PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Tennessee took an early lead and cruised to an 82-63 victory over Wake Forest in the fifth-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Saturday afternoon.
The Vols (5-2) were led by junior Jarnell Stokes, who posted his third double-double in as many games in the Bahamas with a season-high 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Freshman guard Darius Thompson scored a career-high16 points, his first game in double-figures. He finished the night a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line.
Wake Forest (6-2) suffered its second loss of the season. The Demon Deacons were led by guard Codi Miller-McIntyre, who scored 17 points.
Tennessee jumped out to a 43-32 lead at halftime behind hot shooting. Stokes led all scorers with 12 points and Thompson added 11 in the half, more than he had scored in any full game this season.
With the Demon Deacons up 10-8 less than five minutes into the game, Tennessee went on to a 14-2 run keyed by Thompson. The freshman guard had seven points in the spurt that put the Vols ahead 22-12 with 10:54 left in the first half.
The Vols shot a sharp 54 percent from the floor in the first half including a perfect 3-of-3 from senior Jeronne Maymon.
Shooting remained solid in the second half as Tennessee continued pulling away from Wake Forest. The Vols eventually extended the lead to 28 points with 7:25 left in game on a three-point play by Thompson.
For the game, the Vols shot 25 of 47 from the floor (53.2 percent) and 28 of 36 from the free throw line (77.8 percent). Stokes and Thompson made nine free throws each.
Senior Jordan McRae joined Stokes and Thompson in double-digit scoring. He finished with 10 points. Maymon had nine points on 4-for-4 shooting from the floor and six rebounds.
The Vols did a great job with the basketball, committing just eight turnovers in the game, including only one in the first half. Wake Forest had nine turnovers and shot just 42 percent from the field (21-of-50).
It was the first game between Tennessee and Wake Forest since Dec. 8, 1970.
The Vols finished the Battle 4 Atlantis with a 2-1 record through three games. They lost to UTEP in the opener but defeated Xavier the next day.
The Vols return home to host Tennessee Tech on Saturday at noon Eastern.
Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin
"One thing we talk about every night is that we have to have discipline on both ends of the court and try to execute the offense the last two games. We just need to finish strong and play the way a good Tennessee team should play, a 'Tougher Breed' kind of team. We have to do that on both ends of the floor."
(on quick start in the last two games)
"That's the thing we talk about with the guys. We have to have energy out of the gates on offense, have spacing. Even though Jordan (McRae) is our leading scorer, we have to inside to Jarnell (Stokes) and Jeronne (Maymon) because we flow better. When those guys are making their layups and free throws, we're a tough team to defend."
(on Stokes and Maymon's last two games)
"The thing I talked to those guys about after the first game is that I thought we played bad as a team on both ends of the floor. I think I've talked to those guys about if you get your shot blocked 10 times or miss 10 layups, you've still got to be aggressive. They've got to use the glass or get their jump hooks to the middle floor. The last two games, they did. They went to the middle floor and made their jump hooks or they used the glass. They did a very effective job of that the last two games."
(on defense's performance)
"With the new rule changes, I think a lot of teams get caught up in the rule, how's they're officiating the game. I think some of our guys were playing in the first half not to get in foul trouble. Very passive. Even in some of our home games. I told our guys if I don't see them defending at a high level, I'm taking them out of the game, whether you foul or not. You've got to be defensive and defend at a high level. We can't be concerned with this new rule. We have to play basketball and allow the officials to do their job."
(on Stokes' passing ability)
"The great thing about Jarnell is that he doesn't mind passing. He's not a selfish player. He doesn't mind giving you the ball. As a guard, I'm giving him the ball every time because more times than not, he demands the double team and he's willing to pass the ball out."
(on keeping turnovers low)
"One of our goals as a team is to be under 10 turnovers a game. I'm not sure what our number is for the season, but under 10 gives us a chance to win. We had one in the first half but got a little careless at the end of the game."
(on Thompson's game)
"He scored the ball in high school, but he's a passer. He's a point guard. He's willing to pass. Our guys know he can pass the ball, feed the bigs, but he need him to be a more assertive scorer. Even when we're playing at home, I tell him you've got to look to score. Then when he's making his free throws like that -- he wasn't shooting them that well in earlier in the year, even in practice. When he's making his free throws, I think he's more confident and tougher to defend."
(on Hubbs' game)
"Robert can score the ball, it's all a matter of finding your way and getting a feel for it. I just want to see him defend at a high level. I think that's the biggest key for his game. He has the offense. Whatever else we can learn and do in practice, the skill stuff, it's just a matter of time before that explodes. We need him defending at a high level."
Tennessee Freshman Guard Darius Thompson
(on career high scoring night)
"I just came in looking for my shot and looking to be more aggressive to score. It just came to me. Then I started getting fouled, and I knocked down my free throws. We practice it every day. I just came and took it into the game today."
(on UT freshman success in the game)
"It felt good, especially with all our freshmen coming in and doing good. We're with each other every day. Coach just talks to us every day about needing to develop a bench of people coming in and continuing to keep up the pace. We just did a good job at it today."
(on Tennessee's defense)
"Our scouting report says that's what we couldn't let them get in a rhythm and to keep them uncomfortable. That's what we did today."
(on Jarnell Stokes' day)
"He was dominant today. We've just got to keep feeding him the ball, and he's going to score."
(on ending tournament on a high note)
"I feel like when we came on the trip and in the UTEP game, we just didn't play a good game. We had to come back against Xavier. We'd played them before, so we had a good feeling about them. Then we just tried to continue it on when we played Wake Forest today."
(on lot of minutes for UT's three freshmen -- Thompson, Hubbs III, Davis)
"It's just big. It just shows we're working hard every day to be productive and help our team out."
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)