Streak goes cold: Alabama's second-half surge keys 62-50 win

Martin: Tide 'came out ready to fight'

Tennessee's Jordan McRae (52) flips over Alabama guard Trevor Lacey (3) under Alabama's basket during the second half of a game of an NCAA college basketball game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter)

Photo by AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter

Tennessee's Jordan McRae (52) flips over Alabama guard Trevor Lacey (3) under Alabama's basket during the second half of a game of an NCAA college basketball game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 (AP Photo/The Tuscaloosa News, Michelle Lepianka Carter)

Cuonzo Martin on the 62-50 loss at Alabama

Jarnell Stokes on the 62-50 loss at Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Tennessee men's basketball team hit a crimson brick wall Saturday afternoon.

It came in the form of a depleted Alabama squad that had its top two scorers suspended and was missing another starter due to an infected wisdom tooth.

Alabama (17-9, 6-6 SEC) scored a 62-50 victory over the Vols (14-13, 6-6) before a sold-out crowd of 12,998 at Coleman Coliseum, snapping UT's four-game win streak.

"One thing I talked to our guys about was that an (Alabama) team this hungry will find a way to win this game,'' UT coach Cuonzo Martin said. "They will come out ready to fight. They will scratch and claw their way to a win, and they did just that from start to finish.''

The Tide used a 20-3 run in the second half to break open a game that was tied at 32-32 with 17 minutes left to play.

Jeronne Maymon led the Vols with 20 points, and Trae Golden had 12. Freshman Trevor Lacy led the Tide with 18 points, and Trevor Releford added 13.

But Alabama's defense was the real key to the game.

UT was forced into 12 of its 17 turnovers in the second half by the athletic and active Alabama defenders, who were seemingly at every turn. Nearly half of the Vols' turnovers came during a 9-minute span during the Tide's pivotal 20-3 surge.

"I didn't think we found the correct way to get past the press,'' said Golden, who had six turnovers. "There were things we needed to do differently ... we weren't aggressive, and that's what you have to do against the press.

"Their run and jump (press) was really effective tonight.''

A Carl Engstrom basket sparked the run at the 16:57 mark, and two Moussa Gueye free throws ended it with 7:51 left and Alabama up 52-35.

Tennessee turned the ball over eight times during the Tide's run and made just one of 13 shot attempts in that span.

When Jarnell Stokes scored on a basket inside with 4:58 left it represented the Vols' first field goal since the 10:12 mark.

"We didn't make shots, that was the big thing, and the press sort of bothered us,'' said Stokes, who had eight points and a team-high eight rebounds. "The double teams were coming (inside) and people were in the passing lanes.''

The Vols' perimeter shooters failed to capitalize on the collapsing defense. Skylar McBee and Cam Tatum each finished 0-for-6 shooting, and UT was a cumulative 4-of-20 (20 percent) shooting beyond the 3-point arc and 15-of-44 (34.1 percent) from the floor.

UT was playing its second game without junior center Kenny Hall, who was suspended indefinitely prior to the Vols' win over Arkansas on Wednesday for conduct detrimental to the team. Martin said freshman Josh Richardson was limited to 15 minutes because of flu-like symptoms.

Hall's presence on the front line was missed as Stokes picked up two quick fouls and played only three minutes of the first half as the Tide finished with a 37-31 advantage on the boards.

Richardson certainly was not in shut-down mode on the perimeter and finished just 0-for-2 shooting in a game that saw only four UT players make a basket.

The Vols weren't as short-handed as Alabama. The Tide was missing first-team All-SEC forward JaMychal Green (14.1 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game) and starting forward Tony Mitchell (13.1 points, seven rebounds), both to suspensions. Nick Jacobs, who had assumed a starting role at forward, was also held out on account of an infected wisdom tooth.

"Once again, it goes to effort style of play-wise,'' said Alabama coach Anthony Grant, whose team had a season-high 15 steals. "Their shots didn't fall and that played well for us on offense and defense.''

