KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee picked up another impressive victory as the Vols ended Mississippi’s four-game win streak with a 86-70 victory on Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Senior Jordan McRae tallied 26 points as the Vols posted their sixth wire-to-wire win of the season.
Tennessee improved to 13-7 overall and 4-3 in the SEC.
The Rebels fell to 14-6 and 5-2 in the league.
In addition to McRae, three other Vols scored in double-figures including Jarnell Stokes with his 11th double-double of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Josh Richardson and Jeronne Maymon each tallied 16 points.
Richardson was key to the team's success all game on both offense and defense. From his alley pop dunk to his dispsy-do underhanded sweeping layup to an emphatic blocked shot off the backboard, Richardson was ubiquitous.
Marshall Henderson scored all 26 of his points in the game's final 27 minutes after suffering an injury 32 seconds into the game to lead the Rebels. Jarvis Summers added 16 for Ole Miss.
The Vols dominated the glass, out rebounding Ole Miss, 45-27. UT shot 49.2 percent (30-of-61) from the floor and knocked down a season-tying high of 11 3-pointers on 20 attempts.
Tennessee played with high energy on both ends of the floor. The Vols built a lead as large as 19 points in the first half and maintained an advantage of at least five points for the remainder of the game.
After the Rebels' LaDarius White knocked down a 3-pointer with 14 minutes left in the game to cut the deficit to five, Tennessee's offense found its stride again. The Vols went on an 18-4 run to regain a comfortable advantage at 68-51 with 8:35 on the clock.
McRae canned a pair of 3-pointers while Maymon scored eight in the spurt that proved to the final knockout blow for the Vols.
The lead expanded to 20 points on a jumper by Stokes with three minutes left.
The Vols came out hot and led by double-figures for the final 12 minutes the first half on the way to a 41-29 lead at intermission. McRae knocked down a fade-away jumper as the half expired for his 11th and 12th points of the stanza.
After going down in the first minute, Henderson returned to action and made three of his final four 3-point attempts to tally 12 points in the first half.
Tennessee jumped out to a 13-4 lead thanks to some hot shooting from downtown as the Vols made three 3-pointers in the game's first three minutes.
The Vols return to action on Saturday as they head to Alabama to face the Crimson Tide at 9 p.m. That game will air on ESPN2 and can be heard on the Vol Network.
Tennessee 86, Mississippi 70
Mississippi (14-6, 5-2)
White 2-7 0-0 5, Saiz 2-3 0-0 4, Henderson 9-22 0-0 26, Summers 6-11 3-4 16, Jones 1-4 0-0 2, Millinghaus 1-4 0-0 2, Cox 0-3 0-0 0, Perez 1-5 5-7 7, Coleby 2-2 0-1 4, Joesaar 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 26-63 8-12 70
Tennessee (13-7, 4-3)
Richardson 6-11 909 16, Stokes 4-8 5-7 13, Thompson 2-5 2-2 7, Maymon 7-9 2-2 16, McRae 9-20 2-2 26, Barton 1-5 2-2 4, Moore 0-0 2-2 2, Ndiaye 0-1 0-0 0, Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Reese 0-0 0-0 0, Edwards 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 30-61 15-17
Halftime – Tennessee 41, Mississippi 29.
3-Point Goals – Mississippi 10-28 (White 2-7, Henderson 8-19, Summers 1-2, Jones 0-1, Millinghaus 0-1, Perez 0-3), Tennessee 11-20 (Richardson 4-7, Thompson 1-3, McRae 6-7, Barton 0-3).
Fouled Out – None
Rebounds – Mississippi 27 (Jones 5), Tennessee 45 (Stokes 14)
Assists – Mississippi 11 (Summers 5), Tennessee 20 (Thompson 7)
Total Fouls – Mississippi 17, Tennessee 15
A -- 14,341
Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin
"Great energy from our guys. First, before I get started, I'd like to thank our fans. Tough weather, and thought they did a great job showing up first and foremost showing great energy and passion. I think our guys really fed of that. Fun game to be apart of but I thought our guys really played with energy and passion from start to finish. Made shots, made plays, made 3-pointers.
