Georgia delivers a punch in gut to Vols, 68-62

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) reacts after a foul was called on the Vols during the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. Georgia won 68-62 over Tennessee. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) reacts after a foul was called on the Vols during the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. Georgia won 68-62 over Tennessee. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Jordan McRae, a 6-foot-5 Tennessee guard, hails from tiny Midway, Ga., tucked along the Georgia coastline about 30 miles southeast of Savannah.

Traveling north up I-75 from Midway to Knoxville, a detour to the town of Greenville, Ga., is only a minor inconvenience.

Greenville is the home of another 6-5 guard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Perhaps McRae should have swung by and scooped him up on a trip home once upon a time.

In a Wednesday night meeting between McRae’s Vols and Caldwell-Pope’s Georgia Bulldogs, the latter got the better of the former. Scoring eight of his game-high 24 points in the game’s final five minutes, Caldwell-Pope powered Georgia to a 68-62 victory at Thompson-Boling Arena.

“Late in games, when you have to get key stops, every man has to do his part,” UT coach Cuonzo Martin said. “That’s really having pride defensively. Especially not allowing their best player to beat you. Put that ball in somebody else’s hand and let somebody else beat you. You can’t allow the best player to beat you.”

If uncertain, realize Caldwell-Pope is Georgia’s best player.

McRae had little reason to smile, despite 17 points of his own. The Vols never led and, thanks to 11 first-half turnovers, they trailed 35-26 at halftime.

“We need to start taking better care of the ball,” said McRae, who contributed five of the turnovers . “I don’t think it was their pressure. Speaking for myself, I was trying to make a lot of plays out there. I was trying to get guys going, things like that, and I was forcing too many passes.”

“I think we shot about 46 percent in the first half,” Martin added. “But you can’t turn it over 11 times. It’s tough to bounce back.”

Caldwell-Pope was brilliant. A shooting stroke as sweet as a peach tossed in a 3-pointer from the wing with the Vols trailing by just one point and 4 minutes, 24 seconds remaining.

With under two minutes to go, the sophomore used a jump stop and a floater to turn a three-point lead into a 63-58 advantage.

After UT failed to answer, Caldwell-Pope delivered a right cross to the chin with another 3.

“He’s a good player,” McRae said dryly.

Jarnell Stokes arrived late in the game. Not literally. Watching a first half go by begging for entry passes, he attempted just two-field goal attempts. Finally getting his hands on the ball following halftime, the sophomore scored 14 points after the break.

“I thought he was very active, considering the fact that there were two or three guys huddled around him all night,” Martin said of Stokes, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for his team-high eighth double-double of the year.

Georgia (11-11, 5-4 SEC), meanwhile, notched its fourth straight win, its longest SEC winning streak since 2003.

After halftime, Tennessee (11-10, 3-6) pieced together an 11-3 run early in the second half to lift some spirits inside quiet Thompson-Boling Arena. Josh Richardson scored six in the spurt, including a slick layup through traffic in transition. McRae capped it with a driving layup resulting in a three-point play.

Tied 43-43 with 13:29 left, Georgia responded.

The Bulldogs stretched their lead back to nine, forcing the Vols to fight back once again.

They did, cutting the lead to 54-53 with 4:56 left.

Caldwell-Pope took care of the rest.

He was aided by fellow guards Kenny Gaines and Vincent Williams, who added 12 and 10, respectively.

Georgia finished the night hitting 11-of-20 3-pointers.

“They came in with a lot of confidence,” Martin said. “What happens is, if you allow a team to get their heads up, and get in a rhythm, that’s a result of it.”

UT point guard Trae Golden watched courtside for the second straight game. The Power Springs, Ga., native remains out with a strained hamstring.

Martin said he’s still uncertain of a potential return date.

Sitting at 0-6 in true road games, the Vols have back-to-back away dates at South Carolina and Vanderbilt on the docket.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 135

orangevagabond writes:

Nobody cares anymore.

VolFanHoping writes:

in response to orangevagabond:

Nobody cares anymore.

But hey, doesn't Mike Hamilton's $1.3 million undue payout make you feel a little better?

PinballWizard writes:

I hear the UT Badminton club is pretty good this year, might go check them out.

bobe4544 writes:

in response to usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it:

Bring on 2013-14.

