Tennessee's young basketball team learned a painful lesson on Saturday in a n embarrassing home loss to Austin Peay.
"We have to play as a unit more than anything," UT coach Cuonzo Martin said in the wake of the 74-70 loss to the Governors (2-9). "We have to play with mental and physical toughness, not with a lot of arrogance, because that's when you get in trouble.
"We don't have the luxury of going one-on-one consistently; When the guy is open, pass the ball
and good things happen."
It sounds simple enough, but with four new starters and roles still being defined, players are still realizing their abilities and limitations.
As much as the Vols (3-5) learned on Saturday, they were in store for more of an education on Sunday as they began initial preparations for College of Charleston (7-1) on Wednesday (TV: ESPN2, 9 p.m.).
"We're going to come in (Sunday), watch the film, and we're going to get an earful," said UT post Kenny Hall, who was one of the few bright spots in the loss to Austin Peay with 12 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven rebounds off the offensive glass.
"The way Coach is, he's going to keep rewinding it and rewinding it so that image of what we were doing wrong is going to stick with us."
Power forward Jeronne Maymon, who like Hall had a strong outing with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with nine rebounds against Austin Peay, echoed Martin's sentiments.
"You just have to play together as a team, have better chemistry and trust each other," Maymon said. "Every loss, you can take something from the game."
Shooting guard Skylar McBee, who leads UT in 3-point shooting percentage (13 of 26 for 50 percent), said it's important the team stay close.
"Nobody likes to lose, but we have to keep a positive mind-set," said McBee, who had nine points in his 21 minutes against Austin Peay. "You cannot be satisfied with losing, but you can't start blaming each other. We have to stay together. We have to continue to build our team chemistry."
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32