Great wins and more!

UT 63, USC 55

This was a heck of a win for the Vols, who were 4-4 in their last 8 games. Not many people have won in this building lately and in fact only two other teams this year, Baylor and Vanderbilt. We played sloppy having 19 turnovers (8 consecutive turnovers in 1st half) and only connecting on 20 baskets  (UT 20-41, USC 20-63). With those numbers one would think we wouldn’t have won on the road but our players fought hard in the second half. JP prince (10 pts, 7 reb) was clutch from the foul shot line shooting down the stretch. He was 8 of 10 for the entire game.

Chism and Prince both had foul trouble in the first half but our bench players provided solid minutes with Williams playing 14 min scoring 5 points and having 7 rebounds, and Kenny Hall playing 20 mins scoring 8 points (2-3 dunks) and 2 rebounds. Stephen Pearl also came up with solid defense for 15 min and for the second straight game scored 4 points while grabbing two rebounds today. Pearl is a very valuable defender on this team in my opinion and if he would lay off the weights the day of the game I think he could be a solid contributed on offense too. Kenny and Brian playing good games is huge down the stretch as we know we can rely on the bench to help out the “Bigs” down low.We out rebounded 40-30.

McBee hit a three-point on the road and got two rebounds while playing 14 minutes. Tatum got into the game grabbing 2 rebounds as did Goins who had an off night. Our team four bench players who played in double digits where as South Carolina only had one. Our bench provided 21 points where as theirs only provided 3.

Key Plays of game:

  1. Wayne picked off a pass and got fouled, connecting on both FT’s, to put us up 49-46. Prince then steals ball and fouled, hitting both FT’s, to put us up 51-46.
  2. Just a couple minutes later Hopson is at line and hits 1 of 2. 52-49. Prince steals ball and is forced to call a Time out. Maze drives in for two and as it is rolling out Kenny goes in for the Slam! 54-49…Prince then steals inbounds pass and scores 56-49 giving us our biggest lead of the game

Our three seniors are coming up big for us down the stretch and I for one am going to miss all 3 of them. Chism will go down in my opinion as one of the greatest fan favorites to ever play here, JP is a good defender and brings so much to the floor even through his bone headed mistakes, and Bobby is a solid point guard who will do good in Pro’s in Europe. Wayne set the record at 131 for most games ever played by a Vol in today’s game.

Lastly I just want to commend coach Pearl on a great win today. This job coaching this team is great given the adversity we have gone through and I am so glad coach Pearl is here. We have our 5th straight 20 win season folks. Bruce is 118-39 overall (.752 winning %) and 57-26 in SEC (.687 winning %) while at UT. The best could be yet to come with talent coming in these next two recruiting classes. Currently we have three commitments with the lowest one ranking at 55th in nation for next years class. All three are having stellar high school years and could be bumped up in rankings, including current # 5 player in country Tobias Harris who is Bruce’s 2nd McDonalds All American player as well as a host of other accolades he has received. Add to that the 47th best player in 2009 who transferred to UT in January and will be available next January. We are also looking at adding one more BIG down low (6’10” or taller). For 2011 we have the 22nd and 36th best players committed to us currently. Both are point guards. Three of these commitments from the next few years are from the AAU Atlanta Celtics so pipeline could be forming and Chris Jones (2011 36th best player) is from Memphis so could finally break that wall.

BaseVols 7, Xavier 6

The Baseball team had a slow start today as the fell down early 3-0. Score was 3-2 after the 3rd Inning however the Musketeers blew it open to 6-2 by the end of the Top of the 6th. However their 6th run (scored nothing in 5th and only 1 in 6th) would be their last as the Vols bullpen had 5 stellar innings of one run ball to give the offense a chance. UT whittled away at the lead by scoring one run in bottom of 6th (they had bases loaded though), and another run (bases loaded again) in bottom of 8th to make it 6-4. Vols get their third bases loaded (from walks and a balk) when Cody Stubbs, freshman, steps up to the plate. The Vols score three in the bottom of the 9th when Cody hits a walk off,  two-RBI single to put us ahead 7-6.

I didn’t actually get to attend the game but I’m glad to see we pulled it through especially without star player Cody Hawn, whom per Austin Ward should be back by next weekend. Coach Raleigh said the early diagnosis looked promising as just a shoulder sprain to his non throwing shoulder.

Quotes from Coach:

  • ” I knew that someone was going to come up with a Big hit, but I was getting a little nervous. For Cody to step up there and come through in the clutch like that is huge, especially with Cody Hawn out this weekend. He’s going to be a terrific player for us and today was a perfect example of what he brings to our team.”
  • “The bullpen did a great job today. They really kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win at the end. We just told them to keep the ball down and we would be fine. That’s exactly how it played out.”

The Vols go for their first sweep of the season against Xavier tomorrow at 2 p.m. at newly renovated Lindsey Nelson Stadium which is NICE!!!!

Recruiting, Coaching News, and Conference Expansion Rumors

  • Possibility of hiring former Louisiana Tech running back coach as an Intern or GA here to help Cheney have more time for whole offense
  • Lonnie Ballentine, 6’3″ 195lbs DB from Southwind High School in Memphis, got a UT offer. UT joins Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Louisville, and Mississippi State. He is also being looked at by Oregon, USC, and UCLA. Lonnie had 6 Interceptions, 25 broken up passes, 50 solo tackles and 600 all-purpose yards at return specialist.
  • Big 10- Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez alludes to a 15 team list and says Texas not on it. Bleacher Report guesses that: Pittsburgh, Missouri, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Kansas, UConn, Buffalo, Central Michigan, West Virginia, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, Eastern Carolina, and Memphis are the 15 teams on the list.
  • Pac 10- Charleston Duck @ Bleacher report makes a good argument in that Texas and Texas A&M would be huge additions to the conference. They could have 2 divisions of University of _____________ state schools (UCLA, CAL, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, Texas) and their rivals (USC, Stanford, Oregon St., Arizona St., Texas A&M, Washington St.). They also would be able to add huge television markets to the Pac 10 and could help land the Pac 10 a network deal of their own. I argue however that Utah and BYU remain the best options out there. North South division could be thrown out for the above but I think Utah and BYU and their constituents are more a part of the Pac 10 then the guys in Texas are.

About Steven Harris

Steven Harris is a fifth year senior at the University of Tennessee. Majoring in sports journalism, this blog provides an outlet for Harris to share his thoughts on the state of the University of Tennessee's athletic department''s Volunteer teams. View all posts by Steven Harris

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