Trae Golden: 'It was there for the taking'

Georgetown forward Mikael Hopkins (3) battles for the ball against Tennessee forward Kenny Hall (20) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Washington. Georgetown won 37-36. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Georgetown forward Mikael Hopkins (3) battles for the ball against Tennessee forward Kenny Hall (20) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Washington. Georgetown won 37-36. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) goes to the basket against Georgetown forward Mikael Hopkins (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) goes to the basket against Georgetown forward Mikael Hopkins (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON — Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin leans on one offensive motto like a crutch.

"Players need to make plays."

None made any Friday night at the Verizon Center.

In a game someone had to win, Martin's Vols managed to be the uglier team in one of the ugliest games in modern UT men's basketball history. No. 20 Georgetown, thanks to blanketing 2-3 zone defense, muffled the Vols and snatched a 37-36 win in the SEC/Big East Challenge.

Neither team scored in the final 4 minutes, 10 seconds.

No player finished in double figures.

Neither team shot better than 37 percent.

Somehow Tennessee (4-2) managed to be worse. The Vols shot 32.6 percent (15-of-46) from the field, 3-for-11 from the foul line, committed 13 turnovers.

And even with all that, as UT point guard Trae Golden said afterward, "It was there for the taking."

A jumper by Georgetown point guard Markel Starks served as the game winner. No one, Starks included, thought that was the case at the time. Few could foresee the teams combining for 0-of-7 shooting and six turnovers over the final four minutes.

The Vols, looking to snatch back a heavily traded second-half lead, committed three straight turnovers from the 3:33 mark to 1:56. Then they missed their final three shots.

And even with all that, UT still had a chance to win.

Holding the ball with 20.9 seconds to go, the Vols came out of a timeout and passed the ball around the perimeter. Nothing developed. The resulting 3-point heave by Skylar McBee drew air and deflected off a Hoya and out of bounds.

The possession summed up the night.

With three seconds left, Jordan McRae tossed a desperation 3-pointer and drew iron.

Georgetown (5-1) barely celebrated the final horn.

The Hoyas shot 36.4 percent (16-for-44) and made one 3-pointer. It was the one highlight for UT.

"I told our guys I thought they did an exceptional job defensively," Martin said. "Of course they are upset because you want to win the game, but I thought they did a tremendous job."

Golden and McBee tied for team-high honors with a paltry eight points apiece. They combined to take 17 shots and nine 3-pointers.

Tangled in a web of arms from a Georgetown lineup featuring four starters between 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-9, UT's Jarnell Stokes was nowhere to be found.

"A lot of times I thought I was open and I worked harder than I've ever worked to get the ball and I didn't get the ball," Stokes said. "They were telling me there were guys behind me and in front of me that I didn't really see."

Stokes took one shot in the second half, finished 2-of-3 from the field and tied his career low of four points. He said early foul calls "altered the game."

"I never really felt in the flow," he added.

Standing outside the Tennessee locker room, UT sophomore Josh Richardson was asked if Georgetown's zone defense was frustrating or confusing.

A long pause followed as he looked down at the top of his Adidas.

"I don't even know what to call it," he answered. "Just … bad. Just call it bad."

The Vols' 36 points were their fewest since a 43-35 loss at Auburn in 1997.

Both teams will burn the game film from the first half. They combined to shoot 13-for-48 from the field. The Vols made one more shot than the Hoyas — a banked-in floater by Golden at the first-half buzzer — and stole an unlikely 18-16 lead at the break.

Tennessee went 1-for-6 from the foul line in the second half.

"It goes back to capitalizing," Richardson said. "I blew two, some other guys missed a couple. We've just got to capitalize. The free-throw line, that's free shots."

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 27

VolGrad writes:

We've gotta learn to finish game like this one. But truthfully, I didn't think we'd even be in it without Maymon.

Go Vols!

garycg writes:

in response to VolGrad:

We've gotta learn to finish game like this one. But truthfully, I didn't think we'd even be in it without Maymon.

Go Vols!

I didn't either, Georgetown lost to top-ranked Indiana in overtime earlier this year.

LIBDESTROYER writes:

In general, the better teams can shoot free throws. Practice, practice, practice.

brod writes:

golden is right. it was there for the taking. poor free throw shooting hurt the team down the stretch. i wish mcrae would have hit the last shot. it would have helped his confidence. golden should have probably just taken a shot with 10 - 15 seconds left when he open. it was close to being the ugliest win in recent memory, but once again i'm a frustrated vol fan. virginia will be another tough road game. this is a tough nosed team but they are going to have to step up their shooting if they are going to beat anybody that is actually good. i hate to harp on chris jones, but signing him would have been instant offense. offense was a key need after last year.