"Did a great job in my opinion against the 2-3 and 1-3 zone and I guess that's because we spent so much time doing it in practice. I thought our guys did a great job. I thought Jordan settled down in the second half. Early I thought he was shooting leaners and floaters and didn't like the flow of the game. I just had to go tell him go straight up and down, shoot the ball, catch and shoot the three because I thought he passed up on opportunities early in the second half on three-point shots trying to drive the ball but you've got to take what the defense gives you.
"Bigs did well again, they played well, battled around the rim. Kept their bigs at bay so they couldn't get to the corner sometimes and allow us to get shots. I thought Darius did a good job starting at that position pass faking and finding guys slipping to the basket, pushing in transition and again a great team effort."
(On the biggest difference in the team between Florida and now)
"Again, upset about the loss against Florida and how many lose by missing that wasn't a big concern. We lost the game. Whether you win by one or fifty you lose a game. So it wasn't so much as losing the game of course you want to win but I know our guys can make shots and they spend a lot of time shooting the ball. Like I said before, sometimes you have to give credit where it's due and I thought Florida had a lot to do with whatever took place Saturday. They play with energy, passion, and toughness from start to finish.
"They're kind of like what we did tonight on both ends of the floor so it wasn't a case I don't think that our guys couldn't make 3-point shots. I was asked a question earlier we were last maybe in the league in 3-point shots, something like that, and I never even bothered to look at the stat. It wasn't an issue for me when the guys I have shoot the ball. I think the biggest difference was that we came out and played, had good energy, made shots, and made plays."
(On defending Marshal Henderson early in the game)
"I thought Jordan did a better job than Josh. And Josh was okay, he contested when he was on him. If he made eight I think three of them were really contested and tough but I thought Josh got a little loose on standing straight up because when he takes you up and you get hit with that back screen you can't recover on the other side. I thought Josh when we'd be taking the ball out in the second half he made a three then another play he made a three I thought Josh was standing straight up. You have to be down on him you have to be down on his numbers and force him to make tough shots, but I thought Jordan did a better job. That's why I kept Jordan on him when Josh came in at the end of the game."
(On what was said to the team when Henderson started shooting well)
"At the half I said, 'This guy makes shoots. I mean he's one of the few guys, probably the only guy in this league in my opinion, that you can't fall asleep on down fifteen, down twenty because he shoots them deep at anytime He doesn't need a lot of play calls, he made two of them as he crossed the half court line. He's one of those guys that it doesn't matter what the lead is."
(On Darius Thompson)
"I thought he did good, I just told him he has to continue to improve defensively, moving his feet, staying in his stance from start to finish. That position is a tough position at the point guard. You are going against Jarvis Summers and Saturday you have Trevor Releford, so it doesn't get any easier at that position. I thought he did a solid job. But a guy that spends a lot of time in the gym getting better."
(On the difference of the game at Florida and tonight with making shots)
"I really don't. I tell the guys I hang my hat on playing hard, playing defense, and rebounding because you never know when the shots are going to fall. But if you consume yourself with those thing now you are not focused on whether or not your shots are falling. I thought that affected Jordan (McRae) at Florida, his shots didn't fall and he didn't bring anything else to the table. If that is all you are consumed with then it is hard to be successful.
"I think one of our coaches sent our guys a stat of Craig Sword at Mississippi State, he was 0-for-7 from the field but I think he had 15 points, he went to the free throw line maybe 13/14 times and he got 7 or 8 rebounds. You have to impact the game. So again, as long as they are working on shots and I see it in practice and they are getting better, then I am fine with that. I am not just talking about the team practices, but the also the individual skill work. I am not upset about it, it is just about our time."
