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 9, 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)


Mocs Football Picked To Win Socon

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga put a league-high 10 student-athletes on the preseason All-Southern Conference Football Team, picked by the league coaches and released as part of SoCon Media Day.  The Mocs were also the top choice by the coaches and media to win the SoCon title in 2016.  Senior defensive end Keionta Davis is the coaches' selection for SoCon ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Is Whale Watching A Sport?

My wife Shelia and I spent practically the entire month of July on the road; literally. First, the annual Smith family trek to Ponce Inlet, Florida, then a few days after returning from the beach we flew to the other side of the country to board a cruise ship to Alaska. This was my first visit to the "Land of the  Midnight  Sun" and boy was I ever glad I went. While ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Whiskey Company To Construct Large Distillery At Former Site Of Newton Chevrolet

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company has begun construction on a larger production distillery in the former Newton Chevrolet property at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Riverfront Parkway near the Tennessee River. Once fully operational, the Riverfront Parkway facility will be capable of producing upwards of 14 (53-gallon) barrels per day, making it one of the largest craft bourbon ... (click for more)

Beck Upset By Criticism Of Late WWTA Director Cleveland Grimes In WWTA Analysis; Boyd Won't Rewrite 57-Page Report

County Commissioner Greg Beck said it was inappropriate for fellow Commissioner Tim Boyd to include articles critical of the late Cleveland Grimes in a 57-page report on the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority. He said, "Criticizing a dead man - I don't know if that's appropriate. If that's Christianity, let me off the wagon." Saying the report should ... (click for more)

Judge Steelman Was Unfairly Criticized In Handling Of School Bus Driver Rape Case - And Response

We are blessed to have freedom of speech in our society, but I am always amazed at the number of folks who voice such strong antagonistic opinions about things without any apparent first-hand knowledge.   As any who wish to criticize the system should know, people get arrested and charged for criminal offenses every day.  The ultimate charge and penalty which results ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote For Rhonda Thurman

After studying the Hamilton County School Board quite harshly during the last seven most-tumultuous months in its history, it is only proper that I share my belief that Rhonda is its Most Valuable Player. Four of the school board’s nine members are up for re-election, with Rhonda facing capable opponents in Jason Moses and Dr. Patti Skates in District 1, but let’s never forget that ... (click for more)