Bench Excels As Tennessee Tops Xavier, 51-47

Sunday, December 30, 2012

KNOXVILLE -- The Vols received major contributions from unlikely sources as Tennessee rallied to knock off Xavier, 51-47, before a season-high 18,504 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday night.

In his collegiate debut, freshman forward Derek Reese made a major impact with seven points including the go-ahead basket midway through the second half to give the Vols the lead they would never relinquish. Bigman Yemi Makanjuola grabbed eight rebounds with six in the second half and drew two huge charges including one with 1:21 left in the game. He played just nine minutes.

Walk-on point guard Brandon Lopez played a career-high 13 minutes and did not turn the ball over as starter Trae Golden (five points, four turnovers) struggled early on.

The Tennessee (8-3) bench outscored Xavier's 21-9. The Vols limited the Muskteers to 32.7 from the floor including just one 3-pointer.

Xavier had 19 turnovers, the most Tennessee has forced under Cuonzo Martin in his two seasons as the head coach of the Vols.

The Vols' scoring chart was led by sophomore Josh Richardson, who had a career-high tying 12 points. Jordan McRae added eight points.

Xavier (7-5) was led by Travis Taylor, who had 12 points. The Muskies' leading scorer Semaj Christon was limited to five points with Richardson guarding him much of the night.

Reese gave the Vols their first lead since 7-6, on a 3-pointer with 8:11 left in the second half, putting UT ahead, 38-35, and they would never trail again. Kenny Hall's layup with 7:17 left extended the lead to 40-36. Stokes powered up for a driving lay-up to continue the Vols' 9-1run with 5:40 left for a 42-36 lead.

As the offense started to click the defense was stifling as the Vols kept the Musketeers without a field goal for a span of 10:16 before Justin Martin scored with 5:20 left in the game, making it 42-38.

Taylor brought Xavier within one on a layup with 2:11 left, 44-43.

Makanajuola drew his second charge with 1:21 left as Christon crashed into the Nigerian native. That led to McRae swooping in for a runner with 51.6 seconds left and a three-point margin, 46-43.

Xavier's last chance to tie the game came on a Christon 3-pointer with with 34 seconds left which was deflected by McRae and corralled by Makanjuola.

Golden finally got on the board with a pair of free throws with 25.7 left, making it 48-43. He rattled home another foul shot with 16.7 remaining to make it 49-45.

XU's Martin missed two free throws with 5.1 seconds left. Taylor hit a jumper with 2.1 left but Golden added two more free throws with 0.4 left and the Vols sealed the win, 51-47.


Down by 10, the Vols used a 10-0 run to tie the game. Richardson's short jumper with 9:48 left deadlocked the game at 33.

The Vols held Xavier scoreless for 6:01 the sixth streak this season of five minutes or more for an opponent. Martin ended the drought with 9:33 left on a pair of free throws.

McRae's layup with 13:35 left in the second half brought the Vols within five at 33-28. Reese's first-career bucket on a 3-pointer with 13 minutes left cut the deficit to two at 33-31.

Xavier opened the second half scoring the first six points to take the largest lead to that point at 31-21 with 17:56 left in the second half.



Tennessee trailed 25-21 at halftime as both teams struggled from the floor in the first half as the Vols shot 36 percent while Xavier made just 31 percent. The Musketeers pounded the Vols on the glass, outrebounding them, 29-16.

Xavier took an eight-point lead at 23-15 on an alley-oop from Dee Davis to Erik Stenger with 3:19 left in the half.

Down by as many as six, the Vols cut the margin to two at 17-15 on Jarnell Stokes' first bucket of the half at the 5:30 mark.

Xavier used a 9-0 run to take a 13-7 lead on the Vols as Isaiah Philmore put home a jumper with 10 minutes left in the first half. The Vols struggled from the floor early on, making just two of their first 10 shots. Tennessee had a scoreless drought lasting nearly five minutes before Richardson drove to the hoop and scored with 8:36 left in the half.

Reese had missed the team's first 10 games following right shoulder surgery. The Orlando, Fla., native played 23 minutes.

The Vols continue their six-game homestand as cross-state rival Memphis on Friday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. That game airs on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Vol Network.

JOHN HUNT: Giving Thanks On Another Beautiful Day

Well, here we are again.   Where has that last year gone in such a hurry? As has been the case in recent years, I’m following in Roy Exum’s footsteps with my many reasons to be thankful. Among other things, I AM THANKFUL that I woke up today without a hangover.   It’s been almost 22 years since and I hope I never forget just how bad that last one was. ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Things I Am Thankful For

As my 64th Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I find myself being thankful for the same things over and over again. My beautiful wife, my two wonderful children, my four fabulous grandchildren, and all my extended family and friends. I have always been thankful for my career; I really wouldn't change much at all. So what's new that I can be thankful for this year? Well, I am very ... (click for more)

Hutcheson Medical Center Trustee Asks Use Of Funds From Clinic Sale To Obtain DISH Funds

The trustee for Hutcheson Medical Center is asking to use proceeds from the sale of the Chickamauga Clinic in order to help obtain Disproportionate Share (DISH) funds from the state of Georgia. Trustee Ronald Glass said, in order to get $1,138,159 in DISH funds, the hospital must transfer $369,333 through the Hospital Authority of Catoosa, Walker and Dade Counties. He noted ... (click for more)

Man, 56, Stabbed At The Corner Of North Market, Frazier Avenue

A 56-year-old man was stabbed at the corner of North Market Street and Frazier Avenue on Wednesday night. Chattanooga Police were advised of the altercation at 7 p.m. Police located a single victim, Danny Henderson, suffering from a stab wound to the abdomen.  T he victim was transported to a local hospital where he received treatment for his injuries. ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Why I Am Thankful, 2015

I can’t really remember when I first started this – sometime in the 1970s – but my favorite column every year comes during Thanksgiving when I literally pause and use my fingers to thank God for all His richest blessings. The year 2015 has been bountiful so here are just a few of the things I will carry in my heart as I take my place at today’s table: I AM THANKFUL that tomorrow, ... (click for more)