Vols prepare for Senior day, Missouri

VOL HOOPS REPORT:(UTsports.com) Hall, McBee Enter Senior Day on High Note
As the Tennessee basketball team prepares for its regular-season finale Saturday against Missouri (22-8, 11-6 SEC), the Volunteers have won seven of their last eight games and are riding some positive momentum into Senior Day.

Tipoff vs. the Tigers is set for 4:05 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN. Senior Day festivities start at 3:40 p.m. ET.

Fittingly, as the Vols (18-11, 10-7 SEC) are finding their groove down the stretch, so are UT’s two four-year seniors.

Forward Kenny Hall and guard Skylar McBee – freshmen suitemates upon enrolling at UT four years ago – will play their final regular-season game in Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday. During their career on Rocky Top, Tennessee owns a 52-16 (.765) record in home games.

Over the last two games, Hall is shooting .875 from the field and averaging 9.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. He didn’t miss a shot in Wednesday’s triumph at Auburn, going 3-for-3 from the field (all dunks) and 2-for-2 at the free-throw line.

McBee, meanwhile, has made at least one 3-pointer in each of UT’s last six contests. The Rutledge, Tenn., native has made 154 3-pointers in his career and is just one trey shy of tying for 10th on Tennessee’s all-time list for 3-pointers made.

Over Tennessee’s last six outings, McBee is 10-for-26 (.385) from beyond the arc.

“It’s always good, at this time of year, to be playing as well as we are right now,” McBee said Thursday. “Saturday is an important game for us to add to our NCAA Tournament resume. I think we’re all playing really well. We have a lot of confidence right now, and hopefully we’ll be able to continue that.”

The Missouri contest will be McBee’s 128th career game played, placing him in a tie for fourth on the school’s all-time list with All-Americans Allan Houston and Chris Lofton.

Only Wayne Chism (142), Cameron Tatum (138) and Rob Jones (130) will have played in more games as a Vol.

McBee said that as he makes the walk to midcourt with his family Saturday during the pregame Senior Day ceremony, it will be a time of positive reflection.

“I’ll be thinking about how fast it’s gone by and all the good times I’ve had here,” McBee said. “I’ve got a lot of great memories in Thompson-Boling Arena. There will be some joy in looking at all that we accomplished here. And there will be a feeling of happiness and gratitude to be a part of the Tennessee basketball family.”

Tennessee enters this weekend’s home finale ranked seventh nationally in average home attendance, drawing 17,104 fans per game this season at Thompson-Boling Arena.

In an effort to boost that figure, while also creating the best possible atmosphere for a senior sendoff, Tennessee has priced all remaining upper-level tickets for Saturday’s game at $7.

Fans interested in taking advantage of that offer can log on to www.UTtix.com and enter promo code VOLNATION.

As of the close of business on Thursday, only 600 tickets remained available.

While tipoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET, Vols head coach Cuonzo Martin has asked fans to arrive by 3 p.m., giving them time to generate some buzz in the building and be in their seats when the pregame Senior Day ceremony begins at 3:40 p.m. ET.

There are several noteworthy connections in the Tennessee-Missouri series.

Tennessee redshirt freshman Quinton Chievous is the son of Missouri’s all-time leading scorer, Derrick Chievous, who was selected by Houston with the 16th pick in the 1988 NBA Draft and played three seasons in the league.

Derrick “Band Aid” Chievous scored 2,580 points for the Tigers from 1985-88. Derrick’s 18 points against Tennessee on Dec. 14, 1985 (which is the last time these teams met), are tied for the fifth-most points by a Tiger in the UT-Missouri series.

When second-year UT head coach Cuonzo Martin was a senior at Purdue, the Boilermakers lost a neutral-site game to Missouri, 69-66, at the Great Eight event in Auburn Hills, Mich., on Nov. 30, 1994.

Martin’s final game as Missouri State’s head coach was an 81-72 loss to current Missouri coach Frank Haith’s Miami (Fla.) team in the second round of the 2011 NIT in Coral Gables, Fla., on March 21, 2011. Like Martin, Haith is now in his second season at his current school.

Martin almost coached against Tigers guard Keion Bell during the 2010-11 season. Prior to transferring to Mizzou, Bell played point guard for Pepperdine. Martin led Missouri State to an 80-60 victory over Pepperdine in a 2010 NIT Season Tip-Off consolation game on Nov. 22, 2010. But Bell, who was the Waves’ leading scorer at 22.0 ppg, suffered a wrist injury in practice before the game and did not play in the loss.

Missouri forward Earnest Ross is a transfer from Auburn. When the Vols beat the Tigers in 2011, Ross posted seven points, four rebounds and five turnovers. He had three points and one rebound in a 2010 loss to UT.

For the most up-to-date information about the Tennessee basketball program, visit UTsports.com/basketball and follow @Vol_Hoops on Twitter.

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