Chance to tie No. 17 Pitt gets all tied up for Vols, 61-56

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee's Yemi Makanjuola tries to shoot under pressure from Pittsburgh's Dante Taylor at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess, ©KNS/2011

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee's Yemi Makanjuola tries to shoot under pressure from Pittsburgh's Dante Taylor at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Coach Cuonzo Martin on the Vols' 61-56 loss to Pittsburgh

Trae Golden on his turnover in the final seconds of UT's 61-56 loss to Pittsburgh

Kenny Hall on his improved play in the loss to No. 17 Pitt

Tennessee had the ball with a chance to tie the game against No. 17 Pittsburgh with 9.8 seconds left Saturday afternoon.

That's when Panthersguard Ashton Gibbs showed why he's the preseason Big East Player of the Year and a two-time All-Big East men's basketball selection.

UT sophomore point guard Trae Golden drove the ball at Gibbs but got caught up in traffic. Pitt's star guard pounced on the opportunity and forced a tie-up that by virtue of the possession arrow gave the ball to the Panthers with 3.6 seconds left.

It led to a 61-56 victory for Pitt, which improved to 7-1 while the Vols dropped to 3-4 before an announced crowd of 17,249 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"I came down the court, kind of got caught up in a lot of traffic, things got hectic and they tied it up,'' said Golden, a first-year starter whose 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds left had pulled UT within two. "I was just looking to make a play, but it was a turnover on me.''

The final play aside, Vols coach Cuonzo Martin identified the Panthers' 17 offensive rebounds as the key to the game, as it led to Pitt scoring 18 second-chance points to UT's four.

"If you're standing right next to a guy and they're getting the rebound, it's just effort and putting a body on somebody,'' said Martin, who harped on rebounding throughout the week. "That's the bottom line; I thought Nasir Robinson (nine offensive rebounds) did a great job dominating the game on the offensive glass.''

Asked about Vols' power forward Jeronne Maymon only getting one rebound, Martin replied: "Nasir Robinson won that battle.''

Gibbs and the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Robinson led the Panthers with 16 points each, and Robinson finished with 12 rebounds.

Pitt was playing its first game without injured junior point guard Tray Woodall, who averages 14.1 points and 8.3 assists. Gibbs assumed the point guard role and dished out six assists while the Panthers commited only six turnovers.

UT's Cameron Tatum recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Golden and Maymon had 12 points apiece.

"You don't get satisfied until you get a win,'' Tatum said. "Nobody remembers, and says 'good job coming close.'

"Winning at home is important. We have to protect this house.''

The Vols set out to do just that after Pitt matched its largest lead of the game on a Lamar Patterson 3-pointer that made it 58-50 with 1:46 left, sending many UT fans to the exits and leaving the arena half empty for the Vols' unlikely comeback.

A video review led to Gibbs being called for a flagrant foul with 54 seconds left, and Golden split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to seven.

The Vols retained possession, and Tatum drove the lane to cut the Panthers' lead to 58-53 with 43.5 seconds left.

Pitt proceeded to unravel, missing the front end of two one-and-one free throw situations (Patterson, Dante Taylor) before Golden's 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds left.

UT fouled immediately on the ensuing inbounds, and again, Pitt's Taylor missed the front end of a one-and-one with 10.9 seconds left.

Golden brought the ball upcourt and was met at the top of the key by Gibbs, who got both hands on the ball to force the pivotal change of possession.

The Vols led by as many as six points in the first half before the Panthers closed with a 7-0 run to take a 27-26 advantage into intermission.

UT junior Kenny Hall, who had a career-high 12 rebounds to go with his eight points, said Saturday's setback was a team loss.

"We weren't doing a good enough job of boxing out,'' Hall said. "I got 12 boards, but I still gave up a couple of them (rebounds) on physical offensive rebounds. I'm pretty sure over this next week we're going to be doing a lot of boxing out drills.''

Tennessee returns to action at noon next Saturday against Austin Peay (0-9).