Alabama held a 29-25 advantage at the half behind Lacey's 12 points through the first 20 minutes. The Vols' guards couldn't stay in front of the 6-foot-3 freshman, nor did UT challenge him on the back end of the defense.

UT led by as many as five points early when Maymon scored on a put-back basket to cap a 7-0 run and make it 13-8 at the 12:18 mark.

Martin said that Jordan McRae, who had a scary fall during the second half, suffered only bruising and his status isn't expected to be affected. McRae returned to the game after flipping over an Alabama player.

Tennessee returns to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday (TV: CSS) at Thompson-Boling Arena against Ole Miss (15-10, 5-6). The Rebels lost 77-62 at No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday.

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

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Comments » 138

VolGrad writes:

Never got going in this one. O well. On to the next....

Go Vols!

westknoxrepub writes:

Now, let's put to bed this NCAA tournament nonsense, and just hope we can get to the post season at all. This loss proves we need a point guard, but too late to sign one of those.

writer#358485 writes:

Disappointing loss. We missed Hall, I hope he gets his act together soon. Still, I think the season already is better than anyone predicted. We still have things to play for and Martin definitely knows what he's doing. I look for us to be really good next year, Rome wasn't built in a day. Go Vols!

born2ride writes:

Good Grief!

Is this YEAR ZERO in basketball?

TopTenn writes:

Horrible play for the team except, Maymon. GBO! That is all.

Ttown writes:

What team was that ?

LSG410EC83 writes:

Loss is a loss. Love it how the trolls roll in unlike last 4 games. And many of these losers put"we" in their post. So easy to sit behind a keyboard and let your bull roll off the fingertips. Team will learn from this hopefully and go forward.

bigdisbig writes:

I didn't see the game but from the box score it looked like Stokes and Maymon played a good game although Stokes didn't score that much. It seemed that it was one of those games they should have worked the ball to the big men but didn't. McBee going 0-6 is sure as heck didn't help.
Its typical Tennessee basketball though. Not a chance for the NCAA tourney unless they win the SEC tourney.
Too many bad losses. Bama was depleted but still whipped the Vols....not good in the eyes of the Tourney selection committee.

volthrunthru#658770 writes:

Why in the world, at this point, would a coach allow Hall to come back? The suspension needs to be made permanent,

and a couple of the other guys who are supposed to be interior people need to be sent to D-1...

and Cuonzo Martin, who is a great recruiter,

needs to reload the post position with his type players.

Obviously a 6'6" Jr. and 6'8" HS Senior with eight college games under his belt

are not able to stop a front line of 7ft, 6'9 1/2", 6'9"

And the Bama coach knew it from before the git-go, of course.

A shout out to Kenny Hall for his team values. Guy's a reeeeal Vol, huh.

Go REAL Vols.

LSG410EC83 writes:

Has nothing to do with this game, but Calipari is about to have a coronary. Ole Miss up by 2.

wazzya69vol writes:

Big disappointment for me. Thought they were going to take charge after tying it early in second half. Good inside scoring but when the 3's weren't falling knew it was going to be tough w/o the balance. And Trae, he sure seems to turn ball over at critical times. Oh well, life goes on. GBO!

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They won't make the tournament because of their record and bad losses to Austin Peay, College of Charleston and Oakland.

wazzya69vol writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly! GBO

GerryOP writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Now, let's put to bed this NCAA tournament nonsense, and just hope we can get to the post season at all. This loss proves we need a point guard, but too late to sign one of those.

Didn't prove a damn thing except that a bunch of guys who didn't even know each other this time last year still have work to do and that Coach Zo has more to do in cleaning up the hazardous waste site that Pearl left in his wake.

Our basketVols have already exceeded your negative predictions so drop your smug pompous poser act.

Go Vols!

