December 18, 2012
Hose can't douse Vols' hot shooting
After three-point shooting woes dating back to hosting Oakland in late November, Tennessee finally found the mark from behind the arc Tuesday night against visiting Presbyterian.
Tennessee had been 14 of 67 from 3-point range the four previous games, an unremarkable 21 percent, but against the Blue Hose the Vols picked their shots wisely and finished 9-22 from behind the line. It was the most 3-pointers Tennessee's made this season.
"Just getting shots up. These guys are capable of making shots when they have the looks. I thought it was great for Skylar (McBee) to go against a zone and actually practice it and practice against a zone, certain different options, different looks from a zone and actually be able to make shots," Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said. "I thought it was great for Skyler to get those shots off."
McBee set the tone from the beginning for the Vols, hitting the team's first shot of the game from the left wing to give Tennessee a 3-2 lead that it wouldn't give up the rest of the night. McBee finished 4-10 from deep, his 12 points all from triples.
McBee wasn't the only Vol that was warm from outside. Jordan McRae was 2-3 from three, 12 points, and D'Montre Edwards finished 2-4. Edwards had only shot seven threes entering the game, making two, and finished with a career high 11 points.
"Coach, he just preached us to stay aggressive. Hunt your shot. Take what the defense gives you. I had some pretty good looks and my teammates did a pretty good job of finding me," Edwards said.
Tennessee also helped itself taking smart shots, most off passes after drives into the lane or kick-outs from the post. On the Vols' nine made three-points, Tennessee shooters had assists on eight of them.
"We spent a lot of time on our zone offense penetrating and pitching," Martin said. "Not necessarily running set plays, just really treating it like a motion offense. Cut and move and penetrate and pitch and read the defense."
Trae Golden finished with a season-high eight assists, five ending in makes from downtown.
"That's what I'm always looking to do. I feel like we have some great shooters. When I get in (the lane) I know they're going to collapse and I look at Jarnell down low and if he's not open I look at usually Skylar, Jordan, Josh (Richardson), those guys are open," Golden said. "My biggest thing is I'm always looking out to get them the ball and for them to knock down shots."
Golden added it was big for the team to get back on track shooting the ball after being miserable from behind the arc the past several games.
"It's huge. We've got guys who can knock down shots still and guys still aren't hitting shots at the rate everybody knows they can hit them," Golden offered. "We've just got to continue to work and continue to shoot them and eventually they'll fall as long as it's not detrimental to winning. We've just got to keep shooting.
"It's huge and I see it all during practice so for him to get those shots Skylar's got his confidence up. D'Montre's shooting the ball very well and I'm the type of guy that keeps telling them to, 'Shoot the ball, shoot the ball.' It's good to see them knock those shots down. Skylar's got a lot going on with his elbow so for him to knock down those shots is huge and D'Montre comes off the bench and gives us an extra boost so it's huge for us."
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