Fans worried that the Big Orange might be physically and emotionally drained after suffering taxing losses to No. 6 Duke (77-67) and No. 8 Memphis (99-97 in two overtimes) on Monday and Tuesday. Instead, the Vols shredded Chaminade's zone defense, shooting 57.1 percent from the field — 55.5 percent from 3 — en route to an 86-60 romp.
Tennessee accomplished this without Jeronne Maymon, who produced 32 points and 20 rebounds one day earlier versus Memphis. Maymon played just two minutes against Div. II Chaminade before going to the bench to rest a tight Achilles tendon.
Sophomore Jordan McRae led all scorers with a career-best 25 points. The 6-foot-5 wing was 9 of 12 from the field, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. That was a testament to improved shot selection. He took far too many ill-advised shots in Tennessee's previous four games.
"I'm a scorer on this team," McRae conceded on the post-game show, "but I think what I have to work on is picking and choosing my shots. Sometimes I tend to rush. When I relax and play my game I play well."
Sophomore point guard Trae Golden bounced back from a 3-for-19 shooting performance versus Memphis to hit 6 of 8 shots (4 of 4 from 3) en route to 17 points. Cameron Tatum chipped in 12 points, Renaldo Woolridge 11 and Skylar McBee 10 for the Vols, now 3-2.
Matt Cousins scored 17 to pace Chaminade, now 2-3.
Tennessee made 32 of 56 field-goal tries, including 15 of 27 from beyond the arc. The Big Orange won the backboards 36-31 and recorded more assists (20) than turnovers (13).
Martin said his team picked up "a much-needed win" in the wake of the difficult losses to Duke and Memphis.
"You're concerned because you put all of your eggs in those games early and you put forth a good effort in both of those games," he said. "Not only is it physically taxing; it's also mentally taxing. You can be exhausted. For the guys to come out and compete the way they did, I was impressed with the effort."
The Vols return to action Monday night, facing Oakland in Rochester, Mich. Tipoff for that one is set for 9 o'clock, with TV coverage by ESPNU.