Vols' four-game losing streak first since 2004-05

Martin: 'You can't get consumed with it'

Cuonzo Martin comments on College of Charleston game

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Four-game losing streaks are nothing new to Tennessee men's basketball, but don't expect first-year coach Cuonzo Martin to get comfortable with the notion.

Martin aims for UT to snap its losing streak when the Vols play host to UNC Asheville (6-4) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"You can't get consumed with it; you keep plugging, stay consistent, watch film and continue learning,'' Martin said Thursday. "The guys played hard last night (Wednesday), and they are learning. So it's a matter of continuing to play hard, getting over the hump and not turning the ball over.''

The College of Charleston rallied from a 13-point, first-half deficit to score a 71-65 win over the Vols on Wednesday night, taking advantage of 16 UT turnovers.

Tennessee's four-game losing streak is its first since the 2004-05 season, when former UT coach Buzz Peterson dropped four straight to Louisville (85-62), Kentucky (84-62), Auburn (62-59) and Vanderbilt (67-62).

The Vols suffered four-game losing streaks during five consecutive seasons between 2000-01 (former coach Jerry Green's final season) and each year of the Peterson era. Green also was the most recent coach to lose five in a row, in 2001.

In fact, prior to former coach Bruce Pearl, eight consecutive UT coaches had at least one four-game losing streak during their tenure dating back to John Mauer (1939-1947), who avoided losing four in a row.

Martin suffered through six-game and four-game losing streaks his first season as a head coach at Missouri State en route to an 11-20 record in 2008-09.

Martin, however, didn't lose more than two in a row in either of his next two seasons with the Bears prior to taking the UT coaching job last March.

"We just have to continue to compete,'' Martin said. "I thought the guys gave great effort. We have to do a better job defensively.''

Martin said he expects the Vols to show resilience.

"They'll come back with energy, like they have before,'' Martin said.

Martin said UT's ability to communicate with one another on defense will be one key to turning the team's fortunes around.

Austin Peay shot 72 percent in the second half of its 74-70 win over the Vols, and Charleston shot 65 percent in the second half on Wednesday night.

It's not a coincidence: in the first half, UT plays defense in front of the team bench, where Martin can yell instruction.

"When we go away from the bench, we need to do a better job communicating,'' Martin said. "I'm communicating a lot to the guys in the first half, just helping more than anything.''

Dynamic Dwight: UT junior college transfer Dwight Miller made his 13 minutes count Wednesday night.

Miller posted career highs with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in the 13 minutes he played against College of Charleston.

"I was tired of seeing my teammates being upset about losses in games we should have won,'' said Miller, who scored all 13 of his points in nine minutes of first-half action. "So I came off the bench with that passion and fire.''

Miller attributed his performance to preparation.

"We stressed coming in and focusing, making sure your head was where it needed to be,'' said Miller, who had eight points, four rebounds and a blocked shot in the 18 minutes he played in a 99-97 double-overtime loss to Memphis in the EA Sports Maui Invitational on Nov. 22. "Everyone had paid attention to the scouting report and were fired up.

"We felt we were on the right track. We understood coming in this (Charleston) was a great team, at 7-1, and they played well together. We had the mindset of continuing to do what we needed to do to be successful. Unfortunately, we had a couple of key turnovers.''

Martin said Charleston's switch to a zone defense led to him not playing Miller more minutes in the second half.

Tough Trae: Martin played sophomore Trae Golden for 35 minutes at point guard against the Cougars, while freshman backup Wes Washpun didn't see any action.

"Trae didn't look fatigued,'' Martin said, "but he had some key turnovers.''

Golden had nine points on 4-of-8 shooting along with five assists, three steals and five turnovers.

"We have to get Trae going offensively, where he's looking for that shot,'' Martin said. "I just tell him to play basketball, read the defense, find the shot or find the open guy.''

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

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Comments » 43

tulelakevol writes:

Buzz ball returns. Maybe the Vols can start winning again, this basketball season so far stinks.

CoverOrange writes:

Martin can coach defense when they are within earshot but apparently cannot coach offense when the court is reversed. That zone was so extended there should have been plenty of gaps down low.

scvols writes:

I have never seen a team play so poor on defense .... well, not counting football.

ACWLY writes:

They just keep getting worse so I wonder, what are they learning?