ColdBlackWind writes:

I am far from being a basketball coach, and we have a good one in CM. We just did not have that guy last night that wanted the ball in the clutch. The guy that will get you the 2+1 on a drive into traffic or dish to the open man for an easy shot. Maybe he is on the team but I just have not seen a creator with confidence. I hope he shows up soon as our style of play begets close games at the end.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

IF we can continue this type of defense we'll be in position to beat anybody. On any court.

I think if we'd tried to run a lot with them they'd have taken over. They are a good team in transition. They are very quick down the court. Early on we were fortunate that they were missing so many up close to the basket.
Yeh we were harassing them but really the Hoyas should have made some of those.

we did not get the ball inside. There was no inside out game. Only perimeter dancing. No drives and slashes to open up the bigs. No screens to open the perimeter either.

but we had an outstanding defense.

One thing we can't overlook is that we don't do well against the zone. It requires movement to beat it. Our passing was really quick at times with our guards but we didn't get the D to open up. You have to be able to dribble penetrate!

It's early I guess. Like the poster said above somehwhere a "Chris Jones" or any ball controller would have won it for us. Sorry Golden but you didn't use our players well. The other guards didn't look inside either. We should have learned last year that we can't win dancing around the key.
The best offense we had was on fast breaks by McRae and I think it was Edwards in at the time.

I realize I'm being negative but I'm not yellin' for anyone's head. We played with a potentially very good team. But I always like to think we could have won. This time we could have IMHO.

One other thing. We fouled bad. Lot's of bad fouls. unnecessary fouls. Away from the basket fouls. This didn't help our flow or confidence any. Then when they'd foul us we'd clang it. I don't think the officials were bad. we just did some silly stuff.

A strong positive is that our players maybe learned that you can play a lot of minutes and still be in the other team's face all night. This "losing their legs junk"? Both teams played good solid hard ball ...well except on offense.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Did anyone else see McBee make a 15 footer???
I may have imagined that.

doubledeuce22Q writes:

Nobody has to be worried about us making any kind of a post-season run...we could play Nashville diesel college and they could probably beat us if they just run a zone all game. I learned in organized basketball when I was 9 years old how to break a zone...and it is not by passing the ball from top to wing to other wing to top until the shot clock is at 6 seconds and then hurling up a 2 cent shot. I am extremely concerned not only that this happened, but also at how after the game CCM said that he was really proud of our guys, but that the shots just werent falling. I know that there are some young guys who need to hear some positive thoughts, but also,they need to realize that they are NOWHERE closer to being able to play against a zone as they were in the pitiful performance in last year's SEC tourney when we did the smae thing against Ole' Miss. I promise that this is not the last that we have seen of the zone...anybody watching film on us should run it. Also, one last thought...have we ever actually worked on something else that I learned when I was in grade school basketball called the BOUNCE PASS? Stokes was 100% from the floor and shot only 2 times. Pitiful. Give our most dominant player the ball! Of course you cant throw the entry to the post over the top of a team as lengthy as G'town. ZONE PENETRATION AND DISH OFF...BOUNCE PASS...and oh yeah, FREE THROWS! I know that was tough to read for some, but that game was sure tough to watch for a die hard UT fan who knows a thing or two about the game of basketball.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Did anyone else see McBee make a 15 footer???
I may have imagined that.

yep, after a nice little move too. He seems to shoot better on the move than when he squares up.

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

yep, after a nice little move too. He seems to shoot better on the move than when he squares up.

Did not get to watch the game, but it does seem like McBee hits the threes more if he takes the shot as soon as the ball hits his hands. Wide open shots do not fall as much it seems. Just hope the guys work on their free throws. I know there is a lot of whining on here about making them shoot thousands, but how do they know that they are not. They may sink everyone in practice. It is not like the misses do not bother them. You can tell in their face and body language after a miss. Beleve Coach will take film and point out their mistakes on offense. Still looking forward to a great season. IT IS GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL. GO BIG ORANGE.

jack4444 writes:

They stand 40 feet from the basket and pass it back and forth. Stokes works like a dog and they pass it around the horn again. They really don't look for him.

Get the ball to Jarnell.

Ironcity writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

IF we can continue this type of defense we'll be in position to beat anybody. On any court.