Mike Griffith covers UT men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Mike Griffith32

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Comments » 87

D60 writes:

Going to be a long year in BB too

volcraze writes:

I am really not a fan of the Big East. I'm from PA so this loss hurt. Just have to keep improving. Martin will see to it.

lomas98 writes:

Winnable game. Too many unforced errors ending with golden dribbling right into a tied ball. If Pitt hit their free throws down stretch it wouldn't have come down to that. Best defensive game all year. Good effort again but have to win some of these.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

Trae dude please learn to use the screen. Trying to dribble between 2 defender spells trouble. Coach, whatever reason you feel McBee must be in the game you got to know he has no floor speed an against superior athletic teams is a major liability on defense. Vols played hard, but Pitt exposed weaknesses in rebounding. As for the crowd, another wine and caviar crew. Even the TV announcers called them out as sitting on their hands. Maybe if they insert cattle prods in the seats they can get that crowd to stand.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

golden will eventually be an outstanding ball player. Coach needs to work with him to be a team player instead of trying to do too much. That was a horrible performance in last 10 seconds by our pg.

volfan2002 writes:

All of these players except Tatum has very little experience playing college basketball. Failure to stop their offensive rebounding and some really bad turnovers cost us this game. Just have to hope we get better as the season goes on.

tomkats3242 writes:

Same story different sport. Hamilton has fixed us good for several more years until someone at UT hires turnaround coaches and recruits SMART players. It is hard to watch high school players wearing orange uniforms in both sports. I love the Orange but am disgusted with junior college coaches. NO MORE MONEY from this house hold for junior college games. Fans need to stay home till the fix is made.

One_in_West_Knox writes:

CCM:
I wish these guys can play Kentucky, Duke, and other high-ranked teams more often than scheduled (even if they do lose more than they win and may not always get to the Big Dance) as it may show them why these other teams are highly ranked and yet more titles may soon come to them.
And please, as for exhaustion and jet lag, remember what happened with Connecticut last season (winning 5 games in 5 days and 6 more games to an NCAA title, even beating Kentucky), unless there is an investigation into Connecticut having superhuman androids.

jt45 writes:

Really bad defense, Pit wasn't very good and we still found a way to lose the game. The worst part was watching them get multiple shots on each possession. At times they didn't even attempt to rebound or block out. Turnovers are killing this team. The screen and turnover near the end was sad, it almost looked like Maymon was playing defense the way he set that screen.
Judging by how their playing now they need to stick to a run and gun offense because they are really bad at controlling the ball. There were some glimpses of excellent playing but ball control and turnovers like that couldn't win against many teams. Tatum just walks back up the court sometimes and I dont know why CC allows that. Its getting hard to watch this team lose games that they could have won with a little more effort and some rebounding.

tulelakevol writes:

At the game, and as someone mentioned above, it was the wine and caviar crowd! No home court advantage for us whatsoever. Vol fans should be ashamed for that pathetic showing. Some jerk even told me to sit down, believe that? Thompson Boling = a nursing home.

pcshowtime writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What Bruce Became are you serious I know he had a problem with a minor infraction and then broke the cardinal rule and lied about. Therefore, he lost his job. However, less remember what he did do for the first time I can remember at Tenn there was a reason to be excited about mens basketball. He brought in top ten recruiting classes year after year. Played a fun up pace offense and defense that people enjoyed watching. But the most important thing is he had a excitement around this program and he put butts in the seats and sold out that big arena. Did he make a mistake yes some minor ones and then he lied about it that is bad. I wish there was a way we could have kept him as our coach but it was not to be. That arena I am talking about will be half full by mid-season. It is just what it is. I hope coach martin makes me eat these words but I do not see it happening.

crmcm44#321757 writes:

The only constant is the inconsistency. Bad decision at a critical time is the hallmark of this team.

sly_stone99#434111 writes:

Folks you don't lose Hopson & Harris and expect to play at the same level like last year. Martin is getting the most out of what he has. There are glaring weaknesses on defense, rebounding and point guard play. But Coach Martin will address this through coaching and recruiting. Even the announcers said we are rebuilding.