Without Martin I hope.

orangevagabond writes:

For real. The only reason I watched this game is because American Idol sucks worse. What's with those women on that show?

pvtoe writes:

Bruuuuuuuuce!!!

eduardo writes:

in response to orangevagabond:

For real. The only reason I watched this game is because American Idol sucks worse. What's with those women on that show?

Bring back American Idol Basketball..right Keith??

eduardo writes:

Sorry fans...Cuonzo must go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tomkats3242 writes:

WANTED: High School basketball players who can play the game regardless who is coaching. NO MORE thugs, poorly dressed or people needing shaves. Wanted ole time Vols basketball players. Please apply to Mr. Hart.

VinylVols writes:

in response to PinballWizard:

I hear the UT Badminton club is pretty good this year, might go check them out.

yeah, they're ballin'

VinylVols writes:

But yeah, I actually don't care anymore. No Tourney this year.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

I'm shutting it down for this season. I will join the BBB club next yr. if we don't start 12-3 minimum

Ironcity writes:

I usually don't defend the hapless coaching we witness every night but UGA played awfully well tonight and made a lot of tough shots. That said UGA's weakness mirrors UTs in that they are poor ball handlers. Coach Fox immediately pressed UT and caused turnovers and disruption. UT on the other hand did what we always do and just let the other team dictate what they want to do and put zero pressure on the ball.

I give us three more wins this year. Not sure who they will be against but even with Golden, their really isn't anything here. I hate to say this but ticket sales will plummet enough that coach Martin will be on the hot seat next year for sure. The lat thing UT needs is another coaching change but magic Mike really did a number on us.

For Richardson being such a stopper, he sure gets lit up by the top players (Henderson, Young. and now Pope).

lomas98 writes:

Never had the lead at home against average Georgia team. The turnovers to begin the game shows lack of concentration. Most of them are unforced. Stokes had a good second half, was non existent in first mainly due to lost possessions. Nice to see him have a good night from free throw line. McRae missed a pair of clutch free throws again late in game. Beginning to be a pattern with him. This team is what it is, will lose more than they win, turnovers will continue. Everyone thought Lopez would be the answer for golden, but his lack of minutes truly show what he can't do. While golden drives me crazy, he is needed on the floor.

Ironcity writes:

in response to tomkats3242:

WANTED: High School basketball players who can play the game regardless who is coaching. NO MORE thugs, poorly dressed or people needing shaves. Wanted ole time Vols basketball players. Please apply to Mr. Hart.

I don't want old time ball players. I want tough players. I want players and a coach that wants to win by 30 every night. I want guys that are not satisfied unless the will of the other team is broken. I don't want players or a coach that celebrates poor play because they beat a bad teams by 1 point on missed call or a missed lay up.

underthehill writes:

Pope was a McDonald AA ..and he played like it..like the announcer said..he stepped up every time it looked like UT had something going.. as I see it..the only way to keep up interest is to get the young guys on the floor as much as possible..Reese looked far better on defense tonight than he has all year..he is making progress...

dvols writes:

moron Vol fans!! that cald-well pope dude was hoopin!!

TN basketball willl be fine...maybe coach needs to open it up a bit....

let him get his playas!!

moron know it all vol fans startin to act like bammers!

MathIsHard writes:

Did anyone else notice that when we were down 59-54, an obviously talented Georgia player managed to score a three point jumper from about 5 feet inside the 3pt line.
I'm not complaining that this cost us the game or anything (though I suppose it could have had an effect on game strategy).
What I'm really saying is that how could that many officials, broadcasters, fans, whoever... not catch that and say something?

jt45 writes:

More of the same. Time to mail this season in, this is one of the worst groups we have had in some time. Martin seems as lost as his players here lately. At this point he would be wise to start giving the bench more playing time and planning for his last stand (next year).

yabadabadoo1026 writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I usually don't defend the hapless coaching we witness every night but UGA played awfully well tonight and made a lot of tough shots. That said UGA's weakness mirrors UTs in that they are poor ball handlers. Coach Fox immediately pressed UT and caused turnovers and disruption. UT on the other hand did what we always do and just let the other team dictate what they want to do and put zero pressure on the ball.