I think if we'd tried to run a lot with them they'd have taken over. They are a good team in transition. They are very quick down the court. Early on we were fortunate that they were missing so many up close to the basket.
Yeh we were harassing them but really the Hoyas should have made some of those.

we did not get the ball inside. There was no inside out game. Only perimeter dancing. No drives and slashes to open up the bigs. No screens to open the perimeter either.

but we had an outstanding defense.

One thing we can't overlook is that we don't do well against the zone. It requires movement to beat it. Our passing was really quick at times with our guards but we didn't get the D to open up. You have to be able to dribble penetrate!

It's early I guess. Like the poster said above somehwhere a "Chris Jones" or any ball controller would have won it for us. Sorry Golden but you didn't use our players well. The other guards didn't look inside either. We should have learned last year that we can't win dancing around the key.
The best offense we had was on fast breaks by McRae and I think it was Edwards in at the time.

I realize I'm being negative but I'm not yellin' for anyone's head. We played with a potentially very good team. But I always like to think we could have won. This time we could have IMHO.

One other thing. We fouled bad. Lot's of bad fouls. unnecessary fouls. Away from the basket fouls. This didn't help our flow or confidence any. Then when they'd foul us we'd clang it. I don't think the officials were bad. we just did some silly stuff.

A strong positive is that our players maybe learned that you can play a lot of minutes and still be in the other team's face all night. This "losing their legs junk"? Both teams played good solid hard ball ...well except on offense.

We can't put this on Golden. SOMEONE else has to also penetrate with the ball. Its a shame to see Stokes with three shots. That says a lot about our teams ability to pass the ball as well as penetrate and dish.

The two best teams we have played so far have found it quite easy to defend UT. Martin better get a handle on this or we are in for another long November and an even longer season. Yes the D was good but the O was worse.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to jack4444:

They stand 40 feet from the basket and pass it back and forth. Stokes works like a dog and they pass it around the horn again. They really don't look for him.

Get the ball to Jarnell.

Jarnell has to find the open man when three defenders crash on him. Mak and Hands-o-Stone Hall need to do more than stand around on the opposite block looking for the rebound. They need cutters across the top of the lane to move defenders one way or another to open space for inlet passes to Stokes. Basketball is a game of chess and you win by moving the opposition to where you want.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ColdBlackWind:

I am far from being a basketball coach, and we have a good one in CM. We just did not have that guy last night that wanted the ball in the clutch. The guy that will get you the 2+1 on a drive into traffic or dish to the open man for an easy shot. Maybe he is on the team but I just have not seen a creator with confidence. I hope he shows up soon as our style of play begets close games at the end.

Very true. Agree with all.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to doubledeuce22Q:

Nobody has to be worried about us making any kind of a post-season run...we could play Nashville diesel college and they could probably beat us if they just run a zone all game. I learned in organized basketball when I was 9 years old how to break a zone...and it is not by passing the ball from top to wing to other wing to top until the shot clock is at 6 seconds and then hurling up a 2 cent shot. I am extremely concerned not only that this happened, but also at how after the game CCM said that he was really proud of our guys, but that the shots just werent falling. I know that there are some young guys who need to hear some positive thoughts, but also,they need to realize that they are NOWHERE closer to being able to play against a zone as they were in the pitiful performance in last year's SEC tourney when we did the smae thing against Ole' Miss. I promise that this is not the last that we have seen of the zone...anybody watching film on us should run it. Also, one last thought...have we ever actually worked on something else that I learned when I was in grade school basketball called the BOUNCE PASS? Stokes was 100% from the floor and shot only 2 times. Pitiful. Give our most dominant player the ball! Of course you cant throw the entry to the post over the top of a team as lengthy as G'town. ZONE PENETRATION AND DISH OFF...BOUNCE PASS...and oh yeah, FREE THROWS! I know that was tough to read for some, but that game was sure tough to watch for a die hard UT fan who knows a thing or two about the game of basketball.

Great comment about the lack of bounce passes. You just don't see those much anymore, anywhere. Compared to many post players, Stokes is low and wide. He can create an area to receive a bounce pass, and have the defender leaning over him at a complete disadvantage. He doesn't have the height or leaping ability to go up for the floating lob passes usually thrown his way. Perhaps the best I ever saw at the bounce pass in college was Johnny Darden feeding Bernard King in the post. Darden would take the ball right inside with a low dribble and put that bounce pass right in King's hands, time after time.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Ironcity:

We can't put this on Golden. SOMEONE else has to also penetrate with the ball. Its a shame to see Stokes with three shots. That says a lot about our teams ability to pass the ball as well as penetrate and dish.