(On Jordan McRae and Josh Richardson' 3-point shooting)
"I think it helps with any shooter. I hope one day they get the mentality of [Marshall] Henderson- shoot it every time. If that's what you do, then do it. I respect the fact that every time down, he's a threat. It doesn't matter, whatever happened with his last shot, he's a threat to score. I like that about him. That's how you have to be as a ball player and a scorer- every time down you have to be a threat."
(On Marshall Henderson's shooting)
"I don't know. I don't know, because again, he's a threat. That's what he does. He makes them big and he keeps guys in games and you have to identify him on the floor. I like him."
(On Ole Miss narrowing the point margin)
"Just lock in- do what we need to do. I think I might have mentioned something to Josh [Richardson] because I thought he was a little too loose in defending him, but other than that, not really, guys let's get the ball. There's not a lot of players you can run against the one-three-one. In Jordan's [McRae] case, he shot three shots- they were leaners, they were floaters. I thought he had opportunities to catch and shoot the three. If a three is there you have to take it, because Jarnell and those guys- they're hovering around Jeronne [Maymon] and Jarnell [Stokes]. They're not leaving them and he's floating in- just shoot the ball and he did.
(On pushing the ball forward)
"You have to push, especially when it gets to the zone- try and get the ball up the sidelines as fast as you can so they can't set up and I thought we did a good job with that. It just depends when the turnovers are mounting or depends on who's pushing or how we're pushing. We're not just going to come down and let the ball fly all across the court. You have to take care of the basketball."
(On Jeronne Maymon)
"We talked about it as a staff. I thought he did a good job. In my opinion, he took a charge out there. I thought he played well. I thought he kept his composure- battled. Like Jeronne [Maymon] told him late in the game- just catch and shoot and go up. He was holding it too long around the rim, allowing that double team to come, but in the later part of the game, he started catching it and making his moves."
(On responding after a road loss)
"Without a doubt, but for me, when you're talking 18 games in a season, many league play, you have to get over it as fast as you can. Whether you win by one point at the buzzer or lose it, you have to soak it in, embrace it, learn from it and keep moving, but you can't sulk over it two or three days, so now you're not able to bounce back from this one. I try to clean it up as fast as I can and keep moving."
(On official play calling)
"One guy came over, said your big guy did a good job and he did. I said we need that call, because he may never take one again, so I need you guys to make that call. He did a good job."
(On second half play)
"Settle down. I thought, the turnovers we had- I think Jordan [McRae] had two in the first half, but just rushing it, hit the baseline, he traveled a couple times- just take what the defense gives you. You have opportunities. In the zone, you see where the ball is, you identify your guys, pass fake, make plays. In a one-three-one you have your opportunities to score, but you don't need to force anything."
(On following up a victory)
"Just play hard. Play hard, defend and rebound and everything else just kind of falls in line. Again, you never know how your shots will go, so you can't hang your hat on that. I think some of our guys hung their hat on whether or not their shot would fall in Florida. You saw the result. You have to play hard. You have to defend. You have to rebound. I think we'll see a lot of the zone again on Saturday."
(On what he did following his performance in Florida)
"I came back home the next morning. I've been working out in the morning. I've been normally working out after and before practice. I've been coming in the morning before practice. The most important thing was we lost but just more or less the feeling like I didn't help my team that night. I could have played defense better, I could have rebounded better. There are ways to effect the game without scoring but nights like that when you're the shooter - it's going to happen."
"I try to help my team more times than not. Like I said, Florida nights happen but my coaches and my teammates kept telling me to shoot. They texted me `keep shooting, we're fine'. It's all good."
(On when he felt comfortable today)
"Jeronne [Maymon] got after me one time and told me to keep shooting. You really don't want a problem with Jeronne."
(On going head to head with Marshall Henderson)
"It's always fun. Marshall will talk so it wouldn't be a game if me and Marshall didn't talk to each other. It's always fun."