GerryOP writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Our Vols swept your Gatas. Now get back under your bridge.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Didn't prove a damn thing except that a bunch of guys who didn't even know each other this time last year still have work to do and that Coach Zo has more to do in cleaning up the hazardous waste site that Pearl left in his wake.

Our basketVols have already exceeded your negative predictions so drop your smug pompous poser act.

Go Vols!

Yes, somehow Pearl, who took us to six straight NCAA tournaments, was the problem, and Martin, who has never taken any team to the NCAA tournament, is the solution. Brilliant thinking. I don't trust the judgement of someone right now who states Washpun, Richardson and Chievous are SEC calibur players.

Noogaorange writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

One stupid post after another! It would seem that sooner or later you'd slow down but no ......you just keep on posting? GBO

TheFuj writes:

Big disappointment. Thought we had made progress, but looked like team earlier this year. Just one game, and we need to bounce back.
Some thoughts:
I know Martin likes Tatum, but I just don't get it. Besides the horrible shooting, the poor ball handling, slow defensively. I mean his shooting is just horrible.
Tatum/McBrick 0-12. Hopefully, McBrick bounces back, but I just don't think Tatum can.
Our bench had 6 points--2/ 3 pointers by McRae, of which he was 2/8.
So combined McRae/McBrick/Tatum combined for 2/20.
I know Stokes is only 18, but he just looks so slow.

jt45 writes:

They came out flat and couldn't hit the ocean if they fell out of the boat. Then fell apart on defense. It looked like they just gave up early in the second half. Too bad Maymon doesn't have more help or get more touches down low. Stokes is still too clumsy at times. UT always loses when McBee doesn't shoot well.
My opinion of Tatum hasn't changed despite all the media hype after last week, I still think he needs to be on the bench until he can show some consistency. Guess they didn't want that post season shot bad enough to come in fired up and ready to win.

VolnPickwick writes:

Off topic, but rivals shows us wiyh 21 commits. That also includes the Bynum(?spelling) kid, thought we had 21 on signing day. Can anyone shed any light on this? Thanks.

BeRealistic writes:

I don't understand Martin's offensive strategy, street ball is what I call it.

MikeInTN writes:

Hmmmmmm...when was the last time we beat "Bama" in any men's sport?

Dougb-VFL writes:

I am all VOL and extremely optimistic about all of our team's future but this one really hurt. Not only did our players not play good at all but I live at the bama/Tennessee stateline and now I have to listen to all my friends and coworkers run their mouths! It is bad enough that we have the football streak against us and now I will have to lean hard on the women's victory against the arrogant tide. Most bama fans in my area have no clue about sports but they sure do know alot when they are winning, oh well hopefully Dooley will help me out this year! VFL

thevoice writes:

in response to TheFuj:

Big disappointment. Thought we had made progress, but looked like team earlier this year. Just one game, and we need to bounce back.
Some thoughts:
I know Martin likes Tatum, but I just don't get it. Besides the horrible shooting, the poor ball handling, slow defensively. I mean his shooting is just horrible.
Tatum/McBrick 0-12. Hopefully, McBrick bounces back, but I just don't think Tatum can.
Our bench had 6 points--2/ 3 pointers by McRae, of which he was 2/8.
So combined McRae/McBrick/Tatum combined for 2/20.
I know Stokes is only 18, but he just looks so slow.

I saw that slowness the first game and made note of it. It's really obvious now. Wish Stokes had some more hustle, quickness, and savvy. He fooled most of with his first game, but he definitely has a ways to go. He can start with free throws. He hasn't come close to using his size/muscle in the paint.

GerryOP writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Yes, somehow Pearl, who took us to six straight NCAA tournaments, was the problem, and Martin, who has never taken any team to the NCAA tournament, is the solution. Brilliant thinking. I don't trust the judgement of someone right now who states Washpun, Richardson and Chievous are SEC calibur players.

