UT junior forward Jeronne Maymon talks about the Vols' 64-49 win over Auburn
The five fresh stitches in his eyebrow were an emblem of what kind of week it's been for Trae Golden.
He made only two of 11 shots in Tennessee's drubbing at Vanderbilt.
He made only two of nine Saturday night as the Vols ground Auburn into submission 64-49 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
In between, he got sewn up.
"Kenny (Hall) got me with an elbow (Friday) in practice,'' Golden said. "I don't know who's next to injure me.
"First it was Wes (Washpun, for a broken nose in December), then it's Kenny. I'm guessing Jarnell (Stokes) will be next.''
But understand, this was no pity party. Golden was all smiles. Winning cures a lot of ills, including a busted eyebrow and a shooting slump.
To reduce Tennessee's win to a Twitter-sized capsule, here's a sequence from the second half:
Golden misfires. Auburn's Frankie Sullivan airballs a 3-point try. Skylar McBee's 3-pointer misses. Jeronne Maymon grabs the rebound and sticks it in.
There you have it. A lot of misses and a lot of Maymon rebounds.
The Vols missed 38 shots, Auburn 39. Maymon grabbed 19 of UT's season-high 53 rebounds.
Consider Tatum's week. He was 1-of-14 shooting against Vandy and Auburn. Saturday night, he missed all nine tries.
As for Golden, in three games during an eight-day span, he was 4-of-24.
"Ever since I was a child, I've had slumps and then come out the next game and hardly miss,'' Golden said. "It's something I've got to continue to work on because I don't want to be known as a streaky shooter.''
He has been known as a shooter, or a scorer if you will, his entire career. He averaged 32 points in high school. This year he's scored 29 twice.
Now, he's being asked to run a team. He's Tennessee's point guard.
"The team is not going to be helped by me taking 25 shots,'' he said.
He's finding other ways to help the team. In fact, during his mini-slump, the Vols have won twice, beating Connecticut and Auburn.
Martin described Golden's night against Auburn as "solid.''
Frankly, 2-of-9 and four turnovers doesn't sound too solid. But there also was 8-of-8 at the free-throw line to get him to 13 points. Golden hardly ever slumps at the line.
He also was charged with handling Auburn's occasional full-court press and zone defense, which he did for 35 of the 40 minutes.
His current role is an adjustment. Golden has had to rein in his shooting urge — but not too much. There aren't a bunch of guys on this team who can go get a basket like he can.
I wondered if trying to find and walk that line wasn't taking a toll on his confidence.
"It may look like I'm trying to figure out if I should score or pass,'' he said, "but Coach Martin makes it easy on me.
"Him coming here to Tennessee was a dream come true. A lot of our calls are for me to make plays. I have to pick my spots.''
Saturdays at home have been a good spot for the Vols. The past four have produced victories against Florida, UConn and Auburn and a close-call loss to No. 2 Kentucky.
It's the road that's the problem and that's where the Vols are headed Tuesday. Not just any road, either, the road to Rupp Arena.
Golden will have his hands full running a team against Kentucky's shot-swatting defense.
And this will be one of those spots where the Vols need Golden to break out of his slump. Winning when you shoot 34.5 percent against Auburn is one thing. Doing it at Rupp is another.
"You can't allow things like slumps to get in your head,'' Golden said. "Sooner or later those shots are going to fall for me and when they do, it's going to take a lot of pressure off the big guys and off the wings.''
One did fall Saturday. Couple minutes left, the ball came to Golden near the end of the shot clock. He let a 3-pointer rip. Swish.
Felt good, huh?
"Man,'' he said, "you have no idea.''