I give us three more wins this year. Not sure who they will be against but even with Golden, their really isn't anything here. I hate to say this but ticket sales will plummet enough that coach Martin will be on the hot seat next year for sure. The lat thing UT needs is another coaching change but magic Mike really did a number on us.

For Richardson being such a stopper, he sure gets lit up by the top players (Henderson, Young. and now Pope).

you so right about no pressure on the ball-------so much space generally between their O and our D---most of these 3 pt shots were uncontested with a defender nowhere in the vicinity of shooter---

orangevagabond writes:

in response to dvols:

moron Vol fans!! that cald-well pope dude was hoopin!!

TN basketball willl be fine...maybe coach needs to open it up a bit....

let him get his playas!!

moron know it all vol fans startin to act like bammers!

Agree that the pope dude was good but that doesn't explain why this team is going backwards.

VolFanHoping writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I usually don't defend the hapless coaching we witness every night but UGA played awfully well tonight and made a lot of tough shots. That said UGA's weakness mirrors UTs in that they are poor ball handlers. Coach Fox immediately pressed UT and caused turnovers and disruption. UT on the other hand did what we always do and just let the other team dictate what they want to do and put zero pressure on the ball.

I give us three more wins this year. Not sure who they will be against but even with Golden, their really isn't anything here. I hate to say this but ticket sales will plummet enough that coach Martin will be on the hot seat next year for sure. The lat thing UT needs is another coaching change but magic Mike really did a number on us.

For Richardson being such a stopper, he sure gets lit up by the top players (Henderson, Young. and now Pope).

When will we be done with Hamilton hire; how many are left?

hikerdude writes:

These guys get worse every game. So much for the thought that one of Martin's strong points is his ability to coach up young players. Depressing. Even more so when you realize how long its going to take a new coach to bring us out of the hole Martin has dug for us. BBB now!!!

Ironcity writes:

in response to lomas98:

Never had the lead at home against average Georgia team. The turnovers to begin the game shows lack of concentration. Most of them are unforced. Stokes had a good second half, was non existent in first mainly due to lost possessions. Nice to see him have a good night from free throw line. McRae missed a pair of clutch free throws again late in game. Beginning to be a pattern with him. This team is what it is, will lose more than they win, turnovers will continue. Everyone thought Lopez would be the answer for golden, but his lack of minutes truly show what he can't do. While golden drives me crazy, he is needed on the floor.

Golden really is the best we have. In fact this team goes based on how he plays. His absence just really throws up a neon sign asking why our coach failed to recruit another PG his first two years to at least help. Their is no way he could have thought Washpun could be a PG in the SEC if he had watched any film on the kid. If we had another decent ball handler, I think we have 3-5 more wins. Martin may have cost himself this job. What a shame.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Bring Back Bruce.
BBB.

agohn writes:

I think I'm pretty glad I dropped buying season tickets to watch this crappy program. What a joke. UT is now the dead horse that everyone enjoys kicking the $hit out of.

You want to get a star player off his game...body up and double team. I mean what's up with Tennessee coaches who don't know when or how to make adjustments after halftime. Totally ridiculous.

TheFuj writes:

School is just losers. Just so poorly coached. They think they play defense. They put no pressure on. Martin just looks lost.
Just like the Dooley teams. As the season goes on and more coaching he does, the team just looks worse.

eduardo writes:

Just think he has coached this team wo Maymon for 6 months and this is what we get! Terrible!

Ironcity writes:

in response to VolFanHoping:

When will we be done with Hamilton hire; how many are left?

I think this is his last hire. Coach Serrano was chosen by a committee and Hamilton had limited input. Poor coach Serrano had to inherit a team (from coach Raliegh another Hamilton hire)that was even worse off then both the football team and the basketball team.

AHOUSE writes:

Team not being ready to start the game to go all out, put them in a hole . Standing around on offense, slow getting the ball up the court, even without Golden, waiting too late to get the ball off and throw up a brick, nothing has changed.

claiborneh writes:

It's happening.
Pearl will be back.
2014

Ironcity writes:

I will say this Pope reminded me of Lofton back in the good old days. Nailing one big three after another. UT reminds me of those old UGA teams that Lofton routinely score 25-30 a game against.

formerhoopvol writes:

a poorly coached team on both ends of the court...no heart. Basketball Vol fans deserve much better.

orangevagabond writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I will say this Pope reminded me of Lofton back in the good old days. Nailing one big three after another. UT reminds me of those old UGA teams that Lofton routinely score 25-30 a game against.