After sound defeats from A-Peay and the C of C you can bet the house this team will set the all time loss record, maybe not against Asheville or the Citadel but when we begin SEC play the RECORDS WILL FALL. SAD very SAD

Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free writes:

Just think back to those moral victories over Duke and Memphis. Oh how we miss the good 'ole days. At least there's the bowl game to .....oops. Keep up the good work and GO VAWLZ!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Wow! I certainly agree that we have to get Trae going! We've had way too many sloppy turnovers...the embarrassing kind!! But this IS a young team and you expect some of that.
Has anyone counted the # of missed 3s in the last game? At one point I think it was about 10 in a row(it seemed). Make 2 of those and we win!!
Of course IF McRae had missed any we would have lost by more.
It was an evenly matched game I guess. I felt we had more talent but didn't play as well together. They, like other teams we've played, had a "go to guy" that kept them in the game and pulled it out for them. BUT more than that they didn't seem disjointed (good guard play) like we did in the 2nd half. Their zone threw us for loops!?
I don't get why the zone is so hard to beat? Give it to Maymon? I think Miller might could get around the posts? Heck work the ball to McRae till he misses a few(or makes them).
Defensive stops. Why can't we get some in the second half. I know there were some BAD calls but that didn't lose the game.
Hey it's 6: am and I ain't awake yet. more coffee please

arkyvol writes:

another one of hapless, hopeless, hammy's heirlooms. the man had a reverse midas touch.

TommyJack writes:

Yeah, let's run Conzo out of town. Man stepped into a bucket of dooky, hasn't really had one recruiting class, and has coached 9 games or so. Seems being fired is fair.

RoadTrip writes:

"We have to get Trae going offensively, where he's looking for that shot,'' Martin said.

Did I read that correctly? The last game excluded - take a look at what happened when he did that ever since you got back from Hawaii, Coach Zo. I have been in your corner since you signed up. But I am going to rethink this. You refuse to play a zone defense despite being outmatched in talent. Your PG has no clue how to attach a zone and feed the ball to the open man - yet you make statements like the one above. The lack of team play is really noticeable.

This is looking like a disaster in the making. If it continues at best it's Buzzball. At worst its Wade Houston 2.0. I sat in TBA with a couple of thousand of my goofy friends to watch the later. Not going to do that again.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

"We have to get Trae going offensively, where he's looking for that shot,'' Martin said.

Did I read that correctly? The last game excluded - take a look at what happened when he did that ever since you got back from Hawaii, Coach Zo. I have been in your corner since you signed up. But I am going to rethink this. You refuse to play a zone defense despite being outmatched in talent. Your PG has no clue how to attach a zone and feed the ball to the open man - yet you make statements like the one above. The lack of team play is really noticeable.

This is looking like a disaster in the making. If it continues at best it's Buzzball. At worst its Wade Houston 2.0. I sat in TBA with a couple of thousand of my goofy friends to watch the later. Not going to do that again.

Are you sure you've been in Martin's corner from the beginning? I have I think seen you post before and I've read this same stuff that criticizes Martin and compares him to previous coaches. In my humble opinion I'm not convinced Buzz nor Houston had enough time to develop a program BUT they did have more than 9 games!!lol

Supersayin1 writes:

BRUCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

arkyvol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yeah, let's run Conzo out of town. Man stepped into a bucket of dooky, hasn't really had one recruiting class, and has coached 9 games or so. Seems being fired is fair.

nothing against cuonzo. i'm sure he's a fine fellow, but any hire by mike hamilton, be it head coach or janitor, comes with a presumption of incompetence. that seems to be proving out in all areas.

born2ride writes:

Martin reminds me of Wade Houston. Except Martin did not bring an All American son with him.

brokebackvol writes:

in response to ACWLY:

They just keep getting worse so I wonder, what are they learning?

After sound defeats from A-Peay and the C of C you can bet the house this team will set the all time loss record, maybe not against Asheville or the Citadel but when we begin SEC play the RECORDS WILL FALL. SAD very SAD

Were you not around for the Wade Houston era? It couldn't really get any worse than that period of low performing basketball at UT.

bigdisbig writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yeah, let's run Conzo out of town. Man stepped into a bucket of dooky, hasn't really had one recruiting class, and has coached 9 games or so. Seems being fired is fair.