Yup, 6 trips - two went one-and-done, one went two-and-done, two went three-and-done, and one went four-and-done. With the talent Pearl had he should have had at least two years in the final four and played in at least one champ game. Instead we watch a couple of no-name coaches and a bunch of no-star players like Butler and VCU play for the title. But you continue to glory in 6-in-a row. UT collected a bunch of attendance banners but no trophies. Pearl would have been just as well off buying a ticket and watching from the bleachers. There are no awards for participation, only for winners.

But you keep right on carping about how bad Coach Zo and his kids are while the rest of the college basketball world praises the remarkable job Coach Zo is doing in cleaning up the mess Pearl left behind. The dude wasn't even man enough to acknowledge a pic taken in his own house ... but he's your hero.

As of today, Coach Zo has won the same number of Nat Champs as Pearl ... none. Coach Zo has a chance to bring UT an NCAA title, Pearl has no chance. Those are the facts and anything else you add is pure speculation.

Go Vols!

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

When your coach sits on the sidelines instead of up coaching like REAL coaches do what do you expect...martin aint worth a chit be glad when he's gone

GerryOP writes:

in response to Bodeanvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I can already hear the announcers. "Here come the Florida Gatas ... who are owned by the Tennessee Volunteers!" Teeeheeeheeeeheeeheee!

jt45 writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

By then they will probably have their scorers back. I hope CCM turns up the heat on these boys, they looked really bad today. You could tell they were not up for the game 5 minutes in, they just seemed slow. What happened to their defensive mindset type of play? Martin didn't seem too fired up either.

GerryOP writes:

in response to thevoice:

I saw that slowness the first game and made note of it. It's really obvious now. Wish Stokes had some more hustle, quickness, and savvy. He fooled most of with his first game, but he definitely has a ways to go. He can start with free throws. He hasn't come close to using his size/muscle in the paint.

Oh, c'mon. The kid should be playing HS ball and you criticize him because he's not playing up to All-SEC standards? Sorry to disappoint you but he probably won't make 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd team All-NCAA this year either! Can you find some more faults in the 18-year old kid?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

I can already hear the announcers. "Here come the Florida Gatas ... who are owned by the Tennessee Volunteers!" Teeeheeeheeeeheeeheee!

Working the resident troll hard today, I see, GP.

jt45 writes:

in response to BigOrangeSmoker:

When your coach sits on the sidelines instead of up coaching like REAL coaches do what do you expect...martin aint worth a chit be glad when he's gone

I disagree, I think martin is an excellent coach and he's proved that with this team that is NOT loaded with talent.
I do wish he would be more fired up and involved on the sidelines because I think alot of players feed off the energy of their coach and teammates.Their wasn't much energy by anyone today.

GerryOP writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A hard foul cost them the game? If the Vols hadn't laid back and let them pump in a few free 3s at the end it would have been really embarrassing. I hear they were calling in all off-duty campus security goons in case the Gata ballers needed an armed escort to get 'em back to their dorm!

Dougb-VFL writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Oh, c'mon. The kid should be playing HS ball and you criticize him because he's not playing up to All-SEC standards? Sorry to disappoint you but he probably won't make 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd team All-NCAA this year either! Can you find some more faults in the 18-year old kid?

You are so right about about Jarnell.When he gets control of that muscular frame of his there will be no hope for defenders! Stokes is so young but I feel that he will benefit greatly from this early experience. Once we have a true point guard we will be in the top 25 on a regular basis and I think the recruit from Huntsville, Alabama may be the answer.I can't remember his name but he is always in our local newspaper for his solid efforts. VFL

GerryOP writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Working the resident troll hard today, I see, GP.

Sometimes I just can't hold myself back!

How ya' doin' Mr. PD?

tnaseevol writes:

in response to thevoice:

I saw that slowness the first game and made note of it. It's really obvious now. Wish Stokes had some more hustle, quickness, and savvy. He fooled most of with his first game, but he definitely has a ways to go. He can start with free throws. He hasn't come close to using his size/muscle in the paint.

