Vols miss out on a resume builder, fall to Wichita State, 70-61

Wichita State's Tekele Cotton goes up for a shot against Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes in the first half at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Wichita State defeated Tennessee, 70-61. (Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle/MCT)

Photo by Travis Heying

Wichita State's Tekele Cotton goes up for a shot against Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes in the first half at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kan., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Wichita State defeated Tennessee, 70-61. (Travis Heying/Wichita Eagle/MCT)

Cuonzo Martin on loss against Wichita State

WICHITA, Kan. — Jordan McRae became the 45th Tennessee men’s basketball player to score 1,000 career points, but his 26-point performance wasn’t enough to notch the Vols’ first true road win of the season — one that would have looked impressive on an NCAA tournament resume come March.

UT lost to No. 12 Wichita State 70-61 at the Intrust Bank Arena on Saturday. Meanwhile the Shockers, ranked eighth in the USA Today Coaches Poll, claimed their first 10-0 start in school history after UT beat them when they were 9-0 last season.

McRae carried the Vols on an afternoon where Jarnell Stokes, as he did in UT’s season-opening loss at Xavier, got into early foul trouble. Stokes was scoreless in the first half. He finished with eight points and four rebounds in 22 minutes. No player other than McRae reached double-figure scoring for the Vols.

Despite trouble scoring, UT had its chances. The Vols led by as much as three in the first half and by one (26-25) at halftime. They claimed a 44-41 lead with 9:43 to play when Stokes made the free throw that followed a successful dunk.

But the Shockers’ Tekele Cotton, answered with a three-point play of his own. The junior guard scored a team-high 19 points. Cleanthony Early added 13 and Darius Carter scored 11. Ron Baker, WSU’s leading scorer, played on tweaked ankle and finished with eight.

Martin is now 7-10 against teams in the AP Top 25, 7-8 while at UT. The Vols’ record against current teams from the Missouri Valley Conference fell to 6-8. UT plays North Carolina State in Knoxville on Dec. 18

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Comments » 31

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

Pathetic second half. This team lost all composure and gave the game away. They are like the other teams on campus except for the Lady Vols BB, they find a way to lose and lose ugly.
Hubbs is obviously not a 5*.
Just like football this team makes the dumbest mistakes at the absolutely worst times. The inability to shoot free throws and make layups will doom this team again this year.
Not sure they can even make the NIT. Sad!

vut5686#1405392 writes:

Do these Vols have an identity? Pathetic at getting the ball inside to their supposed strength. Lousy foul shooting in the first half and at times, in the second half, seem to just lose intensity....if only for a play or two. All this while the other team did...or did not. Coulda, shoulda but didn't. Missed opportunity.

willphill#241787 writes:

The poorest coached tean in the USA. Tennessee plays a slow deliberate game that allows any decent opponent to stay in the game and have a chance to win. If a coaching change is not made this year Tennessee will lose a ton of season ticket holders and a ton of contributors. We have more talent than any Vol team has ever had. Yet we cannot compete. It is depressing and boring to watch the Vols play. Please enter into negotiations with coach Pearl before someone else hires him.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

in response to willphill#241787:

The poorest coached tean in the USA. Tennessee plays a slow deliberate game that allows any decent opponent to stay in the game and have a chance to win. If a coaching change is not made this year Tennessee will lose a ton of season ticket holders and a ton of contributors. We have more talent than any Vol team has ever had. Yet we cannot compete. It is depressing and boring to watch the Vols play. Please enter into negotiations with coach Pearl before someone else hires him.

Pearl isn't coming back to UT, get over it.

TNlogfire writes:

I hope we don't see any more ads with that damn sledgehammer. WSU used it on us today. Wow are we soft...We better improve quickly and stop standing around on offense. Could not believe we didn't attack that 3/4 court trap better. You've got to throw the ball down court but, of course that means we would have to move. I wish Barton, Stokes, or Richardson had showed up today. To top it all off, our SENIOR (McRae) got T'd up for celebrating after a dunk...!!!!!

willphill#241787 writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

Pearl isn't coming back to UT, get over it.

We'll see.

magicbyswh#221420 writes:

PITIFUL-POORLY COACHED-What defense in the second half??? Bruce is not coming back but maybe they should hire Greg Marshall. He has won everywhere he has been. Tennessee has the talent they just do not have the coach to bring it out.
Martin needs to start putting the emphasis on offense and I agree get rid of the sledge hammer. They play like they are carring that hammer during the game. Never seen so many missed layups. Out played the whole second half. Stokes going pro after this year HA HA Bruce is calling the Michigan State - Oakland game.

utfans#211352 writes:

Real ugly on offense again. I do miss what Pearl did in opportunity games like this.

