Pardon the hurry, but this post-game recap is going to be fast because we're only halfway done here on Rocky Top.
Pajamas got off to a bit of a rough start, getting a warning from the official on the opening tip for circling a crouching Tiger and jawing at him the entire time, including while the jump ball was in the air. Whatever, because he certainly got into the mind of the Tiger, as the team scored not a single point until after the first media timeout.
Unfortunately, neither did Tennessee, and Memphis took the early lead and held onto it until the 10:35 mark, when J.P. dialed it down from "stupid and reckless" to "smart and aggressive," and from there, the team never looked back, even when they scored a mere two points over a nearly four-minute stretch in the second half while they figured out how to crack that nasty zone defense Memphis suddenly found.
In the end, though, Tennessee outlasted a scrappy, undermanned Memphis team. Chism led the team with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and a block, and Prince wasn't far behind with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and an out-of-character 8-12 from the free throw line. Tyler Smith contributed 11 points, and Scotty Hopson and Melvin Goins each got 8. As a team, the Vols outrebounded Memphis 47-28.
Memphis, playing with just eight scholarship players, demonstrated a vulnerability in the paint and an expected inability down the stretch to play from behind due to a limited number of fouls available. But make no mistake, the Tigers are a good team, and this is a solid win for the Vols.
Up next is a pretty-bowed stink-gift trap game against Charlotte on Wednesday at 7:00 EST before a visit from the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks a week from Sunday.
First, though, for Vol fans is the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Virginia Tech Hokies, in 45 minutes. Go Vols!