ACWLY writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

Trae dude please learn to use the screen. Trying to dribble between 2 defender spells trouble. Coach, whatever reason you feel McBee must be in the game you got to know he has no floor speed an against superior athletic teams is a major liability on defense. Vols played hard, but Pitt exposed weaknesses in rebounding. As for the crowd, another wine and caviar crew. Even the TV announcers called them out as sitting on their hands. Maybe if they insert cattle prods in the seats they can get that crowd to stand.

Well Sly, you obviously haven't been a fan as long as the ones you just TRASHED, you see we've sat thru over 30 years of "Wait til Next year" and next year has never came. We might just step down as fans and let YOU take over. OH THATS RIGHT YOU WERE NOT AT THE GAME? Where were you? the team needed your enthusiasm.

osbymartin75 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True statement! Thats why we have given up on trying to with you!

tennrich1 writes:

I hate to say this but I really thought our team looked worn out...the legs left them late in the first half and began walking and hands on thighs...But in the end Pitt was too good for this team...we played hard...and I know K. Hall works hard but I just dont see where he's the answer...hopefully the other bigs will get some meaningful time down low...D.Miller I think can be a player in time...

tennrich1 writes:

in response to osbymartin75:

True statement! Thats why we have given up on trying to with you!

Oh man that bait just looked too good to you didnt it...you had to hit it like a Florida bass...and Bodeane is laughing out loud right now...

eduardo writes:

Maybe should of sped them up some considering they were playing w/o their starting pg

CoverOrange writes:

Some observations:
Selfish play with Trae trying to drive on 4 blue jerseys on a break away.
This team doesn't know how to set and use screens at all. Noticed this during the Duke game.
Despite both teams being defense minded, very few fouls called.
Kenny Hall played hard but didn't get n foul trouble. Makanwhatever showed why he is a freshman.
Lunging after someone setting up for a shot in a desperate attempt to block or alter their shot means you've already lost that battle.
Pitt easily hit 10-12 footers. Can't remember if we attempted any.

sstout1968 writes:

Weak underneath,need rebounding work real bad....ut has talent out there their just not using it, and what about some of the freshmen out there...at this point would it really hurt giving them some play time, got a good up and comming guard out there with Galen Campbell, might have only high school exp, but the kid has skills... and with the lack of underneath coverage give him a chance out there,

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

It's a five-point loss to the #17 team in the country. BTW, we held THEM to 61 points...not too shabby. Let's not throw in the towel just yet, please.

jt45 writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pit hadn't beat any Good teams this year and compared to some of the other big east teams Iv'e seen play they looked pretty bad and if you think standing flat footed and allowing multiple shots per possession is hustling and good D then you haven't watched the same teams I have this year. I know this team needs time to get better but that doesn't make them any less frustrating to watch. Despite Pits ranking UT could and should have won this game, anything less is just more of the same that we have had all year.
Moral Victories dont count where it matters. Oh and by the way UT was averaging more PPG than Pit so why shouldn't we have expected them to win ?

VolunteerLifer writes:

I thought this was a very good effort. UT looks like a very well-coached team. With a few exceptions, they played good defense. And they were much better defensively on the perimeter. They are looking better with this new offense with each game. We lost this game because we missed open shots in the second half. We do not have a pure shooter on our team like some others we have faced, like Gibbs today. Those criticizing Golden for the last play need to remember that he is an early season sophomore who saw limited action in his freshman year. I thought he distributed the ball nicely in this game. McRae is a liability at shooting guard - he is not a good jump shooter. But he is also an early-season sophomore with a large upside, like Golden. (If this were my team, I would toy with moving Tatum to shooting guard and bringing in someone else - Woolridge or Richardson - to small forward) I like how Hall is coming along, Tatum is playing better than last year, and Maymon looks terrific.