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

You want a great Coach? You just saw the Vols lose to him. Greg Marshall is the real deal and even has Steve Forbes on his staff.
If Coach Martin isn't successful this year you have to put Marshall at the top of your list.

Chris_L75 writes:

Trade coaches for this game and UT wins by between 5 and 8 pts. No in-game adjustments, especially on the road. And no pleasure in facing this reality, either, because one longs to see a man of Martin's integrity succeed. But the same movie keeps on playing. He isn't recruiting strongly enough for next year and beyond, the students have lost interest, and we're headed for Bubble Watch again (if that).

Certainly the football malaise is adding to our impatience here, and that's something Martin can't control. The whole situation is just so desperately sad and draining to a fan's spirit (not to wax melodramatic, but that's how it often feels.) Wish football signing day was this week...

OrangeVol4Life writes:

Well, maybe next season. I've already given up on this Team. I like Martin as a person but loosing patience on his ability to coach. Shooting is awful and not even close to playing as a team. Games are super boring and after today - doubtful that I go to game this year. Sure call me "fair weather fan" but not going to waste my time with less than watchable games. Disappointed!

Columbo writes:

When does baseball season start?

TNlogfire writes:

in response to OrangeVol4Life:

Well, maybe next season. I've already given up on this Team. I like Martin as a person but loosing patience on his ability to coach. Shooting is awful and not even close to playing as a team. Games are super boring and after today - doubtful that I go to game this year. Sure call me "fair weather fan" but not going to waste my time with less than watchable games. Disappointed!

I'm really sorry you're a 16-year-old girl.....hey, life's ahead of you...go out and claim it...!!!

TNlogfire writes:

in response to Columbo:

When does baseball season start?

Really...let's see if Joan Cronan has hired a true winner...btw, she did NOT hire Pat, she DID hire our Volleyball Coach...she hired Jenny Moshak and the other gals(guys) that sued UT, but we haven't heard a word from her...?..just wondering when Joan Cronan will be interviewed again...AND if they are willing to ask the tough question..

798orange writes:

Much improvement is necessary if this team is to be invited to the big dance. Teams on the bubble are judged on these games. Since the SEC seems to get fewer teams in, we need two quality conference road wins to make up for this one. Except for a couple of quick rests, maybe better to just play Stokes until he fouls out. He is missing too much time at critical times.

knoxknothead writes:

This team is like watching paint dry

westknoxrepubreturns writes:

Can we end the Cuonzo Martin disaster now, hire Bruce back so we can get into the tournament.

rockypop writes:

One shudders to think what the future holds for this bunch. Regrettably, Martin hasn't exactly been the BB version of Butch Jones when it comes to recruiting. When you think about the make-up of next year's team (minus the incoming freshmen, which are now ranked in the top 30), UT will be without Stokes, Maymon, McCrae and Barton. It remains to be seen just how much offensive production will be lost, but it will be significant.

Pearl isn't coming back, and Martin should have another year or two to show what he can do with his recruits, but he should realize the fact that Bruce Pearl showed the world that you can win at Tennessee, and win big. The bad news for Martin is that Tennessee fans now know that as well.

GreerVol22 writes:

sad to say but this is a bunch of talented, more so than their competition, guys that have no concept of how to come together as a team. Each is a prima donna.

westknoxrepubreturns writes:

in response to rockypop:

One shudders to think what the future holds for this bunch. Regrettably, Martin hasn't exactly been the BB version of Butch Jones when it comes to recruiting. When you think about the make-up of next year's team (minus the incoming freshmen, which are now ranked in the top 30), UT will be without Stokes, Maymon, McCrae and Barton. It remains to be seen just how much offensive production will be lost, but it will be significant.

Pearl isn't coming back, and Martin should have another year or two to show what he can do with his recruits, but he should realize the fact that Bruce Pearl showed the world that you can win at Tennessee, and win big. The bad news for Martin is that Tennessee fans now know that as well.

Martin has had three years, and he's shown nothing, Tennessee should not have a basketball team that doesn't go to the tournament three years in a row. Martin has NEVER in his entire coaching career been to the NCAA tournament. The right thing to do is bring back Pearl because Martin is a failure.

wazzya69vol writes:

in response to WaitUntilNextYear:

Pathetic second half. This team lost all composure and gave the game away. They are like the other teams on campus except for the Lady Vols BB, they find a way to lose and lose ugly.
Hubbs is obviously not a 5*.
Just like football this team makes the dumbest mistakes at the absolutely worst times. The inability to shoot free throws and make layups will doom this team again this year.
Not sure they can even make the NIT. Sad!

My thoughts EXACTLY!!! Hoping for at least a six and six football season, thus a small Bowl game--didn't happen. Then hoping for chance to go to Big Dance in March--not going to happen, probably not NIT. Missed free throws and strong lay ups,,,,pathetic!!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to GreerVol22:

sad to say but this is a bunch of talented, more so than their competition, guys that have no concept of how to come together as a team. Each is a prima donna.