The two best teams we have played so far have found it quite easy to defend UT. Martin better get a handle on this or we are in for another long November and an even longer season. Yes the D was good but the O was worse.

I hope I didn't put it all on Golden. I'm just a believer that point needs to make others get involved and lead them in how. I didn't see any guards attack the zone as I pointed out I think. To be a top contender we've got to be more than one dimensional. I think that's sorta what you said too.
"quite easy" is a good way to put it. It'll be easy for any team to defend us if we don't get more aggressive on offense.
Martin's got 'em playing D so now let them play on offense some. I think they have the skills to dribble. I hope they do.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Doesn't matter if Stokes is covered by 2 or 3 bodies. You have to get it to him in this situation. We haven't utilized stokes effectively in most games this year. Really hurts to not have a true pg. Golden is much better sg than pg. Wish we had Hubbs this year.

Anybody else notice Hall making 2 TO's and a foul in the last 3 min. of the game within a minute of each other?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Jarnell has to find the open man when three defenders crash on him. Mak and Hands-o-Stone Hall need to do more than stand around on the opposite block looking for the rebound. They need cutters across the top of the lane to move defenders one way or another to open space for inlet passes to Stokes. Basketball is a game of chess and you win by moving the opposition to where you want.

Good points. It needs to be a rule that whenever the pass goes to the inside and a defender drops down to double Stokes, the offensive player the help defender is guarding IMMEDIATELY cuts for the basket. Stokes is, IMHO, actually a good passer but the other players don't make themselves available for the pass back out or on the cut toward the basket.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Great comment about the lack of bounce passes. You just don't see those much anymore, anywhere. Compared to many post players, Stokes is low and wide. He can create an area to receive a bounce pass, and have the defender leaning over him at a complete disadvantage. He doesn't have the height or leaping ability to go up for the floating lob passes usually thrown his way. Perhaps the best I ever saw at the bounce pass in college was Johnny Darden feeding Bernard King in the post. Darden would take the ball right inside with a low dribble and put that bounce pass right in King's hands, time after time.

Sounds good to me. I don't care how though as long as they get it to the bigs.
I still have faith though. We're a top 20 or maybe 15 team by February.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

Doesn't matter if Stokes is covered by 2 or 3 bodies. You have to get it to him in this situation. We haven't utilized stokes effectively in most games this year. Really hurts to not have a true pg. Golden is much better sg than pg. Wish we had Hubbs this year.

Anybody else notice Hall making 2 TO's and a foul in the last 3 min. of the game within a minute of each other?

Hubbs isn't a PG, either. Our best hope for help at point, though not until next year, is the Landry kid. He is not a real highly-rated player, but is said to be very steady at dribbling and passing the ball. As for your comment about Hall, some people have pointed out that he was wide open inside on UT's last possession but nobody even looked at him. Those two late TO's may be the reason why, but it sure looked like a lost opportunity to me.

jamgod writes:

in response to doubledeuce22Q:

Nobody has to be worried about us making any kind of a post-season run...we could play Nashville diesel college and they could probably beat us if they just run a zone all game. I learned in organized basketball when I was 9 years old how to break a zone...and it is not by passing the ball from top to wing to other wing to top until the shot clock is at 6 seconds and then hurling up a 2 cent shot. I am extremely concerned not only that this happened, but also at how after the game CCM said that he was really proud of our guys, but that the shots just werent falling. I know that there are some young guys who need to hear some positive thoughts, but also,they need to realize that they are NOWHERE closer to being able to play against a zone as they were in the pitiful performance in last year's SEC tourney when we did the smae thing against Ole' Miss. I promise that this is not the last that we have seen of the zone...anybody watching film on us should run it. Also, one last thought...have we ever actually worked on something else that I learned when I was in grade school basketball called the BOUNCE PASS? Stokes was 100% from the floor and shot only 2 times. Pitiful. Give our most dominant player the ball! Of course you cant throw the entry to the post over the top of a team as lengthy as G'town. ZONE PENETRATION AND DISH OFF...BOUNCE PASS...and oh yeah, FREE THROWS! I know that was tough to read for some, but that game was sure tough to watch for a die hard UT fan who knows a thing or two about the game of basketball.

