KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – North Carolina State blew most of a 17-point lead, but regrouped in the final minutes to defeat Tennessee, 65-58, Wednesday night in non-conference basketball action at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Vols shot miserably the entire game and had no shot at the Wolfpack, who pulled away down the stretch after Tennessee cut the deficit to five points.
Tennessee shot 29 percent from the field, including a paltry 13 percent from 3-point distance (3 of 24) while suffering its second loss in four days. The Vols lost at ranked Wichita State on Saturday.
Jordan McRae led Tennessee (6-4) with 21 points, but the senior from Midway, Ga., wasn’t immune to dismal shooting that plagued the Vols – he made 6 of 22 attempts from the floor, including 3 of 12 behind the 3-point arc.
Jeronne Maymon added 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Maymon got seven points from the free-throw line – he also had a game-high 16 rebounds. Jarnell Stokes, 4 of 10 from the floor, added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
North Carolina State (8-2), which lost to North Carolina Central earlier in the season, got 21 points from T.J. Warren, a sophomore from Durham, N.C. Warren went 8-for-16 from the field and helped the Wolfpack shoot 44 percent (24 of 54), including 3 of 6 on 3s.
The 6-foot-8-inch Warren also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Anthony Barber scored 12 points for the Wolfpack and Desmond Lee added 10.
Tennessee RS Senior Forward Jeronne Maymon
(On the this being a hard loss)
"Hurts a lot, especially losing on your home field. They just came out and played better than us tonight, no excuses."
(On coming out 'flat' as a team)
"We definitely came out slow, you can see that, and we were sluggish. I think we just need to have a better focus coming into the game."
(On the reason behind them being sluggish)
"Honestly, I have no idea. Sometimes it just happens like that. We don't want to be known for that. We had a couple slow starts this season but we have got to have good first halves. We always play good in the second but we've got to have good first halves."
(On what has bothered them the most on the inside)
"Long teams. They tend to pack it in anyways. So it's more difficult for me and Jarnell to finish around the rims and things like that. This team just had way more energy than us on both ends of the floor so that also made it difficult."
(On being able to tell when the team is 'flat' coming out)
"Sometimes. I felt that we were ready, but something was missing but you couldn't put your finger on it so I let stuff like that go. I just keep trying to encourage the team, but sometimes you just don't know."
(On preventing the team from collapsing)
"We've got older guys, there shouldn't be any collapse right now. As a leader, what you do is talk to your teammates individually and see where their heads are at. Talk to the coaches and see where we're going to go from here.
(On frustration with finishing around the basket)
"It's always frustrating when you miss easy ones. As hard as we work to get those balls back, we're a good offensive team, especially me and Jarnell. You're going to miss shots. It is what it is.
(On 3-point shots relieving pressure on the inside)
"It would definitely lighten the load on the inside, but our guards are going to get back into the gym. They aren't the reason we lost this game though. We lost this game because we didn't have energy and NC State was a better team tonight."
Tennessee Senior Guard Jordan McRae
(On the loss)
"It's tough; we just have to find a way to win out there."
(On playing flat)
"Anytime you're down 10-11 points in the opening end of the game it's just going to feel like you're playing flat."
(On how NC state shot)
"They are a good team. Coming out flat against teams and playing from behind against good teams isn't going to work."
(On issues with chemistry)
"I think I have to do a better job of trying to get guys involved. I'm taking a lot of shots right now; it isn't doing anything for us"
(On stepping up and hitting more shots)
"I think I have got to do both. I have got to do a better job of trying to get everyone involved. Like I said I'm taking a lot of shots and we are still losing.
(On shooting good in practice but not games)
"You have to have the same confidence in games as practice."
(On Coach Martin saying they looked slow in first half)
"I can't point anything out other than just say we can't do that"
(On not expecting to be a 4 loss team at this point)
"No we weren't every game we lose is on us as players. I feel like the coaching staff is doing their job. Jerrone and I have got to lead better and not let those guys come out flat"
NC State Head Coach Mark Gottfried
"I thought it was a great team win. I thought our guys played with great poise. We were able to withstand a run there in the second half with confidence. I thought a lot of guys made key plays. We played well defensively, T.J. (Warren) had a couple of big baskets, Dez (Lee) had one there late, we made some great defensive stops. I thought a lot of guys did a lot of nice things to help us win."
(On the team's effort)
"I liked it. I thought the last two days our guys really zeroed in in practice on how we wanted to guard the big guys down in the post, getting weak side help. Other than that stretch to start the second half when they got it in there pretty easily, I thought our guys really executed the way we wanted them to, and that's big for this group. We want them to lock in mentally, learn and then execute. I thought it was great."
(On BeeJay Anya)
"I thought BeeJay did great, he had five blocked shots, he was able to be physical with Stokes down in there, just leaning on him all the time. BeeJay is hard to move, I thought that was big, he played really well for us. There are so many times you look out there and you see freshman, freshman, sophomore, freshman, sophomore. But they've definitely gotten better. We just need to make sure we're building on this moving forward."
(On containing Jordan McRae)
"I thought Desmond Lee, who guarded him most of the game, did a great job. He made him make hard shots, tough shots. He had to earn those, so I thought Desmond did a terrific job guarding him."
(On withstanding the Tennessee run)
"We're up 17 at the half, but you know they're not going to go away. Twenty minutes is a long time. I thought when they made their run, we had poise, we executed when we had to, we made some stops at key times, we were able to withstand it."
NC State ...................... 37 28 - 65
Tennessee ..................... 20 38 - 58
Points in the paint-NCST 36,UT 26.
Points off turnovers-NCST 12,UT 17.
2nd chance points-NCST 16,UT 16.
Fast break points-NCST 8,UT 7.
Bench points-NCST 12,UT 8.
Score tied-0 times. Lead changed-0 times.
Last FG-NCST 2nd-02:12, UT 2nd-00:11.
Largest lead-NCST by 17 1st-00:27, UT None.
ATT -- 14,831
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)