Fans need to remember that we lost today to a ranked team, a ver good program. Before this season had started, we were given no chance to play with this team. Even though we haven't learned yet to win games like this, you can see it coming. This coach has done a very good job with this team so far.

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to jt45:

Pit hadn't beat any Good teams this year and compared to some of the other big east teams Iv'e seen play they looked pretty bad and if you think standing flat footed and allowing multiple shots per possession is hustling and good D then you haven't watched the same teams I have this year. I know this team needs time to get better but that doesn't make them any less frustrating to watch. Despite Pits ranking UT could and should have won this game, anything less is just more of the same that we have had all year.
Moral Victories dont count where it matters. Oh and by the way UT was averaging more PPG than Pit so why shouldn't we have expected them to win ?

PPG mean nothing, thats a function of who you have played and and cant look at 1 stat and disregard all others

Sir_Spanky writes:

Hate to say it, but Tennessee is pathetic in all the sports that matter. The athletic department is at the lowest point since I started following them.

OwensboroVol writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

Folks you don't lose Hopson & Harris and expect to play at the same level like last year. Martin is getting the most out of what he has. There are glaring weaknesses on defense, rebounding and point guard play. But Coach Martin will address this through coaching and recruiting. Even the announcers said we are rebuilding.

He signed a large number of players last spring. Where are those guys? A lot of the posters here who believe that Tennessee Coaches are infallible called me stupid and other insults when I questioned whether the players Martin was signing were capable of competing at the SEC level. These guys were slobbering all over themselves and each other everytime Martin signed an unheard of player that he had been recruiting to play "B" level basketball in the Biddy Basketball league or whatever that 2nd rate Basketball league Missouri State was in. Well Guys, where are all of those All World Players who were going to lead the Vols past the NCAA Championship right into the NBA Championship. You were so busy with your man love affair with Martin that you failed to realize one thing, IT TAKES TALENT TO WIN WHEN YOU PLAY THE BIG BOYS. You idiots deserve everything you get!

IamaVol writes:

Kentucky starts a younger team then Tennessee and is ranked #1 in the country.How can we start recruiting players to come here like UK?

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to tennrich1:

I hate to say this but I really thought our team looked worn out...the legs left them late in the first half and began walking and hands on thighs...But in the end Pitt was too good for this team...we played hard...and I know K. Hall works hard but I just dont see where he's the answer...hopefully the other bigs will get some meaningful time down low...D.Miller I think can be a player in time...

I'm still trying to figure out why Skylar McBee, as this is his junior year, I believe, has not been trying to be more than just a three-point threat on the court (opponents know to better defend him on the perimeter and that's probably why the consecutive game three-point streak ended), and why Cameron Tatum, in his senior year, is not more of a key player.

BxVol writes:

in response to kiffinsux:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As a Tennessee fan since 1967 I`m very disappointed with the remarks about Coach Pearl and Coach Martin.Bruce Pearl did a great job for the University, 6 straight NCAA trips and I will leave it at that since I could go on and on..Personally, I think the University should have retained him, but they did not and now we have Coach Martin.If you are a real Vol fan you will support this coach 100%.Give the man a chance,not this we looked great against Duke and Memphis, and most everyone loved him, and now that we lose to Oakland and Pitt,I read the opposite.Remember how Coach K started at Duke? It`s way too early to judge the hire of Coach Martin, and I for one hope he has tremendous success, and if you are all Vol how can you not wish the same?

GerryOP writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whoops! Syracuse 72 - Florida 68

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Some observations:
Selfish play with Trae trying to drive on 4 blue jerseys on a break away.
This team doesn't know how to set and use screens at all. Noticed this during the Duke game.
Despite both teams being defense minded, very few fouls called.
Kenny Hall played hard but didn't get n foul trouble. Makanwhatever showed why he is a freshman.
Lunging after someone setting up for a shot in a desperate attempt to block or alter their shot means you've already lost that battle.
Pitt easily hit 10-12 footers. Can't remember if we attempted any.