Could be , Greer. Don't see any real plan on offense.

ChesterDrawers writes:

in response to rockypop:

One shudders to think what the future holds for this bunch. Regrettably, Martin hasn't exactly been the BB version of Butch Jones when it comes to recruiting. When you think about the make-up of next year's team (minus the incoming freshmen, which are now ranked in the top 30), UT will be without Stokes, Maymon, McCrae and Barton. It remains to be seen just how much offensive production will be lost, but it will be significant.

Pearl isn't coming back, and Martin should have another year or two to show what he can do with his recruits, but he should realize the fact that Bruce Pearl showed the world that you can win at Tennessee, and win big. The bad news for Martin is that Tennessee fans now know that as well.

I consider myself a patient person, but 2 or 3 more years of this boring style of defensive, no-scoring basketball? It is not as much the talent as it is the coaching philosophy and direction. 2 or 3 more years? I am not that patient.

jandjhome#228397 writes:

we were told by several people who knew Cunzo on this site that we were in for boring basketball, guess what>

irishcoffee writes:

i would prefer to win 85-80 than to lose 70-61. the offense has been coached out of these kids. we don't defend at a 'high level' either. after our loss to GA at home last season, it was evident that Hart got into Conzo's ear. Our offense picked up after that game. Dave, i think he needs another session. Mike Hamilton, the gift that keeps on giving.

vols1002 writes:

NIT here we come again maybe!!

johnlg00 writes:

I get how frustrated everybody is. I am too. However, the team did some good things yesterday, some of which I posted on Mike Strange's article. The team offense is not as bad as some say. They had plenty of good shots, they just didn't make them. If you only shoot 38% from the field and about 50% from the free-throw line, you aren't going to win many games against decent teams. The same thing happened to UK against UNC yesterday. The coaches don't shoot the ball. I suppose they could nag the guys about getting into the gym and working more on their own, but at some point the players have to take the responsibility. Thompson, Richardson, and Hubbs all made their first shot yesterday and then hardly scratched after that.

Caspian writes:

Rehiring Pearl is not as far fetched as some seem to think. He will be rehired by someone.

maciste54 writes:

I've been a CCM supporter but am growing more and more worried. I'm really concerned that like Stokes Hubb's talent will be wasted on offense in Martin's system. If you have prolific scorers they need the opportunity and coaching to score on the college level. Defense is very important of course but if you can't make layups, are timid, miss free throws, can't put yourself into position and more importantly, don't have an offensive minded system to allow you to score you aren't going to win many. It's great to hold a team to in the 60's on defense but when you struggle mightily to score in the 50's .............well there ya go.
Please don't coach Hubbs into submission and inadequacy ala. Scotty Hopson.

johnlg00 writes:

There just is NOT that much wrong with the offensive system! The team has moved the ball much better and more purposefully this season than ever before under Martin. They just must do a better job of MAKING the good shots they are getting. I just don't know what kind of coaching prevents players from making open shots. Martin has never even suggested that he is telling guys not to take shots. No, unless he is telling them something different than what he says in virtually every interview, he is encouraging them to take the shot when they open.

It is easy to blame the coach when the team doesn't play well. I have said all the way back to the end of LAST season that Martin's long-term future at UT may well depend, rightly or wrongly, on getting a great performance out of what could STILL be a great team. I like Martin but I don't like him enough to keep him around if the team continues to underachieve. I guess it is up to the players to decide that THEY want to keep him around enough to PLAY hard AND smart for him.

Chris_L75 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

There just is NOT that much wrong with the offensive system! The team has moved the ball much better and more purposefully this season than ever before under Martin. They just must do a better job of MAKING the good shots they are getting. I just don't know what kind of coaching prevents players from making open shots. Martin has never even suggested that he is telling guys not to take shots. No, unless he is telling them something different than what he says in virtually every interview, he is encouraging them to take the shot when they open.

It is easy to blame the coach when the team doesn't play well. I have said all the way back to the end of LAST season that Martin's long-term future at UT may well depend, rightly or wrongly, on getting a great performance out of what could STILL be a great team. I like Martin but I don't like him enough to keep him around if the team continues to underachieve. I guess it is up to the players to decide that THEY want to keep him around enough to PLAY hard AND smart for him.

Very well put. Most of us fans, at least, very much want Martin to succeed - because we respect him, and because we are starved for a winning team in any sport. Once a season starts tumbling downhill, though, it can be hard to apply the brakes. And the recruiting for next season is a tad worrisome.

I have no idea if this comment will post, because my first one didn't, and it was more polite by far than most of this thread. Guess they make new posters really earn it here!

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