One can't blame fans for being frustrated at Martin for losing to Austin Peay. He is a clone of Dooley's it seems. I don't advocate running him out of town but I do feel he is lacking in coaching skills. I am tired of hearing him talk about communication. If these guys are playing defense only in front of the bench where he sits then HE is the one who needs to communicate DEFENSE ON BOTH SIDES. He has guys on the bench wanting to play. If I had a player NOT playing defense I would sit his lazy butt on the bench and replace him with someone who can guard someone. Allowing Charleston shoot over 70% is absolutely pathetic. He seemingly can talk the talk but can't walk the walk in coaching. He is 3-6 and hasn't hit the SEC yet. Like Dooley, his coaching skills have been an embarassment to the University of Tennessee.
It seems his recruiting skills aren't much better thus far.

underthehill writes:

Coach Martin is and has been a total class act since coming to UT. His understanding of player-coach relationships is reason to hope for improvement. He appears to have the respect and confidence of the players. He has not made excuses but is doing the best he can with what he has to work with. I continue to see reason to believe Martin will be a success. Comparing him to Dooley is nonsense.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to underthehill:

Coach Martin is and has been a total class act since coming to UT. His understanding of player-coach relationships is reason to hope for improvement. He appears to have the respect and confidence of the players. He has not made excuses but is doing the best he can with what he has to work with. I continue to see reason to believe Martin will be a success. Comparing him to Dooley is nonsense.

Not sure what you are talking about or how you know he has the respect of the players. They don't respect him enough to play defense or to play like they even care if they win or not. Most of the losses outside of Duke and Memphis came down to wanting it enough. The "class" and "dignity" is meaningless if you can't win games.

samvol writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

well one thing is for sure, you couldn’t make a difference.

samvol writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

"We have to get Trae going offensively, where he's looking for that shot,'' Martin said.

Did I read that correctly? The last game excluded - take a look at what happened when he did that ever since you got back from Hawaii, Coach Zo. I have been in your corner since you signed up. But I am going to rethink this. You refuse to play a zone defense despite being outmatched in talent. Your PG has no clue how to attach a zone and feed the ball to the open man - yet you make statements like the one above. The lack of team play is really noticeable.

This is looking like a disaster in the making. If it continues at best it's Buzzball. At worst its Wade Houston 2.0. I sat in TBA with a couple of thousand of my goofy friends to watch the later. Not going to do that again.

another silly comment from a couch coach. umm how basketball games have you played...not counting wheelchair games...keep it moving, you will not be missed!

underthehill writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

Not sure what you are talking about or how you know he has the respect of the players. They don't respect him enough to play defense or to play like they even care if they win or not. Most of the losses outside of Duke and Memphis came down to wanting it enough. The "class" and "dignity" is meaningless if you can't win games.

Most of the losses including Duke and Memphis came down to not having enough talent and basketball fundamental skills at this time. "Wanting it enough" is meaningless unless you have the talent and skills to make it happen. This is what Martin is being paid to resolve and I think/hope he will get it done. Are you confusing basketball with football when you speak of playing like they don't care if they win or lose?

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

One thing about Buzz and the last 4 game losing streak - that streak was to quality SEC type opponents. We have lost to lesser quality teams. I don't quite understand the love for Golden - if he is having a bad night, would Washpun be worse?

Bubba_Knows writes:

Problem is this team can't shoot from the outside. Why any team would play anything other than a zone defense against TN is beyond me. The game agaist Duke was impressive because UT passed well and took it inside. That is the ONLY reason why TN was in the game. They might as well pass on the 3's - they are not good enough to consistently beat anyone from outside.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to brokebackvol:

Were you not around for the Wade Houston era? It couldn't really get any worse than that period of low performing basketball at UT.

Nothing was worse than Wade Houston's last year!

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

One thing about Buzz and the last 4 game losing streak - that streak was to quality SEC type opponents. We have lost to lesser quality teams. I don't quite understand the love for Golden - if he is having a bad night, would Washpun be worse?

The only UT coach worse than Buzz Peterson was Wade Houston.

1vavolfan writes:

in response to underthehill:

Most of the losses including Duke and Memphis came down to not having enough talent and basketball fundamental skills at this time. "Wanting it enough" is meaningless unless you have the talent and skills to make it happen. This is what Martin is being paid to resolve and I think/hope he will get it done. Are you confusing basketball with football when you speak of playing like they don't care if they win or lose?

