Basketball Vols look to continue building momentum

Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) @VOL_HOOPS REPORT: Stokes Building Momentum
After three games in the Bahamas last week, the Tennessee basketball team (5-2) returns to the friendly confines of Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday when it hosts intrastate foe Tennessee Tech at noon ET (FOX Sports Net, ESPN3).

Tickets for Saturday’s game can be purchased in person at the UT Ticket Office, via phone by calling 1-800-332-8657 or online at www.UTtix.com.

Junior forward Jarnell Stokes has recorded double-doubles in each of UT’s last three games, as he averaged 18.0 points and 11.3 rebounds in Tennessee’s three games at last week’s Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

The Vols turned in a fifth-place finish at the event, which took place at Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas. Tennessee fell to UTEP in the opening round before posting convincing victories over Xavier and Wake Forest.

“If Jarnell and Jeronne (Maymon) are scoring around the rim and making free throws, we’re a tough team to beat because the offense flows better,” Vols head coach Cuonzo Martin said of his powerful frontcourt tandem. “Those guys have to have the ball in their hands. When those guys are scoring and rebounding the ball – I think we’re fourth in the country in offensive rebounding percentage – they’re impacting the game, and we have success.”

Stokes said his focus against UTEP was on his rebounding and defense. But that mindset changed for the tournament’s final two games.

“(After that UTEP game) I really made up my mind that I was going to score the ball and take the shots the defense gave me,” Stokes said. “It worked out well. I felt we came together as a team those next two games.”

Despite being the only player in the eight-team field to post a double-double in all three of his team’s games, Stokes was somewhat curiously left off the five-man All-Tournament Team.

Stokes now has four double-doubles this season and a total of 22 during his 57-game collegiate career.

He averaged a double-double in Southeastern Conference play last season – the only returning player from a “major” Division I conference who did so.

REST FOR MAYMON
After giving the Vols the day off Monday, Martin gave Maymon an additional day of rest Tuesday. Maymon did attend Tuesday’s workout; he spent the two-hour practice in the training room doing maintenance treatment and rehab with associate director of sports medicine Chad Newman and then lifted weights with his teammates following the on-court portion of the day’s workout.

Maymon missed all of last season with a knee injury, which makes limiting the pounding Maymon’s body takes during the five-month-long season appear to be a prudent decision by Martin.

Through seven contests this season, Maymon has performed well. The preseason All-SEC honoree averages 9.6 points (third on the team) and 7.7 rebounds (second on the team) per game. He is averaging 24.6 minutes and has been a factor on the offensive glass, pulling down 3.4 .offensive rebounds per game.

The senior’s .523 field-goal percentage is the highest on the team.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE TECH
Tennessee Tech is off to a 5-4 start this season under third-year head coach Steve Payne, and they play at Lipscomb Thursday night before traveling to Knoxville for Saturday’s noon ET tilt.

Junior guard Ty Allen averages 12.0 points per game for the Golden Eagles, and junior center Dwan Caldwell averages 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

The Volunteers lead the all-time series with TTU 20-1, dating to 1939. All but one of the previous meetings have taken place in Knoxville. The teams last met on Dec. 28, 2006 (UT won, 101-77).

Saturday’s clash is the first of just five December games for the Vols. Four of those contests take place at Thompson-Boling Arena. The lone road game is a trip to face 11th-ranked Wichita State Dec. 14.

Saturday’s contest also marks the second of five games Tennessee will play against in-state teams this season. The Vols have already defeated Tennessee State and are riding a three-game win streak over in-state opposition, dating to last season.

Tennessee Tech assistant coach Brian Kloman has ties to the Vols’ program. He graduated from Tennessee in 2002 and is the son of former UT assistant coach Chris Ferguson (1997-05), who is now an assistant coach at Oklahoma State.

Tennessee is 49-2 all-time against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference.

VOLS EARN CONSECUTIVE WEEKLY HONORS FROM TSWA
Tennessee players have claimed back-to-back men’s basketball Player of the Week honors from the Tennessee Sportswriters Association (TSWA).

Jordan McRae was named the TSWA Player of the Week on Nov. 25, and Jarnell Stokes claimed the honor this week after posting three double-doubles in three days at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

McRae and Stokes are each official “watch list” candidates for the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy.

WADE AND ALLAN HOUSTON TO BE HONORED LOCALLY MONDAY
Former Tennessee head coach Wade Houston and his son, Vols and NBA legend Allan Houston, will be honored Monday at a grand opening and dedication ceremony for the new “Wade and Allan Houston Court” at Knoxville Christian School.

The ceremony will take place from 12:30-1:30 p.m., and both Wade and Allan Houston are scheduled to attend. The public is invited.

“The Houston family are some of the most special people you’ll ever meet,” KCS Board of Directors Chairman Richard Komistek told WBIR-TV at the facility’s groundbreaking in March. “We’re so fortunate here at KCS to have the Houston name associated with Knoxville Christian School, and we just feel very, very blessed for the future and the vision of where we’re going.”

Wade Houston, a native of Alcoa, Tenn., was Tennessee’s head coach for five seasons from 1990-94.

Allan starred for the Vols from 1990-93 and became the program’s all-time leading scorer (2,801 points) before embarking on a successful, 12-year playing career in the NBA. He now serves as the assistant general manager of the New York Knicks.

Allan Houston’s No. 20 jersey was retired by Tennessee on March 6, 2011.


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