UT gives ’Cats scare in loss
Posted: Monday, January 16, 2012 7:00 pm
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin couldn’t resist a chance to break out the Volunteers’ newest weapon against their most bitter rival.
Highly touted forward Jarnell Stokes, who graduated from high school a semester early, made his collegiate debut against No. 2 Kentucky five days after participating in his first practice with the Vols. Stokes proved tough for the Wildcats to defend but wasn’t enough to keep Tennessee from losing 65-62 on Saturday.
“I think it was really him being hungry to play, and I thought the time was right to put him in,” Martin said. “I just told him, ‘If there’s one guy, shoot the ball. If there’s two guys, a double-team, pass the ball. If it’s one-on-one, make plays.”’
Stokes finished 4-of-5 from the field and had nine points and four rebounds in 17 minutes. With Stokes joining Jeronne Maymon and Kenny Hall on the blocks, Tennessee took its chances by running right at the nation’s leading shot-blocking team and locking down the lane on defense.
Maymon converted a three-point play with 3:09 in the first half, and he and Cameron Tatum hit 3-of-4 from the free throw line over a 30-second stretch. Stokes drew a charge by Marquis Teague, which infuriated Kentucky coach John Calipari, who was tagged with a technical foul arguing the call.
Tatum hit one of the free throws awarded to Tennessee, who retained possession because of the technical. Stokes rebounded a missed shot and hit a layup to give the Vols their 34-28 halftime lead and send the fans into a frenzy.
“Coach really prepared me for it,” Stokes said. “I was just playing for my team and the state of Tennessee.”
Published in The Messenger 1.16.12