Thursday, December 06, 2012
Cavs hold off Vols
Clutch UVa free throws put the game away as the Vols failed to break 40 for the second time. Virginia 46, Tennessee 38
Associated Press photos
Virginia forward Akil Mitchell (left) looks for room under the basket as Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes defends Wednesday night.
Tennessee guard Trae Golden drives to the basket as Virginia forward Evan Nolte (top) closes in during the first half of Wednesday's game.
CHARLOTTESVILLE — After Virginia had allowed most of a 15-point lead slip away, an anxious John Paul Jones Arena crowd watched Cavaliers freshman Teven Jones step to the free-throw line with 32 seconds left.
And then the shot clock went blank.
"I said to [assistant] Ronnie Wideman, 'Now?' " UVa coach Tony Bennett said. "The clock's going to go out. What's going on here?"
Jones, scoreless to that point, hit both shots. Then, teammate Paul Jesperson hit a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left for his first points of the game Wednesday as the Cavaliers held off Tennessee, 46-38.
"I think we're going in the right direction," said Bennett, whose Cavaliers won for the sixth time in 18 days and improved their record to 7-2.
The Volunteers, picked fourth in the Southeastern Conference after a 19-15 season in 2011-2012, dropped to 3-3 after failing to score 40 points for the second game in a row.
Tennessee, coming off a 37-36 road loss against 20th-ranked Georgetown, shot 28.8 percent from the field Wednesday and made only three of 19 3-pointers.
Virginia shot 35.8 percent from the field, barely above its season low, but Bennett wouldn't agree with a questioner who said it "wasn't pretty."
"It looked great to me," Bennett said. "I'll take it."
With under six minutes remaining in the first half Virginia led 21-6, but the Volunteers narrowed the gap to 25-16 at the break.
The Cavaliers stretched their lead to 36-21 in the second half, only to miss seven shots in a row during a six-minute, 39-second stretch.
Tennessee trailed by only five, 38-33, before UVa's Joe Harris fed Akil Mitchell to end the drought with 4:53 left.
Harris and Mitchell, a pair of juniors, each finished with 13 points and Mitchell added 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
Sophomore Darion Atkins had eight points and five rebounds and drew the defensive assignment on Tennessee's 6-foot-8, 270-pound Jarnell Stokes, averaging a team-high 13 points.
Atkins blocked two of Stokes' shots and also blocked a dunk attempt by 6-9, 230-pound Kenny Hall. Stokes finished with five points on a night when point guard Trae Golden, with 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting, was the Vols' lone double-figure scorer.
"It's tough as a coach because you work on shooting," said second-year Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, whose Vols shot 26.9 percent from the field at Georgetown. "The guys come in three times a week in the morning for 30 minutes to get shots up."
The only negative for Virginia came with 13:41 remaining in the second half, when senior point guard Jontel Evans emerged from a crowd underneath the Tennessee basket and limped off the floor.
Evans had made his first start of the season after undergoing foot surgery Oct. 2 and had scored on back-to-back drives to the basket after Tennessee had scored the first five points of the second half to make it a 25-21 game.
Evans returned to the bench with 5:51 left but did not re-enter the game.
"I said, 'Can I put him in?'" Bennett said. "That was my question and they said, 'Not right now.'"
Evans had four assists and no turnovers in 18 minutes of action.
"It was kind of a bummer," Harris said. "He kind of tweaked his foot a little bit there. I'm not sure exactly how he did it. I know he was pretty frustrated."
Harris wasn't happy about missing his only free throw of the game, a one-and-one opportunity with 1:01 left. That just set the stage for Jones, now 12-of-13 from the line for the season.
Jones said he didn't think twice about the shot-clock malfunction, which sent the officials to the scorers table for approximately 30 seconds.
"That was kind of interesting," Harris said. "It's our home court and all of a sudden the clock shuts off. I was like, 'Aw, c'mon man, let him get up there, get in his rhythm and take the foul shots.' But, [Jones] shot with confidence and knocked them down."
Stokes 2-5 1-3 5, Hall 3-11 2-3 8, Richardson 1-3 0-0 2, Golden 4-12 2-2 11, McBee 2-9 0-0 5, Makanjuola 1-1 0-0 2, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Lopez 0-1 0-0 0, Chievous 0-1 0-0 0, Edwards 0-3 0-0 0, McRae 2-6 0-0 5. Totals 15-52 5-8 38.
Mitchell 6-13 1-3 13, Atkins 4-10 0-0 8, Evans 2-6 0-0 4, Jesperson 0-2 2-2 2, Harris 6-11 0-1 13, Jones 0-4 2-2 2, Tobey 1-4 0-0 2, Nolte 0-1 2-2 2, Anderson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 19-53 7-10 46.
Halftime-Virginia 25-16. 3-Point Goals-Tennessee 3-19 (McRae 1-3, Golden 1-5, McBee 1-7, Hall 0-1, Edwards 0-1, Lopez 0-1, Richardson 0-1), Virginia 1-8 (Harris 1-3, Jones 0-1, Anderson 0-1, Nolte 0-1, Jesperson 0-2). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Tennessee 36 (Stokes 9), Virginia 37 (Mitchell 12). Assists-Tennessee 7 (McRae 3), Virginia 10 (Evans 4). Total Fouls-Tennessee 15, Virginia 15. A-9,702.