I mentioned this at times on radio programs over the past few years and on some posts. What is it with this team and the lack of mid-range jump shots??

jayrokey writes:

Better than i expected...keep playin hard and all of your wildest dreams will come true

TheRealDragonSlayer writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As another poster has already said, that is the reason your mother and all of us on this site have stopped trying with you. She tried until her end. You are what you are...a stupid Gator fan whose own daughter refuses to see you when you visit Gville.

Yup. You just cant fix stupid.

1vavolfan writes:

The first game I have attended of the MArtin era. Just some random thoughts:

*11.6 to go we get a rebound and have 1 timeout left. Why don't we call it? Not like we have experience or had been executing all night.

*Yemi got beat on 3 screen and rolls in a row. 6 points we couldn't afford to lose. My 5th Grade AAU team can defend screen rolls, I am sure these are basic plays even in Nigeria. Not sure why CCM played Yemi and Miller at the same time so often.

*Expected more after the showing in Maui, teams can now watch film on UT and have somewhat figured out how to defend them, especially Golden and Maymon.

* At least we are in all of the games, the sky is not falling but not sure we are a tournament team or not.

*Crowd was larger than I expected and even somehat loud

eduardo writes:

in response to IamaVol:

Kentucky starts a younger team then Tennessee and is ranked #1 in the country.How can we start recruiting players to come here like UK?

Start giving them thorough breds and lifetime memberships to wildcat lodge and there ya go! This reign of terror will not last long at Kenlucky. Calimari will be found out and they will have to vacate everything in sight. It is not a matter of if but when! I hate kenlucky!

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to IamaVol:

Kentucky starts a younger team then Tennessee and is ranked #1 in the country.How can we start recruiting players to come here like UK?

Every Tennessee fan and every Tennessee coach since before Ray Mears has asked that very question, and with few exceptions have never found the answer.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

He signed a large number of players last spring. Where are those guys? A lot of the posters here who believe that Tennessee Coaches are infallible called me stupid and other insults when I questioned whether the players Martin was signing were capable of competing at the SEC level. These guys were slobbering all over themselves and each other everytime Martin signed an unheard of player that he had been recruiting to play "B" level basketball in the Biddy Basketball league or whatever that 2nd rate Basketball league Missouri State was in. Well Guys, where are all of those All World Players who were going to lead the Vols past the NCAA Championship right into the NBA Championship. You were so busy with your man love affair with Martin that you failed to realize one thing, IT TAKES TALENT TO WIN WHEN YOU PLAY THE BIG BOYS. You idiots deserve everything you get!

Hey, knucklehead, those players that he signed are FRESHMEN this year. Get the picture?

martinvol34 writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

Same story different sport. Hamilton has fixed us good for several more years until someone at UT hires turnaround coaches and recruits SMART players. It is hard to watch high school players wearing orange uniforms in both sports. I love the Orange but am disgusted with junior college coaches. NO MORE MONEY from this house hold for junior college games. Fans need to stay home till the fix is made.

Would you please stay on your own website? You could not be a VOL! We support out teams.

Katphan29 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Every Tennessee fan and every Tennessee coach since before Ray Mears has asked that very question, and with few exceptions have never found the answer.

Yea, UK is a hoop program, UT a football program. Its that simple.

born2ride writes:

in response to Katphan29:

Yea, UK is a hoop program, UT a football program. Its that simple.

We are football school that went 1-7 in the SEC and lost to Kentucky.

Give Martin 2 years and UT basketball will be in last place like football.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to born2ride:

We are football school that went 1-7 in the SEC and lost to Kentucky.

Give Martin 2 years and UT basketball will be in last place like football.

Such a damn whiner.... 7 games, and you're mailing it in...nice.

jt45 writes:

in response to yabadabadoo1026:

PPG mean nothing, thats a function of who you have played and and cant look at 1 stat and disregard all others

No kidding sherlock, my post was a reply wich you must not have read or you would know that my point was the same as yours.