So UT is talented enough to play Memphis and Duke close but not talented enough to beat Austin Peay, Charleston and Oakland? Sorry but a little inspiration would have at least won the APU game. Tennessee had more talent than 3 of the teams it lost against.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to 1vavolfan:

So UT is talented enough to play Memphis and Duke close but not talented enough to beat Austin Peay, Charleston and Oakland? Sorry but a little inspiration would have at least won the APU game. Tennessee had more talent than 3 of the teams it lost against.

Austin Peay - absolutely no argument that you are correct, but lets not forget UT lost to Charleston and Oakland with a better team last year.

underthehill writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

Austin Peay - absolutely no argument that you are correct, but lets not forget UT lost to Charleston and Oakland with a better team last year.

Bubba is right.. and last year they did it in Knoxville.

kazoo writes:

This team does know how to play defense--or does not want to--and until it does it will keep losing games. It's pretty simple, really. Charleston shot 50 percent for the game--65 percent in second half. That's pathetic. The same thing happened the previous three or four games--no defense. Play better, tougher defense--or lose. I thought Martin was a tough-minded defensive-oriented coach. I guess I got that wrong.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Wow! I certainly agree that we have to get Trae going! We've had way too many sloppy turnovers...the embarrassing kind!! But this IS a young team and you expect some of that.
Has anyone counted the # of missed 3s in the last game? At one point I think it was about 10 in a row(it seemed). Make 2 of those and we win!!
Of course IF McRae had missed any we would have lost by more.
It was an evenly matched game I guess. I felt we had more talent but didn't play as well together. They, like other teams we've played, had a "go to guy" that kept them in the game and pulled it out for them. BUT more than that they didn't seem disjointed (good guard play) like we did in the 2nd half. Their zone threw us for loops!?
I don't get why the zone is so hard to beat? Give it to Maymon? I think Miller might could get around the posts? Heck work the ball to McRae till he misses a few(or makes them).
Defensive stops. Why can't we get some in the second half. I know there were some BAD calls but that didn't lose the game.
Hey it's 6: am and I ain't awake yet. more coffee please

You and coverorange have some good points. The key to beating a zone is not passing around it and then heaving it up from outside, it is penetrating the zone, either on the dribble or with a pass, and then either taking mid-range shots in the middle of it or letting it collapse and then passing out for a OPEN outside shot. Our big men aren't moving into the open spots and demanding the ball. Because they aren't active that way, they are also unable to take advantage of the zone's lack of natural block-out assignments to rebound offensively. The guards are reluctant to drive the gaps AND reluctant to pass through them. That must change.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

One can't blame fans for being frustrated at Martin for losing to Austin Peay. He is a clone of Dooley's it seems. I don't advocate running him out of town but I do feel he is lacking in coaching skills. I am tired of hearing him talk about communication. If these guys are playing defense only in front of the bench where he sits then HE is the one who needs to communicate DEFENSE ON BOTH SIDES. He has guys on the bench wanting to play. If I had a player NOT playing defense I would sit his lazy butt on the bench and replace him with someone who can guard someone. Allowing Charleston shoot over 70% is absolutely pathetic. He seemingly can talk the talk but can't walk the walk in coaching. He is 3-6 and hasn't hit the SEC yet. Like Dooley, his coaching skills have been an embarassment to the University of Tennessee.
It seems his recruiting skills aren't much better thus far.

Pearl used to say the same thing, especially about the offense. He often said that the team played well when they were in front of him so he could call plays but not so well when they were at the other basket. The common denominator in both is the sense that most modern players just play the game in their own heads, apparently thinking it is uncool to actually communicate with each other on the court. When I played, I would work with my teammates on eye signals and hand gestures to coordinate plays, and ALWAYS to talk on defense; nowadays, most guys just seem to stare off into space when they are on the court and the play isn't obviously directed at them.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

Problem is this team can't shoot from the outside. Why any team would play anything other than a zone defense against TN is beyond me. The game agaist Duke was impressive because UT passed well and took it inside. That is the ONLY reason why TN was in the game. They might as well pass on the 3's - they are not good enough to consistently beat anyone from outside.

