KNOXVILLE - Tennessee freshman Jarnell Stokes had 16 points and 12 rebounds in his first start, and the Volunteers held defending national champion and No. 13 Connecticut to 36-percent shooting in a 60-57 win in front a large and loud crowd at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday evening.
It took three games for the 6-foot-8 Stokes, a five-star recruit out of Memphis, to earn a spot in the starting lineup, though he didn't make his biggest contributions until midway through the second half. He scored six of UT's eight points during a spurt that gave the Vols (9-10) a 42-37 lead.
Cameron Tatum's 3-pointer with a little less than four minutes left pushed UT's lead to 52-43, though the Huskies (14-5), who lost for the fourth time in six games, extended the game with last-minute 3-pointers by Jeremy Lamb and Shabazz Napier.
UConn made just six of 18 3-pointers.
Tatum scored 15 points on four 3-pointers for UT, which made just 10 of 21 free throws. After turning the ball over nine times in the first half, the Vols had just one in the second half. Jeronne Maymon and Skylar McBee scored eight points apiece.
Lamb led the Huskies with 23 points (8-of-17 shooting), and Napier added 18, but he needed 18 shots to reach that total. UConn's starting frontcourt duo of Alex Oriakhi and freshman Andre Drummond combined for just 11 points, though they had 16 boards between them.
Napier's second trey in the final 30 seconds cut UT's lead to 59-57, but Tatum split a pair of free throws with 2.7 seconds left. Napier's halfcourt heave missed badly.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...