Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 31, 2013

Hoops roundup: Volunteers cruise past Cavaliers

Marshall, BC Rams lose on the road


Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Sensing the halftime buzzer was about to sound, Antonio Barton launched the ball from halfcourt but didn’t think it would find the net.

“I didn’t when it left my hands, but as it kept going I thought, ‘OK, this thing has a chance of going in,’ and it went in clean,” the Tennessee guard said.

Barton and his Tennessee teammates just couldn’t seem to miss as they cruised to an 87-52 win against Virginia on Monday night.

Jordan McRae scored 21 points and Josh Richardson and Jarnell Stokes each added 20 for the Vols (8-4). Tennes-see’s 48 first-half points were the most allowed by Virginia since giving up 55 to Washington on Nov. 22, 2010.

Tennessee scored first and never trailed. The Cavaliers (9-4) left the hot-handed Richardson open in front of their bench, and Richardson cleanly sank a 3 that gave the Vols a 27-11 lead with 10:53 in the first half and, ultimately, control of the game.

The Vols had been sluggish on offense in recent weeks but shot 57.7 percent from the field, including Barton’s buzzer-beating shot that gave them a 48-26 halftime lead.

“When you make shots, that’s what you look like,” coach Cuonzo Martin said. The 35-point margin of victory was the largest in his coaching tenure at Tennessee. Tennessee managed to keep Virginia off-balance on offense, though the Cavaliers struggled with open looks too, shooting just 32.7 percent from the field.

Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team had looked solid in practices leading up to the game and that he “wasn’t expecting us to come out and perform like this.” The Cavaliers entered the contest allowing just 54.2 points per game and lost by a combined 16 points in its three previous losses of the season.

“Every mistake we made, they capitalized on,” he said.

Justin Anderson led Virginia with 11 points, and Mike Tobey added 10.

“We just got out-toughed, outplayed, outworked, out-everythinged. It was just really embarrassing,” Cavaliers guard Joe Harris said.

Virginia scored the first two baskets after halftime, but it was as close as the Cavaliers would get.

Both teams reached the NIT last season and had set their expectations for the 2013-14 season higher with NCAA tournament hopes. Instead, they’ve both stumbled.

Tennessee entered the game having won just six of its first 10. The victory was an especially important NCAA resume-building win for the Vols, who face a weaker conference lineup.

“This is what we could and should look like,” Martin said.

VIRGINIA (9-4)

Mitchell 2-7 0-0 4, Atkins 0-0 2-2 2, Anderson 4-11 3-5 11, Harris 2-9 2-2 7, Brogdon 0-5 0-0 0, T. Jones 0-0 2-2 2, Tobey 5-10 0-0 10, Nolte 1-2 4-4 7, Gill 3-4 1-2 7, Perrantes 1-7 0-0 2. Totals 18-55 14-17 52.

TENNESSEE (8-4)

Stokes 4-10 12-14 20, Maymon 2-6 2-2 6, Richardson 8-9 0-0 20, Barton 5-6 1-1 14, McRae 6-10 6-6 21, Hubbs III 1-6 0-0 3, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Ndiaye 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson 1-1 0-0 2, Davis 0-3 0-0 0, Reese 0-3 1-2 1, Edwards 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-54 22-25 87.

Halftime—Tennessee 48-26. 3-Point Goals—Virginia 2-12 (Nolte 1-2, Harris 1-4, Perrantes 0-1, Brogdon 0-2, Anderson 0-3), Tennessee 11-18 (Richardson 4-4, McRae 3-4, Barton 3-4, Hubbs III 1-2, Davis 0-1, Reese 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Virginia 33 (Mitchell 9), Tennessee 35 (Reese 9). Assists—Virginia 8 (Anderson, Brogdon, Perrantes 2), Tennessee 18 (McRae 5). Total Fouls—Virginia 19, Tennessee 18. A—16,142.

*****

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina has picked the right time to play its best basketball of the season.

After winning just twice in the first seven games, the Gamecocks (6-6) won for the fourth time in the last five with a 92-65 victory over Marshall on Monday night.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin pointed to a stretch just before halftime in which the Gamecocks turned a one-point deficit into a 36-31 lead despite the fact four starters were on the bench with two fouls each. He said two weeks ago his team would not be able to withstand that type of pressure.

“I was worried about this match-up because they’re extremely athletic and they attack you,” Martin said. “I was worried about getting into foul trouble and as the game played out that is what happened. Credit the guys that were there at the end of the first half. They took the lead and we didn’t wilt. Earlier in the year, we wilted. They stayed the course, we made some plays and we took a lead into the locker room.”

Marshall (5-8) lost for the sixth time in the last seven games. Shawn Smith led Marshall with a career-high 19 points and Ryan Taylor added 18 but the lack of defensive effort in the second half was too much to overcome.

“We didn’t have many stops period,” Marshall coach Tom Herrion said. “Our defense wasn’t very good in the second half. I thought we bothered them a little bit in the first half and got the ball out in transition but they run their stuff and we didn’t do a good enough job guarding it.”

Ty Johnson and Brenton Williams each scored 18 points to lead a balanced attack for South Carolina.

