Tennessee’s basketball team pulled out an 82-68 victory over Lithuania’s BC Atletas at the Pala Meridien in Monsummano Terme, Italy on Friday night.
The Vols are now 2-0 on their 10-day tour of Italy.
Sophomore forward Jarnell Stokes led Tennessee in scoring for the second straight game in Italy, racking up 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field. Junior point guard Trae Golden added 14 points, and redshirt freshman Quinton Chievous 11.
Encouraging play was also turned in from sophomore post man Yemi Makanjuola, who scored five points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked three shots.
“I thought our guys did a good job making adjustments -especially in the second half,” Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said. “We had good spacing and did a good job getting the ball inside. (The physical nature of the game) was great for us. We expect physical play (on the tour); that’s what we wanted. I thought our guys did a good job of being aggressive and really attacking.”
The Vols led 70-55 with seven minutes left to play before guard Sarunas Vingelis got hot for Atletas. Vingelis scored 10 straight points, including three straight 3-pointers, to make it an eight-point game, 75-67, with two minutes remaining.
But UT freshman guard Armani Moore drained a 3-pointer – his only points of the night – to end all hopes of an Atletas comeback.
Junior guard D’Montre Edwards finished with eight points for Tennessee, amd senior McBee added seven.
Tennessee senior forward Rob Murphy was another Vol who provided a lift off the bench Friday. With Stokes in foul trouble late in the game – and returning senior posts Kenny Hall (DNP), Dwight Miller (knee) and Jeronne Maymon (knee) held out of action – Murphy provided four points and three rebounds and delivered several key defensive stops. His offensive rebound and put back at the third-quarter buzzer gave UT a 62-52 lead – and all the momentum – entering the final 10 minutes of play.
“Rob’s a guy who has been patiently waiting for his time, and he really did a great job of executing for us tonight.” Martin said of the Brentwood, Tenn., native.
Moore, Edwards, Chievous, Stokes and Richardson started for the Vols, who began the day with a guided walking tour of the Accademia Gallery and historic downtown Florence. A highlight of the tour was the opportunity to see Michelangelo’s marble sculpture of David, which is housed in the Accademia Gallery and is considered one of Michelangelo’s greatest sculpture masterpieces (he was also a painter and architect).