'Montre Edwards, forward Quinton Chievous and center Yemi Makanjuola plenty of minutes. Starters Golden, Jarnell Stokes (nine points in 11 minutes), Kenny Hall (10 in 19), Josh Richardson (nine in 19) and Skylar McBee (3-of-6 on 3-pointers in 15) rested while the newcomers got their feet wet.

"We all played together in Italy," Chievous said of the August exhibition trip. "All the newcomers got a chance to show what they had to do, and everyone got a feel for each other overseas. With all the practicing we've been doing, I feel like everyone's got a feel for what people like."

A 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman who's playing as an undersized forward with Jeronne Maymon (knee) out for an unknown amount of time, Chievous stuffed the box score with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two 3s and three steals.

"If you love to play basketball, you can play any position," he said. "Coach Martin, he told me that if I really wanted to play, it didn't matter what position I was going to play. I just took that into consideration, and I feel like at end of the day, whether my team needs me to play the 1 or the 5, I'm going to do whatever it takes."

Makanjuola, a 6-9 sophomore, had six points and four rebounds, freshman Moore scored 11 points and ran the offense efficiently and junior college transfer Edwards scored seven points on 10 shots.

Chievous said he wasn't nervous after waiting a year to make his home-floor debut and played that way in his team-high 32 minutes.

"I thought he was very assertive and played with a lot of energy," Martin said. "Even though he's a guard, he plays at the 4 position, and with the way he shoots the ball, we have an advantage offensively. He can make shots, but he battles guys.

"He's crashing so hard, it's hard to keep him off that glass, even [for] big guys. He can make shots, and he plays hard, so he'll always have an opportunity to play and be in games because he does those two things. That's how he plays all the time."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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