Of course Stokes hasn't much muscle. He is a high school senior! They do not work out like college athletes. He has a way to go, but give him time! Probably before he came here, he did no more than 30 minutes workout per day if that much.

He just turned 18...boys (and he is still one!) grow til they are 22-23 years old.

For his age, he is more than doing well.

After this summer's workouts, he will be a force to reckon with next year.

How long has he been playing college basketball? You want waaaaaay toooooo much waaaaaaay toooooo soooooooon!

BolivrBob writes:

Devastating loss. Bama played terrific defense. 17 turnovers with our point guard with 6 and only 2 assists and our go to man inside with 5. Pretty much the ballgame. This put us out of NCAA consideration all together, as we needed to win out.

bigdisbig writes:

I like what Cuonzo is doing and he has overachieved in some games and underachieved in others. It seems that his game plans sometimes just don't work or maybe the players just don't buy into what he is doing in some games. You can't play every team the same and today their game play was lacking. They could have worked the ball inside more and stuck with that plan. With Green out of the game for Bama the inside should have belonged to the Vols. The team went 4-20 in 3 point shots. After the first half Cuonzo should have stopped them shooting the 3s so much for they just weren't hitting. Its just irritating to lose to the inbreds in anything.

Vol43 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Now, let's put to bed this NCAA tournament nonsense, and just hope we can get to the post season at all. This loss proves we need a point guard, but too late to sign one of those.

Who exactly is we?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to LSG410EC83:

Loss is a loss. Love it how the trolls roll in unlike last 4 games. And many of these losers put"we" in their post. So easy to sit behind a keyboard and let your bull roll off the fingertips. Team will learn from this hopefully and go forward.

I was thinking the exact same thing, buddy! When the Vols play well, the trolls and negaVols can hardly be found; when they don't play well, the trolls show up like toadstools after a rain storm. The real Vol fans are with them no matter what; the others are still miserable mopes no matter what. It's more fun my way, but I guess tastes vary.

wildcatbasketball writes:

When will all on the board come to the realization that UT is simply not that good? I think Martin will turn them around but right now they simply do not have the talent!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

I didn't see the game but from the box score it looked like Stokes and Maymon played a good game although Stokes didn't score that much. It seemed that it was one of those games they should have worked the ball to the big men but didn't. McBee going 0-6 is sure as heck didn't help.
Its typical Tennessee basketball though. Not a chance for the NCAA tourney unless they win the SEC tourney.
Too many bad losses. Bama was depleted but still whipped the Vols....not good in the eyes of the Tourney selection committee.

Oh, I agree that the NCAA dream is over for this year, barring an extremely unlikely SEC tourney miracle. You are right about Maymon's generally positive game and McBee's 0-fer, but it wasn't quite as simple as that. For one thing, even Maymon had several uncharacteristic turnovers. Stokes still doesn't handle the ball well in traffic under the basket or pass well out of double-teams. Tatum reverted to laying bricks and McRae didn't get enough shots--he was the only one besides Golden who hit more than one 3-pointer. Not at all the kind of game they needed if they wanted to make the NCAAs without winning the SEC tourney.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say where have all the trolls been until today? Witch Doctor say KNS marketing blows chunks thinking this makes anybody wanna stay around.
Witch Doctor over on Volnation.com until KNS realizes how dumb they look.
Bones never lie.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Yes, somehow Pearl, who took us to six straight NCAA tournaments, was the problem, and Martin, who has never taken any team to the NCAA tournament, is the solution. Brilliant thinking. I don't trust the judgement of someone right now who states Washpun, Richardson and Chievous are SEC calibur players.

Still haven't learned how to spell "CALIBER", have you? Seems that Pearl recruited most of the players on the squad now but didn't seem to have taught them much. In fact, he didn't think they were very good even after recruiting them or they might have played more. Martin has done a fine job with what he had to work with, and the final story has yet to be told about Washpun, Richardson, and Cheivous.