UT2006 writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

At the game, and as someone mentioned above, it was the wine and caviar crowd! No home court advantage for us whatsoever. Vol fans should be ashamed for that pathetic showing. Some jerk even told me to sit down, believe that? Thompson Boling = a nursing home.

Ill agree that not only was the crowd sparse (I'm guessing it doesnt help when the SEC championship is going on) but it was pretty quite... in all fairness we tried to get into it early when we were leading in the first half, but timeouts, a weak defense along with a Pitt response with easy pick and rolls made it hard to sustain any kind of excitement... the major thing I was really diappointed about though was the mass exit under 3 minutes only down 8 points... this is a young team and when they see the crowd empty and give up on them what do you expect them to do? Luckily Gibbs got cocky and threw an elbow, Pitt couldn't make a free throw and we had a legitimate chance to win or send it to OT but only a hand full of people were even there... we might want to blame ADs, coaches, players or whatever, but its time for everyone to look in the mirror and decide what kind of fan base we want to be

BolivrBob writes:

Of course the game was them winning the offensive glass. Good defense, except that laps there on those high ball screens, for a while. Martin called time-out and stopped it, but that's how they got that 8 point lead that they were able to hold on to. Bad decision by Trae at the end going the wrong way on the high screen and getting tied up. He had 12 points and 6 assists, played pretty good over-all. Maymon only getting 1 rebound, killed us too. Tatum had a good game. Kenny's best game to date. Should not have had Skyler in on that last dead ball. The game was on the line and was just too slow. They were really just better than us but I think we are getting better.

westknoxrepub writes:

Yet another loss. . .Buzz Peterson lost close games. . .where is he now?

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to tulelakevol:

At the game, and as someone mentioned above, it was the wine and caviar crowd! No home court advantage for us whatsoever. Vol fans should be ashamed for that pathetic showing. Some jerk even told me to sit down, believe that? Thompson Boling = a nursing home.

That's what happens when you hire someone who brings no enthusiasm to the sport. Green won, arena still sucked, Martin's not even winning.

OwensboroVol writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Hey, knucklehead, those players that he signed are FRESHMEN this year. Get the picture?

So are Kentucky's, Dukes's, North Carolina's, ETC. ETC. You guys just like to make every excuse in the book except for the fact that Martin ran out and used up all of his Scholarships before he knew what he had to have to win at this level! You guys can continue to dream on but in a couple of more years you will be demanding his job.

walt23tn writes:

in response to sly_stone99#434111:

Trae dude please learn to use the screen. Trying to dribble between 2 defender spells trouble. Coach, whatever reason you feel McBee must be in the game you got to know he has no floor speed an against superior athletic teams is a major liability on defense. Vols played hard, but Pitt exposed weaknesses in rebounding. As for the crowd, another wine and caviar crew. Even the TV announcers called them out as sitting on their hands. Maybe if they insert cattle prods in the seats they can get that crowd to stand.

Completely agree about the crowd, and I hate it. It's amazing to watch KY, UNC, Duke, and other college fans in general continue to be invested in the game through the ups and downs. Not us though. One thing goes wrong and you can hear a pin drop. Same thing goes for us in football. We are not the best group of fans to be at a game. I think that's a big deal when it comes to recruits too.

slambob2#228938 writes:

Huge game from Cameron Tatum. And Kenny Hall is developing. Also, a lot of great drives to the hoop by Trae Golden.
I see a lot to be excited about with this team and these coaches.

lgilbert writes:

Was there and the crowd was as usual, mostly quite. We sit up top in 311A and were louder than the zombies on the floor seats. First move UT needs to take in at least getting a little noise all over is to put the students behind both goals. You know they will not put them down the both sides like most of your other basketball schools (want to save those high dollar seats for the dead meat that sits there) The 6 minute and 3 minute mass exodus has always been a burr in my saddle also. What a way to support your team, turn your back on them and walk out. Oh well, will continue to stay until the Waltz is played and then drive the 2 hour drive back home. It is GREAT TO BE A TRUE TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

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