SAN MARINO, Italy – Here’s how easy of a time Tennessee had with the third opponent on its exhibition tour of Italy on Sunday night – coach Cuonzo Martin used a zone defense.
Martin, a strict proponent of the man-to-man, went to the zone, and also requested that the game clock keep running, in order for the score against BC Zeta Golubovci not to reach Dream Team-versus-Angola levels. As it was, the Vols still won, 126-44.
“Our guys did a good job of playing hard because it’s tough when you get out in front of an opponent like that early,” Martin said. “You have a tendency to let up mentally. And we want to do everything in our power to have great sportsmanship. In the second half, we wanted to have a running clock so the game didn’t get out of hand.”
For the last year, Tennessee coaches have been telling the media that redshirt freshman Quinton Chievous can score. He proved it again in Italy, leading the Vols with 22 points and tying for the team lead in rebounds (eight). It was his second game in a row in double figures.
Another good sign: 6-9 sophomore Yemi Makanjuola, considered to have vast potential, put together his second good effort on the tour, scoring 17 points. Jordan McRae scored 16, and walk-on point guard Brandon Lopez handed out a team-high six assists and also tied Chievous for rebounding honors. There has been talk that Lopez could earn some backup minutes here and there in 2012-13 because he’s proven to be such a capable point guard.
Still more good news: senior forward Jeronne Maymon, who has undergone surgery on both knees in the offseason, saw his first action in Italy. And senior forward Kenny Hall, benched apparently for poor effort last game, played and scored 10 points.
Tennessee plays its last exhibition game on Tuesday against Amici del Campetto.