Jarnell Stokes on loss to Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. — It was another bumpy road stop for Tennessee on Wednesday night at Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum.
The Vols (8-10, 1-3 SEC) committed a season-high 20 turnovers, squandered a five-point lead during the final five minutes and missed a chance to win on the final shot of regulation in remaining winless (0-5) on the road this season.
Georgia (10-8, 1-3) scored a 57-53 overtime victory over UT before a crowd of 7,307 in a game Vols coach Cuonzo Martin felt his team should have won. The Bulldogs shot 34.9 percent from the field before executing with the game on the line.
“There were just so many unforced turnovers, it’s just unfortunate, especially when you’re playing good defense,’’ said Martin, his expression alternating between dismay and disgust. “Twenty turnovers without much pressure being applied ... that can’t happen.
“It’s making simple passes, bigs being able to handle the double team, guards finding the open man. It’s simple, it’s taking care of the ball.’’
Trae Golden, playing on a sore ankle, led UT scorers with 16 points. Jeronne Maymon had 12 and freshman Jarnell Stokes finished with 11, nine of which came in the final 8½ minutes of regulation.
Gerald Robinson led Georgia with 16 points while Donte’ Williams and Nemanja Djurisic each had 11.
Golden, who missed practice Tuesday after twisting his left ankle in Monday’s practice, came up empty with the game on the line after Robinson tied the game at 46-46 on a drive with 18.3 seconds left.
Golden’s off-balance pull-up bounced off the back of the rim with two seconds remaining. Georgia rebounded and called timeout with 0.6 seconds left, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a desperation heave from half court.
UT held its final lead when Skylar McBee hit a 3-pointer with 2:10 left in overtime to put the Vols up 53-52. UT was just 2-of-15 shooting 3-pointers.
Tennessee blew a chance to extend the lead on its next possession, when a Golden entry pass intended for Cameron Tatum was knocked back out of the lane and off of Golden.
Things took a turn for the worse when Williams scored to put the Bulldogs up 54-53 while drawing a foul from Tatum with 1:02 left in overtime.
Williams missed the ensuing free throw, but Caldwell-Pope came up with the rebound and Robinson was fouled intentionally with 26.4 seconds left. Robinson sank both free throws to push the Bulldogs’ lead to 56-53.
The Vols failed to answer when Golden missed on a drive to the basket and Caldwell-Pope iced the game with a free throw with 12.5 seconds left.
UT took its first lead in the second half after holding the Bulldogs without a basket on 10 consecutive possessions, a span of six minutes, 18 seconds.
Caldwell-Pope opened the second half with a basket to give Georgia a 29-24 lead at the 19:18 mark, but the Vols went on a 6-0 run and took their first lead, 30-29, on a Maymon basket with 16:25 left.
Neither team managed a point on their next five possessions before Djurisic hit a short bank shot to give the Bulldogs a 31-30 lead with 13 minutes left.
That’s when Stokes heated up, grabbing an open-court steal and driving through the hard foul of Marcus Thornton for a basket. Stokes hit the ensuing free throw to tie the game at 35-35 with 8:25 left.
After a defensive stop, McBee dumped the ball into the post to Stokes, who spun for a reverse lay-in that gave the Vols a 37-35 edge.
Back at the other end, Williams had his shot blocked by Stokes heading into an officials timeout. Bulldogs coach Mark Fox drew a technical foul during the timeout at the 7:09 mark, and Golden hit one of two free throws to extend UT’s lead to 38-35.
The Vols took their biggest lead of the game when Stokes dunked off a Golden pass with 5:55 left to make it 40-35.
Georgia had held a 27-24 lead at halftime after both teams struggled to run their offenses in the first half.
The Vols return to action at 4 p.m. Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena against No. 13 Connecticut. The defending national champion Huskies are 14-4 after losing at home to Cincinnati on Wednesday night.