Vols finally step up to end ugly streak
Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 7:03 pm
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Jeronne Maymon did very little for Tennessee in the first half except pick up a couple of fouls. As the second half began, he knew he needed to step up his efforts, and he encouraged his teammates to do the same.
Tennessee erased a 10-point second-half deficit on its way to a 72-68 victory against UNC Asheville on Tuesday night. The win ended a four-game losing skid for the Volunteers.
After sitting out for 15:23 in the first half, Maymon grabbed 12 of his 13 rebounds and scored nine of his 10 points in the second half. The Vols (4-6) got a career-high 17 points from Renaldo Woolridge and another 17 points from Cameron Tatum.
“It was just depressing,” Maymon said. “I couldn’t go out there and help the guys. I saw them playing their hearts out. The second half, I told them, ‘We’ve got to pick it up. (The Bulldogs) are up, and they shouldn’t be.”’
UNC Asheville (6-5) led by as many as 11 points in the first half and was ahead 51-42 with 14:34 to play when they went cold from the floor. The Bulldogs went 5-of-9 from the free-throw line but missed all seven field goal attempts over the next 9:08.
The Volunteers came alive during the stretch, and Tatum sandwiched a pair of 3s around a long-range bucket by Skylar McBee. The third 3-pointer put Tennessee ahead 56-55 with 7:44 to play, its first lead since the game’s opening basket. Another 3 by Tatum with 5:07 to play put the Volunteers ahead for good, and Tennessee hit seven free throws down the stretch to hang on.
“I thought our guys did a great job for the first time of being down and finding a way to win the game and really taking pride in defending,” Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said.
J.P. Primm led UNC Asheville with 25 points. Jeremy Atkinson scored 15 points, and Chris Stephenson added 10.
Kenny Hall scored 12 points for Tennessee. Woolridge, who came off the bench to play 23 minutes, bested his previous career high of 14 points, which he achieved against Kansas on Jan. 10, 2010.
Published in The Messenger 12.21.11