Aggies, Vols Hope Rematch Doesn't Take As Long To Decide Winner

Teams Played Four Overtimes Last Season Before Vols Won 93-85

Thursday, January 09, 2014
Junior Rawane "Pops" Ndiaye (10) and freshman Darius Thompson (15) will be in action Saturday when Tennessee hosts Texas A&M in a Southeastern Conference game at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tipoff is set for 6:05 p.m. The Vols won last year's game, 93-85, in four overtimes. It was the longest game in Tennessee history.
Junior Rawane "Pops" Ndiaye (10) and freshman Darius Thompson (15) will be in action Saturday when Tennessee hosts Texas A&M in a Southeastern Conference game at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tipoff is set for 6:05 p.m. The Vols won last year's game, 93-85, in four overtimes. It was the longest game in Tennessee history.
- photo by Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It seemed like last season's Southeastern Conference matchup between Tennessee and Texas A&M would never end. The two teams, playing for the first time as SEC foes, played for 60 minutes -- a four-overtime thriller -- before a winner emerged in College Station, Texas.

It was the longest game in Tennessee basketball history and the Vols eaked out a 93-85 victory.

On Saturday, Texas A&M comes to Knoxville for the rematch.

The Volunteers and Aggies boast identical 10-4 (1-0 SEC) records. Tipoff at Thompson-Boling Arena is set for 6:05 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised regionally on FOX Sports Net.

The Vols ride a four-game win streak into Saturday’s showdown. Despite a few setbacks in pre-conference play, they started league play on a winning note Tuesday at LSU.

“Just to be able to come out and play as well as we did shows a lot about us,” Vols junior Josh Richardson said. “Our first SEC road game, to come out and win it so convincingly, it gives us a lot of confidence.

Richardson was asked what adjustments were made to enable the team to perform so efficiently of late.

“Our defense has been a lot more consistent, and we’ve been putting two halves together. That’s definitely been showing,” Richardson said. “We’ve just been following the game plan, really. Just executing.”

Texas A&M opened SEC play Wednesday night with a home win over Arkansas.

“They’re a fast team. They’re really athletic,” Richardson, a native of Oklahoma, said. “Alex Caruso I know is really athletic. My friend Jordan Green plays for them, and I know he’s a pretty good player. They’re pretty loaded across the board.”

Saturday’s game on Rocky Top will be the Aggies’ first game outside the state of Texas this season.

MARTIN DISCUSSES HUBBS’ SHOULDER INJURY

While meeting with reporters Thursday, Martin talked about the nagging left shoulder injury that has hampered freshman wing Robert Hubbs III this season.

Hubbs’ injury dates to his senior season in high school last winter. He has worn a soft brace during all of UT’s games and practices this season.

He has not played in Tennessee’s last two games, and Martin indicated that Hubbs’ season could end prematurely so that the UT medical staff can address the problem surgically.

Martin said the chances of shutting Hubbs down for the remainder of the season stood at “50-50” and that he will discuss all the potential options with Hubbs’ family before a final decision is made.

“Right now we’re getting all the information that’s necessary – talking with his family and the trainers and doctors and figuring out the best-case scenario moving forward,” Martin said. “The most important thing for me as a coach is Robert’s safety. That’s the bottom line.”

A native of Newbern, Tenn., Hubbs has appeared in 12 contests for the Vols and has averaged 5.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 18.3 minutes off the bench.

“You’re talking about a very talented player and a guy you count on for production,” Martin said. “We know he hasn’t played as well as he’s capable of playing, but he’s a guy who brings a lot to the table. He’s in a brace, so it’s tough to do the things he needs to do to be successful.”

EDWARDS STAYED READY

After scoring a career-high 12 points during Tennessee’s Jan. 4 win over Tusculum College, wing D’Montre Edwards was the first player off UT’s bench in Tuesday’s victory at LSU.

The senior from Charleston, S.C., had totaled just 10 minutes played in three appearances prior to the turning of the calendar. But when his opportunity arose, he was ready to capitalize.

“I was just ready,” Edwards said. “Coach (Martin) texts us all the time individually, telling us to keep your head in the game, stay strong, your time is coming. You never know, so you have to just keep working on your game.”

Within moments of checking into the LSU game Tuesday, Edwards drained a 3-pointer from the right wing. But he knows it will take more than just scoring to maintain a spot in Martin’s rotation.

“I just want to go hard in practice every day,” Edwards said. “Coach will decide come game time (who is going to get minutes that night). As long as I’m able to defend at a high level consistently, then hopefully I can get some more minutes out there.”

A leader in Tennessee’s service projects off the court, Edwards is a nominee for the 2014 Allstate NABC Good Works Team, which honors players for outstanding efforts in community outreach.

EMPHASIS OF THE DAY

Thursday’s “Emphasis of the Day” – daily mid-court talking points spearheaded by Martin prior to each practice – focused on preparedness.

“Toughness” Preparation – everybody has a will to win, but not everybody has a will to prepare to win. Preparation leads to confidence, and in return, it allows you to react quickly under pressure.

STARTING FIVE PACK AVAILABLE FOR HOME SEC GAMES

The Tennessee Ticket Office is offering a “Starting 5 Pack” that allows fans to attend their choice of five SEC home game for just $50.

Fans who take advantage of the promotion can select tickets to the Volunteers’ home conference clashes against Texas A&M (Jan. 11), Auburn (Jan. 15), Arkansas (Jan. 22), Ole Miss (Jan. 29), South Carolina (Feb. 8), Florida (Feb. 11), Georgia (Feb. 18), Vanderbilt (March 1) and Missouri (March 8).

All tickets will be allocated in the 300 level of Thompson-Boling Arena.

To purchase, visit the Tennessee Ticket Office during business hours, log onto www.UTtix.com or call 1-800-332-8657.

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)


Willerson, Georgia Northwestern Ready For 2014 Golf Season

Most second-year college golf programs are too busy laying a foundation to concern themselves too much with results. Jared Willerson isn’t thinking that way. In fact, the head coach of the Georgia Northwestern Bobcats is thinking in complete opposite terms when he talks about his team’s goals for the 2014-2015 season. “I don’t think I’m being unrealistic ... (click for more)

Georgia Northwestern Splits Volleyball Tri-Match At Crown College

Head Coach Carrie Powell and the Georgia Northwestern Lady Bobcats volleyball team traveled to Powell, Tenn. on Saturday for a season-opening tri-match against Alice Lloyd College and host Crown College. The Navy-and-White lost their first match of the day to the home team in heartbreaking fashion, three games to one. GNTC claimed a 25-22 victory in the first set and had their ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Insurance Burden Should Not Fall On The Teachers

I have attended several Hamilton County School Board meetings over the past few months, including the recent special called meeting" to vote on teacher insurance changes. First, let me say I am very impressed with Superintendent Rick Smith and his staff at the Central Office.  Mr. Smith is a very dedicated public servant, working hard to provide services to our community ... (click for more)