UT4prez writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Yup, 6 trips - two went one-and-done, one went two-and-done, two went three-and-done, and one went four-and-done. With the talent Pearl had he should have had at least two years in the final four and played in at least one champ game. Instead we watch a couple of no-name coaches and a bunch of no-star players like Butler and VCU play for the title. But you continue to glory in 6-in-a row. UT collected a bunch of attendance banners but no trophies. Pearl would have been just as well off buying a ticket and watching from the bleachers. There are no awards for participation, only for winners.

But you keep right on carping about how bad Coach Zo and his kids are while the rest of the college basketball world praises the remarkable job Coach Zo is doing in cleaning up the mess Pearl left behind. The dude wasn't even man enough to acknowledge a pic taken in his own house ... but he's your hero.

As of today, Coach Zo has won the same number of Nat Champs as Pearl ... none. Coach Zo has a chance to bring UT an NCAA title, Pearl has no chance. Those are the facts and anything else you add is pure speculation.

Go Vols!

Gerry, is it Nat'l Champs or bust for you? Only one team wins it every year and UT has never been that team. By your logic all of UT's coaches are failures. I suppose the players are failures too. I know you are attacking west in response to his nonsense about Martin but why can't you like both? Pearl took this program places it had never been. He screwed up and lost his job because of it. I still think he did a good job and I know you did too those first couple of years and I know you did when we took Ohio St out and nearly made the Final 4. Now he is gone and west needs to move on. Martin is here and doing a good job so far. West is mistaken in that he speaks as if we let Pearl go because of performance and that is not the case. You speak as if his on the court product was poor and I don't agree.

Anyway, tough loss. That rash of turnovers was difficult to watch. I still like this team and like Martin though. I hope we do get to the NIT for experience and for us fans to watch. We have work to do to get there though.

underthehill writes:

no lack of effort by UT..just couldn't hit the 3's and bama did..sorta like UT did Fla..bama defense had a lot to do with turnovers and bad shooting by UT..the NIT is not out of reach and would be far more for this team than expected ..hope they do it..

UT4prez writes:

in response to wildcatbasketball:

When will all on the board come to the realization that UT is simply not that good? I think Martin will turn them around but right now they simply do not have the talent!!!

Kansas St is missing you on their message boards right now.

My apologies. Northwestern is missing you on their message boards right now.

It has to be one or the other. I know a high and mighty UK fan would not be caught on a message board for us lowly UT fans.

I agree. We aren't that good this year but we have a good coach, some decent returning talent, and we like them no matter what. Just like you like your football team no matter what. That's not a slam, just an analogy.

thevoice writes:

in response to underthehill:

no lack of effort by UT..just couldn't hit the 3's and bama did..sorta like UT did Fla..bama defense had a lot to do with turnovers and bad shooting by UT..the NIT is not out of reach and would be far more for this team than expected ..hope they do it..

I agree. The NIT would be more purposeful for this team, plus they might get a home game or two and play more games and practice more. Today, they just un-punched any ticket they had for the NCAA.

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Now, let's put to bed this NCAA tournament nonsense, and just hope we can get to the post season at all. This loss proves we need a point guard, but too late to sign one of those.

Too late? There is a signing period after the season, but any pg we sign won't be able to help next year in his freshman season. Is that what you mean? Too bad Pearl didn't sign a pg for us, isn't it?

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to born2ride:

Good Grief!

Is this YEAR ZERO in basketball?

You know all about year zeros, I can tell.

VOLFROMNC writes:

Oh well. I think it's funny that this is such a huge disappointment for people. This is just how we have been this year. Can't play on the road. We couldn't hit anything. You just don't win when you can't get going at all. Bring on the next one. And for the record, take McBee out when he's not hitting anything.

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