(On defending Henderson)
"I just try to chase my screens. It's tough guarding him the last two years just chasing him around. I don't know what it is about Ole Miss but they've got the best screeners in America."
(On if the win was a good response to the Florida loss)
"Like I said, trying to get wins after a road loss - after any loss - trying to get wins especially in the SEC, every night is going to be a good game no matter who we play so we're just trying to take this win and move on to the next one."
(On freshman Darius Thompson)
"Between him and [Anthony Barton] if they're starting or not starting you can't really tell [a difference]. They're both great players for us. They push the ball well so having them out there is good for us."
(On facing Ole Miss guard Jarvis Summers)
"Yea it felt great going out there and playing against him."
"I really wasn't worried about it. Just go out there and be confident and I just played well."
(On keeping their lead in the second half)
"I feel like we were more focused as a team tonight and we just huddled up together and didn't let things get to us and we just fought through."
(On Alabama guard Trevor Releford)
"I'm really looking forward to that matchup."
(On when he was told he was starting)
"Yesterday in practice. We did orange and white and usually the orange team is the starters and they put me on the orange team."
(On being a freshmen)
"I don't think about that at all. Freshmen to seniors, we're just all playing basketball."
(On the tempo of the games now)
"Yea every game, I feel like every game you have to go out there and fight hard. The games are more intense now in SEC play."
(On adjusting to college basketball)
"The biggest adjustment for me - physicality and just basically being more aggressive on offense and defense. Looking more to shoot and getting gaps and finding my teammates."
(On if he felt more aggressive tonight)
"I felt like tonight I was a lot more aggressive and actually looking to score and find my shots and try to shoot them."
Ole Miss Head Coach Andy Kennedy
"They shot it awfully well. Obviously, coming off of a poor outing at Florida where they really struggled and McRae goes 1-15, we knew that we were catching a dangerous animal tonight, that their backs were against the wall a little bit early in the season, based on their performance. Great players typically don't have back-to-back bad games and he's a great player. I thought he came out and set the tone early. We lost him a little bit in scouting and he made some shots, then he started making some hard ones. You start helping up and those big bodies really hurt you inside. The key to the game for us, we had to do a decent job on the glass, we had to hold our own and they dominated us on the glass. When we did get initial stops, they killed us getting hose boards."
(On the play of Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers)
"We didn't get a lot of production from anyone other than those two. You know Marshall was a volume guy tonight, but he made a few and kept us in it. Jarvis got in some early foul trouble and that took away from his aggressiveness. Those two guys have been pretty steady for us, we obviously have to get contributions from others, and that's really what's allowed us to get off to a 5-1 start, we were getting contributions from other people. Tonight, that's wasn't the case."
(On if Sebastian Saiz' struggles were a result of matchups or positioning)
"I think both, he's a freshman in a hostile environment against a big, physical front line. He plays 24 minutes and gets one defensive rebound. He wasn't doing the things that he needed to do, but that's our fault for having to depend on a true freshman at this stage of his career."
(On Henderson's early injury)
"On the initial shot or pass or whatever it was, he got a knee to the hip and he just had to work through it. It kept stiffening up throughout the game, but it didn't hurt his wrist, he still was 22."
(On making a run at the start of the second half)
"We came out and knew we hadn't played very well in the first half and made some shots, and the first three misses they had we got some clean defensive rebounds. Then they started hurting us again on second-chance points. You give up 14 offensive rebounds, we get outrebounded by 18, they shoot 50 percent, you're not going to have success on the road, especially against a talented team like Tennessee."
(On Tennessee's Jordan McRae)
"I think he's really good, I think he's a player of the year candidate. He's playing with a lot of confidence, he's making jump shots, he's 6-7 from three point range, he was really shooting it well. When he makes shots like that, because he's so long and wiry, he has the ability to slide through traffic, then they have those big bodies in there to set screens for him, he's a very difficult match up.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com)