The Gamecocks built on the five-point halftime lead and took firm control with a 14-1 run. Duane Notice ignited it with a 3-pointer and he scored seven points and added two assists to give South Carolina a 61-41 lead with a little over 12 minutes remaining. The lead would not be less than 17 points the rest of the way.

During an eight-minute stretch, the Gamecocks scored on nine straight possessions and 14 of 16 as they increased the lead from 45-38 to 74-54 with 7:28 remaining.

“Our defense set the tone,” Williams said. “We were able to get stops and that allowed us to get out and run and set things up on the offensive end.”

Marshall’s leading scorer, Kareem Canty was held to 11 points on 2-of-15 shooting. He also had 11 of the Herd’s 16 turnovers. The perimeter defense was key.

“The guys off the ball aren’t allowing the ball to get into guys comfort zones,” Martin said. “That’s as good off the ball defense that I’ve seen from us.”

Notice scored 13 points and Demetrius Henry added 12 for the Gamecocks (6-6). Williams broke the South Carolina record for consecutive free throws when he completed a three-point play with 9:15 remaining. The senior has made 42 straight free throws dating to last season. He broke the record of 41 previously held by John Roche.

MARSHALL (5-8)

Goard 1-3 2-4 4, Taylor 6-11 5-8 18, Canty 2-15 7-8 11, Thomas 3-6 4-9 10, Boykins 0-1 1-3 1, Smith 4-6 11-15 19, Sane 1-1 0-0 2, Manning 0-1 0-0 0, Mbao 0-0 0-0 0, Loop 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-45 30-47 65.

SOUTH CAROLINA (6-6)

Henry 6-7 0-0 12, Kacinas 2-5 0-0 4, Thornwell 1-3 1-2 3, Williams 7-11 1-1 18, Notice 4-8 4-5 13, Johnson 6-10 4-6 18, Shaw 0-2 4-4 4, Constable 0-2 0-0 0, Chatkevicius 1-3 0-0 2, Theus Jr. 1-2 1-4 3, McKie 1-3 1-2 3, Carrera 3-4 2-2 8, Ringer 2-4 0-0 4, Steele 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 34-66 18-26 92.

Halftime—South Carolina 36-31. 3-Point Goals—Marshall 1-14 (Taylor 1-2, Manning 0-1, Loop 0-1, Smith 0-1, Thomas 0-3, Canty 0-6), South Carolina 6-12 (Williams 3-5, Johnson 2-2, Notice 1-2, McKie 0-1, Steele 0-1, Constable 0-1). Fouled Out—Henry, Steele, Taylor, Thomas. Rebounds—Marshall 27 (Taylor 5), South Carolina 44 (Ringer 7). Assists—Marshall 9 (Canty, Thomas 3), South Carolina 19 (Notice 6). Total Fouls—Marshall 26, South Carolina 32. A—7,935.

*****

Staff report

BOONE, N.C. — The Bluefield College Rams ventured to Appalachian State University for its final exhibition of the season on Monday and fell 97-70 to the Mountaineers.

A 12-point game at the half in favor of Appalachian State, the Mountaineers outscored the Rams 44-29 in the final 20 minutes for the final margin of victory.

Nequan Melvin and Devin Page led Bluefield in scoring with 13 and 12 points respectively.

Page was three-for-three from behind the three point line and dished out three assists.

Eric Dukes had nine rebounds for the Rams.

Michael Neal led Appalachian State with a game-high 23 points. He made four-of-five three point baskets and as a team Appy State shot 50 percent, 10-of-20 from behind the arc.

BLUEFIELD (6-2)

Nesbit 1-8 0-0 2, Lubsey 3-9 0-0 6, Page 3-3 3-5 12,  Grisby 3-7 0-0 8, Marion 4-9 0-0 10, Wilson 3-9 2-2 9,  Stathopolos 1-3 0-0 3, Collins 0-2 0-0 0, Dukes 2-5 3-6 7,  Melvin 6-10 1-3 13. Totals 26-65 9-16 70.

APPALACHIAN ST. (4-8)

Obacha 3-4 5-8 11, Gilbert 4-5 0-1 8, Hamilton 6-15 2-2 16,  Burgess 5-9 2-2 14, Neal 8-9 3-4 23, Kobani 4-5 0-2 8, Clarke 1-1 0-0 2,  Spagnolo 2-3 3-4 7, Eaves 1-2 0-0 3, Purgason 1-1 0-0 3,  Scott 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 36-57 15-23 97.

Halftime—Appalachian St. 53-41. 3-Point Goals—Bluefield 9-23 (Page  3-3, Marion 2-5, Grisby 2-6, Stathopolos 1-3, Wilson 1-4, Collins 0-2),  Appalachian St. 10-20 (Neal 4-5, Burgess 2-2, Hamilton 2-8, Purgason  1-1, Eaves 1-2, Scott 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Bluefield 30  (Dukes 9), Appalachian St. 39 (Obacha 12). Assists—Bluefield 12 (Page  3), Appalachian St. 17 (Burgess 4). Total Fouls—Bluefield 18,  Appalachian St. 17. A—688.