Playing its third game of the Battle 4 Atlantis in three days, the Vols (5-2) showed no signs of fatigue in an 82-63 pummeling of Wake Forest.
“A lot of credit to our guys after that first game of bouncing back with such a short turnaround to compete at that level and defend and play on both ends of the floor,” coach Cuonzo Martin said after the game.
“To come back against a talented Wake Forest team and play well on both ends of the floor from start to finish was very impressive—probably the best effort all season on both ends of the floor, of making free throws and making shots.”
Jarnell Stokes recorded his third double-double in as many days, posting a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds while adding three assists, two steals and a block in 30 minutes of action. The Demon Deacons had no answer for him.
“When Jarnell is shooting his free throws and he’s aggressive like that we are a tough team to beat,” Martin said.
True freshman Darius Thompson scored a career-high 16 points, hitting 3-4 from the floor and a perfect 9-9 from the free throw stripe.
“I just came in looking for my shot and looking to be more aggressive to score,” Thompson said. “It just came to me. Then I started getting fouled, and I knocked down my free throws. We practice it every day. I just came and took it into the game today.”
Jordan McRae had a quiet ten points on 4-9 shooting.
Tennessee knocked down 28-36 from the free throw line for 77.8%.
With an 11-point halftime lead, the outcome was never in question in the second half as the Vols extend the lead to as many as 28 points.
After losing to UTEP on Thursday, Tennessee seemed to find its stride, posting convincing wins over Xavier and Wake Forest to finish the tournament with a 2-1 record.
The Vols face Tennessee Tech next Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena (noon tip).