The problem is this team just turns stupid way too much. Especially Golden when in the las few seconds as you so wittingly pointed out, a nice BOUNCE pass would have gotten it to HAll and maybe he would have been fouled. This is why I am not that high on CCM...I mean why are you not saying to the guys..."BOUNCE the pass to him then if you can't get it over the top. I was thinking the very same thing watching the game. Golden is too scared to take the ball and penetrate when it is needed and then to stupid to Bounce pass to a an open Hall who has had a knack for hitting the 6-10 foot jumper and possibly getting a foul. The problem with this team and it has been since Golden was ordained with the starting point gaurd jo is frustratingly Golden himself in my opinion...what I watched Friday night was just stupid basketball from our point guard. I totaly agree with you, Where is the bounce pass and DUDES! usee your freakin brains for once. It seems we all ways wind up with the "dummies" or "low whatever sport it is" IQ's from these guys. C'mon MAN! IF we can see this then why can't CCM or the rest of the guys. I understand that it is different being in front of guys that are 6'-8" or 6'-9" but that is what the dam bounce pass is for morons!!!!

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Did anyone else see McBee make a 15 footer???
I may have imagined that.

It was a beautiful move to his left, and the shot was near-perfect form. His jumper was one of three impressive shots for us in the game: Stokes move inside was a work of art; McCrae's blow-by on the fast break was something I've been expecting to see from him since he's been at UT.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to jamgod:

The problem is this team just turns stupid way too much. Especially Golden when in the las few seconds as you so wittingly pointed out, a nice BOUNCE pass would have gotten it to HAll and maybe he would have been fouled. This is why I am not that high on CCM...I mean why are you not saying to the guys..."BOUNCE the pass to him then if you can't get it over the top. I was thinking the very same thing watching the game. Golden is too scared to take the ball and penetrate when it is needed and then to stupid to Bounce pass to a an open Hall who has had a knack for hitting the 6-10 foot jumper and possibly getting a foul. The problem with this team and it has been since Golden was ordained with the starting point gaurd jo is frustratingly Golden himself in my opinion...what I watched Friday night was just stupid basketball from our point guard. I totaly agree with you, Where is the bounce pass and DUDES! usee your freakin brains for once. It seems we all ways wind up with the "dummies" or "low whatever sport it is" IQ's from these guys. C'mon MAN! IF we can see this then why can't CCM or the rest of the guys. I understand that it is different being in front of guys that are 6'-8" or 6'-9" but that is what the dam bounce pass is for morons!!!!

Golden clearly had one of his worst overall games against G'town. He just absolutely MUST stop sailing into the lane not knowing whether he is going to shoot or pass. He must learn to keep his dribble alive and his head up when he tries to penetrate. He has also missed a few too many free-throws this year compared to last year, when he made nearly all of them. Still, with all his shortcomings, he is all we really have at point right now, and when he is playing well, he is one of the best around.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Patience. Us fans I mean. I hope CM is running out of it.hehe

brod writes:

it's not the zone defense. it's the shooting against the zone. if the team can get maymon back the shooting should improve some outside. i hope so anyway.

bkgunter writes:

The guards do need work on the entry pass into the post. It's not as simple as "just bounce pass," though. Georgetown is lengthy. They kicked several attempted bounce passes early in the game, and might have discouraged TN from trying more. Jarnell is right, and the issues are recognition and timing. When he flashes open, his move has to be anticipated and a pass has to be made that he receives while he still has the advantage over the defender. Our current guards do not reward his hard work often enough with those passes--on or off the floor. Georgetown was a weird, ugly game. On the up side, great defense, but let's not over interpret the results either way.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to bkgunter:

The guards do need work on the entry pass into the post. It's not as simple as "just bounce pass," though. Georgetown is lengthy. They kicked several attempted bounce passes early in the game, and might have discouraged TN from trying more. Jarnell is right, and the issues are recognition and timing. When he flashes open, his move has to be anticipated and a pass has to be made that he receives while he still has the advantage over the defender. Our current guards do not reward his hard work often enough with those passes--on or off the floor. Georgetown was a weird, ugly game. On the up side, great defense, but let's not over interpret the results either way.

Yes, but if they kick it, we get it back; if we throw the kind of weak mid-level and lob passes we have been getting lately, the defense has time to react and has a chance to run it out on us. A good part of smart offensive basketball is to cut down on risk; you have to ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that could happen if I do this?" Then don't DO the thing that could result in the worst outcome. Obviously, that can't be an explicit thought in real-time action, it has to be an instinct instilled by good coaching and conscientious practice.

I agree with everything else you said. It seems that some of our guards are shaky enough on their ball-handling that they are too worried about the guy defending them to look inside constantly. As the old saying goes, "When you're up to your butt in alligators, it's hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp."

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