They can shoot threes when the right players are taking them at the right time from the right spots. This team's 3-pt percentage is much better than last year's. Most of the misses have come from rushed, contested shots, taken too early in the clock so the rest of them aren't ready either to rebound offensively or get back on defense. Duke made a special effort to run the Vols off the the 3-pt line BECAUSE they knew the Vols could shoot them well. When they haven't shot them well, it has been because they lack the maturity to get the right shots for the right people at the right times.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to kazoo:

This team does know how to play defense--or does not want to--and until it does it will keep losing games. It's pretty simple, really. Charleston shot 50 percent for the game--65 percent in second half. That's pathetic. The same thing happened the previous three or four games--no defense. Play better, tougher defense--or lose. I thought Martin was a tough-minded defensive-oriented coach. I guess I got that wrong.

I think Martin IS a tough-minded, defensive-oriented coach; it's just that most of his players aren't. I takes time to change players' habits. For myself, I think THIS team would be better served by playing more zone. If nothing else, the help-side defenders would already be in place instead of having to try to react after a drive has already started. The Vols have enough long-armed perimeter defenders to challenge outside shots without running at the shooters and leaving themselves open to shot fakes. Just learning to stay on the floor in balance with hands raised would stop both the wide-open threes and the unopposed drives to the basket.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

goooooooo South Carolin and BEAT Oh. St.!!! SC won the first half anyhow...if anyone cares. Goooooo SEC!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

They can shoot threes when the right players are taking them at the right time from the right spots. This team's 3-pt percentage is much better than last year's. Most of the misses have come from rushed, contested shots, taken too early in the clock so the rest of them aren't ready either to rebound offensively or get back on defense. Duke made a special effort to run the Vols off the the 3-pt line BECAUSE they knew the Vols could shoot them well. When they haven't shot them well, it has been because they lack the maturity to get the right shots for the right people at the right times.

PLUS they should try aiming a bit. LMAO!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Tn. better watch it against S. Car.! It seems they ave a go to guy in Cook.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Tn. better watch it against S. Car.! It seems they ave a go to guy in Cook.

South Carolina? Hell, they can't beat Austin Peay. They have to worry about every team they play.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

South Carolina? Hell, they can't beat Austin Peay. They have to worry about every team they play.

Yes ...I assume you mean UT, 'cause S.CAR. looked good today against Ohio St.
I hope they ARE worried.
But if Chattanooga wins tonight against Kentucky then ???
it could happen!?

Etown_volfan writes:

CM better hope the 4-game losing streaks don't continue. I realize this is a young team and CM hasn't had the chance to coach even 1 recruiting class yet. However, after watching a couple of games so far, I'm not sure he's the one for the job at UT. This team is horrible defensively! Regardless of the players, I don't see anything inspiring in his schemes. I don't think Golden is a true point guard so that hurts. They don't have anyone other than possibly Maymon that's a "go to" person to get a bucket. Unfortunately, it appears UT got just what they hired in both football and basketball staffs, i.e. bargain basement coaches. In today's sports market, if you want a good coach you have to open the check book. Nuff said...Go Vols!

NottaVol writes:

The headline is wrong, this is the Vols first four game losing streak since October.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Yes ...I assume you mean UT, 'cause S.CAR. looked good today against Ohio St.
I hope they ARE worried.
But if Chattanooga wins tonight against Kentucky then ???
it could happen!?

Yes I mean UT who lost to lowly Austin Peay. After losing to Austin Peay, Vols can't look past anyone on their schedule.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Ok. UT don't have to worry about Chattanooga this year. Kentucky did not look to be trying very hard and just dominated Chattanooga at every position. Chris it's NOT the coach. Chattanooga(like UT) can't shoot and takes way too many 3s.

drussell2k2#580001 writes:

Whew!!! be glad to get rid of 2011: Football, Pat, and now this...I don't remember a year when things were this low surrounding the Vols program...2012 has to be better...right???

johnlg00 writes:

in response to drussell2k2#580001:

Whew!!! be glad to get rid of 2011: Football, Pat, and now this...I don't remember a year when things were this low surrounding the Vols program...2012 has to be better...right???

We can only HOPE so, buddy! At least the Lady Vols and their fans can still hold their heads up in public. It's not too late for the basketVols, but some things--NOT firing the coach--have to change for the better SOON. Most of the burden is on the players, but some of it is on Martin, too.

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