Tennessee basketball’s third game of the season on Monday night quickly turned into a pick-up game feel.
After jumping out to a 24-9 lead early on the Citadel, Tennessee easily cruised to a 86-60 victory Monday night in Thompson Boling Arena.
For the first time this season the Vols weren’t left trying to come from behind. In fact, they never trailed once for the first time this season as well. They came out and set the pace early, and never looked back from there.
Jordan McRae again led Tennessee in scoring, as he has done all year, with 20 points. Although, the more impressive performance may have again come from Memphis transfer Antonio Barton, who finished with 13 points by hitting five of his seven shots from the field, and three-out-of-four from beyond the arc.
During the blowout both Jarnell Stokes, and Jeronne Maymon had a little less of a role in the game. The two combined to finish with 16 points and nine rebounds. Stokes saw 21 minutes of playing time, while Maymon only saw the floor for 16 minutes of the game.
Once the Vols had enough of a cushion of a lead the game seemed to turn into playground basketball. Tennessee’s players began attempting high flying dunk after high flying dunk, with some spectacular alley-oops towards the end of the game to put on a show for the 13,000 fans in attendance.
With less than five minutes to go freshman point guard Darius Thompson connected with freshman shooting guard Robert Hubbs III from near mid-court on for an alley-oop, then just a few trips later Thompson broke away on a stolen pass which he finished at the rim with a dunk of his own.
As the crowd exploded in cheers and excitement, the Tennessee bench filled with starters who had already finished their time in the game joined in with the crowd.
By the time coach Cuonzo Martin cleared his bench, allowing everyone to play, all but two Vols ended the night with points on their stat line, and all but four players saw double-digit minutes on the court.
Tennessee will have the next three days to rest a little, after playing two games in just three days, before they welcome Tennessee State on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Net.
Friday night’s game will be the final game in the U.S. before the Vols head south to Paradise Island in the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Tennessee will take on UTEP in day one of the tournament on Thanksgiving Day. The entire tournament will be broadcast on NBC Sports Net.