I agree.

willphill#241787 writes:

Let's face the cold hard facts. Martin can't coach. Took a team that has been ranked in the top ten, at worst top 20, during the Pearl years, to the bottom. It will only get worse. People don't want to watch boring losing basketball. Bring back coach Pearl before it is too late.

Bogytrain writes:

Buzz Ball is officially back in TBA. Awful, I can't watch this team - they are really bad and getting worse.

jt45 writes:

The way things have been going lately I wouldnt be surprised to see Hubbs flip to another team if this bunch doesnt start winning some games, they dont have much intensity these days. Its really tough to watch them get outcoached and outplayed by even the struggling teams. This season is turning out to be what was predicted last year in terms of their SEC standing.

The loss of Maymon and Golden has crippled any chance they had of making a tournament appearance. Where has the toughness gone in UT BB .

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

Kind of figured Pope would kill us but win a bunch of nobody 4PPG guys came off the bench knocking down 3's and pull ups I knew we were in trouble..Hard to beat a team shooting 50+% on threes and nearly 50% all around..This is pretty much rock bottom..Only good thing I saw was the offense was in motion the 2nd half and it helped some..

carbonzip writes:

Stokes got the ball going on some fast breaks. Tedious to watch the slow pace otherwise. Apply some full court pressure and play a zone. Concentrate on offense. zzzzzzzzzzz

1vavolfan writes:

This is the most disinterested I have been in UT hoops and I have been going to games since 1979. At least with Wade Houston you had Allan. O'Neill had a crazy personality and at least had the program heading in the right direction. This team is boring to watch and the coach acts like he has Asperger's syndrome. The team mirrors his personality. I knew it would be tough without Golden but losing to Ga at home shouldn't happen.

VolFanHoping writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I think this is his last hire. Coach Serrano was chosen by a committee and Hamilton had limited input. Poor coach Serrano had to inherit a team (from coach Raliegh another Hamilton hire)that was even worse off then both the football team and the basketball team.

I just went through the UT Sports site to look at the men's teams SEC finishes since 2003, when Hammy came in. It's just about shocking to see the consistent decline in every sport. And the one team that didn't, was coached by a cheat and liar. Sad.

VolFanHoping writes:

in response to VolFanHoping:

I just went through the UT Sports site to look at the men's teams SEC finishes since 2003, when Hammy came in. It's just about shocking to see the consistent decline in every sport. And the one team that didn't, was coached by a cheat and liar. Sad.

"almost every sport" I meant.

redskinvol1 writes:

I miss Bruce!!

willphill#241787 writes:

in response to VolFanHoping:

I just went through the UT Sports site to look at the men's teams SEC finishes since 2003, when Hammy came in. It's just about shocking to see the consistent decline in every sport. And the one team that didn't, was coached by a cheat and liar. Sad.

Bruce Pearl was neither a cheat nor a liar. He made a mistake and admitted it. He was and is the greatest ambassador for the University of Tennessee in a generation. Don't be so pious. "He who is without sin cast the first stone."

dvols writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

pcshowtime writes:

If they do not hire pearl back on aug 14, 2013. then we know there are big problems at UT and the administration does not have UT's best interest at heart. BBB

BolivrBob writes:

We suck

pcshowtime writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

If they do not hire pearl back on aug 14, 2013. then we know there are big problems at UT and the administration does not have UT's best interest at heart. BBB

my bad aug 24, 2014 so I guess we bozo I mean conzo coach one more season.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

If you would have told me that the Vols would shoot 46% from the field, shoot 23-28 from the free-throw line (stats courtesy ESPN) and outrebound the Georgia Bulldogs as well, all in TBA, I would have said that the Big Orange got a much needed win. But it didn't happen. I thought this might be a game where the Vols would take care of business. Instead, the Dogs came in and took care of business themselves. Now you have two teams going in opposite directions. Georgia has a 4-game SEC winning streak, and the Vols are in freefall. I thought that Tennessee, even without Maymon, could have a decent record in the conference. This is the weakest SEC I've seen in a long time. But right now, the Vols are having trouble beating anybody in this league, no matter how bad. Just not looking good for this team.

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