The Tennessee men's basketball team was back at full strength Wednesday as it licked its wounds from Tuesday's 89-82 upset loss to Oakland.
Sophomore transfer forward Jeronne Maymon finally is eligible to play, and junior wing Renaldo Woolridge returned from an ankle injury that has sidelined him the past week.
The added front-line depth would have helped in the No. 7 Vols' 89-82 loss to the Golden Grizzlies. UT's bench was outscored 21-10 and failed to provide a lift down the stretch as Oakland rallied.
UT coach Bruce Pearl made it a point during Wednesday's non-contact practice to look ahead to Friday's 8 p.m. game at Charlotte (TV: CBS College Sports) rather than belabor the loss.
"How hard could I be on them? We scored 82 points. That's enough to win,'' Pearl said. "They feel bad enough; they have to learn, and they have to grow.''
Pearl hopes that growth starts in Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats.
The 49ers (4-6) will be without their leading scorer, Shamari Spears, who was dismissed from the team Wednesday.
"He has been out four games, so they have learned to play without him,'' Pearl said. "This is a big game for them; it's going to be a black-out.''
Charlotte is expected to wear black jerseys rather than the light-colored jerseys teams traditionally wear at home, and it requested the Vols wear their white uniforms rather than the orange they typically wear on the road.
"We'll do that,'' Pearl said. "I want to be accommodating.''
Pearl reiterated the lesson for UT to take from the Oakland loss is the importance of the team maintaining its identity of defense and rebounding.
Pearl also has taken up for Vols shooting star Scotty Hopson, who was held to seven points in the loss.
"I want to defend Scotty; I thought Scotty, even though he only made one basket, he did not get a ton of looks,'' Pearl said. "They did a pretty good job on him. I don't think it had anything to do with him not being ready. He's really been focused, and he's had a great week of preparation.
"I know he's an easy target.''
Hopson said he knows he needs to bounce back quickly.
"A lot of it, I stopped myself on my own,'' Hopson said. "There was some bad timing and bad footwork. I watched the tape and I'll take it as another lesson.
"I know this team is going to go as far as I can take them, and there are a lot of expectations for me to do a lot of things, not just score.''
Maymon's ready: Maymon, who will play behind Tobias Harris at power forward, said he felt he could have made a difference in the Vols' loss to Oakland.
"I always think I can help my team with whatever they are lacking,'' the 6-foot-7, 258-pounder said. "I'm real excited about getting to play Friday; I want to bring a lot of energy off the bench.''
Pearl said sophomore Kenny Hall will return to his primary duties at the post with Maymon's return, while Steven Pearl will continue to play at power forward as well as on the wing.
Pearl and Woolridge will compete for minutes behind starter Cameron Tatum.