Vols dismissed: Maymon leaves much to miss
It was the ole missed not Ole Miss that plagued Tennessee Wednesday night in a 92-74 loss to Mississippi.
Tennessee’s missing officially included the heralded post presence of Jeronne Maymon, now redshirted for his knee problem, but also the unheralded post presence of reserve Dwight Miller
Unofficially UT’s scoring ability is still missing in inaction before half time. Though coached by a staff that has the highest career scoring average in Division 1 from its own playing days, the Vols have shown a remarkable inability to score until after the halftime show is over. That lack is a concern, for it’s no fair compliment to what has been a hard-working defense.
But it isn’t what did in Tennessee Wednesday night as Ole Miss won for just the second time ever in Knoxville and first since beating Wade Houston’s Vols in 1991.
The Vols couldn’t rebound with the Rebels. Ole Miss didn’t pull away on the break or by finally finding its range from 3-point land after starting out 0-for-10. It outrebounded UT to a tune of 47-32 and exposed the flaw that Maymon’s official red-shirt confirmed — Tennessee is much too thin in the middle.
“I thought we did a good job first half keeping them off the glass, but 25 second chance points and 14 offensive rebounds,” UT coach Cuonzo Martin said.
Kenny Hall was supposed to be the intangible to a known quartet of posts in Jarnell Stokes, Yemi Makanjuola, Maymon and Miller. But an M&M down, the lack of depth and especially the presence provided by the bulk of that post game was obvious against Ole Miss. The first team this season to know for certain days ahead of the tip that Maymon would not make a court appearance dominated inside and put up more points than anybody else had so far against the Vols.
The defense can be just as stingy as Tennessee’s was in making the T-shirt gun’s erratic misfire — the one that took out an LED panel on the scoreboard — look like a “call of Duty” champion’s touch compared to the Rebels’ long range shooting. It can’t do that endlessly.
Not against 25 second chance points in the paint. And certainly not against 18 more free throw attempts by the visitors off those extra chances.
So as Andy Kennedy moved one win closer to becoming the all-time win leader at Ole Miss after getting his first victory in an SEC opener in seven attempts, The Vols are looking for an answer.
The secret is out and nobody will be scheming to defend Stokes and Maymon. They’ll challenge Stokes and risk that other guy beating them inside.
Maymon is going to be missed, but so is Miller, the guy that shined when given a chance last season.
They’re going to be missed a lot.
Marcus Fitzsimmons is sports editor at The Daily Times. He wrote from Knoxville. Post your comments to this column at http://thedailytimes.com .