Tennessee (2-1) vs. Massachusetts (2-1)
Sunday, Nov. 18, 4:00 p.m. ET
Coliseo de Puerto Rico (17,500) . Bayamon, PR
Radio: Vol Network (WGOW-FM 102.3, Chattanooga)
Series Record: 2-0 Tennessee
Probable UNC Asheville Starters
F-Raphiael Putney, 6-9, 185, R-JR, (11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.0 bpg)
F-Terrell Vinson, 6-8, 220, SR, (11.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.3 spg)
C-Cady Lalanne, 6-9, 250, SO, (5.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.6 bpg)
G-Chaz Williams, 5-9, 175, R-JR, (14.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 6.7 apg)
G-Freddie Riley, 6-5, 190, SR, (1.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg)
Key Reserves: Jesse Morgan (6-5, 190, JR);Sampson Carter (6-8, 220, SR); Maxie Esho (6-8, 205, R-SO).
Probable Tennessee Starters
F-Kenny Hall, 6-9, 230, SR, (9.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
F-Josh Richardson, 6-6, 188, SO, (8.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
C-Jarnell Stokes, 6-8, 270, SO, (10.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.0 bpg)
G-Skylar McBee, 6-3, 195, SR , (7.0 ppg, 0.7 rpg)
G-Trae Golden, 6-1, 205, JR, (11.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.3 apg)
Key Reserves: Jordan McRae (6-5, 178, JR); Armani Moore (6-5, 203, FR); D’Montre Edwards (6-6, 206, JR); Yemi Makanjuola (6-9, 250, SO)
The opening tip
The Vols and Minutemen find themselves paired in the third-place game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off after suffering double-digit losses in the semifinals on Friday. UMass placed five men in double figures but still lost 94-76 to NC State, the No. 6 team in the country. Tennessee was outplayed in every aspect in its 62-45 loss to Oklahoma State. The Vols were limited to 26 percent shooting-22 from 3-point range-were crushed on the glass, 40-30, and saw two of their primary weapons neutralized-Jarnell Stokes scored seven points on 2-of-8 shooting and Skylar McBee managed three on 1-of-4 shooting, all from behind the arc. “(The Cowboys) did a good job,” UT coach Cuonzo Martin said. “They found a way to win the game. They controlled the tempo. You have to give their coaching staff and also (point guard) Marcus Smart as a freshman did a good job controlling the game.”
It’s back to the drawing board for the Vols, who are clearly missing senior forward Jeronne Maymon, the preseason All-SEC pick who is still rehabbing after knee surgery performed last spring. His status is indefinite. Without Maymon, the Vols, who normally control the boards, have a 0.0 rebounding margin; they’re grabbing an average of 32 a game, the same number as their opponents.
UMass has had a flair for the dramatic so far. In a season-opening win over Harvard that was televised as part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, the Minutemen won 67-64 on Sampson Carter‘s 3-pointer with a second to play. They trailed 64-59 with 1:21 left. Against Providence in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Terrell Vinson‘s tip-in as time expired won the game, 77-75. UMass outscored the Friars 7-2 in the final 2:01.
UMass coach Derek Kellogg: “Two buzzer-beaters in a week is probably a little much for a coach, but when they turn out that way, there’s nothing more fulfilling and gratifying than winning the way we won them.”
There’s at least one Tennessee player who isn’t struggling offensively. Junior guard Jordan McRae, who has come off the bench in the first three games of the season, is tied for the team lead in scoring (11.0) and is shooting .476 from the field, .556 (5 of 9) from 3 and .889 from the free-throw line. . Likewise, UMass’s leading scorer comes off the bench. Jesse Morgan averages 17.3 points and has already cranked up 25 3-pointers, making 10 (.400). . The Vols and Minutemen have played just twice before, in a home-and-home series in the 2002-03 and ’03-04 seasons. Tennessee, then coached by Buzz Peterson, won both games as guard C.J. Watson, now playing for the Brooklyn Nets, provided a combined 20 points and 11 assists. . UMass coach Derek Kellogg is yet another former assistant of Kentucky coach John Calipari. Other Calipari assistants running their own programs include Josh Pastner of Memphis, Tony Barbee of Auburn, Bruiser Flint of Drexel and Chuck Martin of Marist. . A year ago the Minutemen were picked to finish 12th in the Atlantic 10, but they wound up fifth, advancing to the semifinals of the A-10 tournament and the NIT en route to a 25-11 record. . Kellogg, who played at UMass, and Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, who played at Purdue, were college contemporaries, having competed from 1992-95. Kellogg and Barbee were teammates.