Just McRae can't save the day for UT against Georgia, 78-68

Junior scores 35, but rest of Vols total 33

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) reacts after a 3-point basket and a foul during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia in Athens, Ga., Saturday, March 2, 2013. (AP Photo/The Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds)

Photo by The Athens Banner Herald/AP

Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) reacts after a 3-point basket and a foul during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Georgia in Athens, Ga., Saturday, March 2, 2013. (AP Photo/The Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds)

Georgia forward Nemanja Djurisic (42) and Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) fight for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, March 2, 2013. 

(AP Photo/The Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds)

Photo by AJ Reynolds

Georgia forward Nemanja Djurisic (42) and Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) fight for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Athens, Ga., Saturday, March 2, 2013. (AP Photo/The Athens Banner-Herald, AJ Reynolds)

Photo with no caption

Photo by AJ Reynolds

ATHENS, Ga. — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had provisions. Jordan McRae had problems.

The former scored 25 points on Saturday. The latter 35.

“I mean, we lost, so the personal stuff doesn’t mean much,” McRae said, slumped against a Stegeman Coliseum wall, his hot hands tucked deep into the pockets of a Tennessee basketball jacket.

Then there was Caldwell-Pope. The star sophomore from Georgia gladly said, “It felt good that we managed to hold (Tennessee) down.”

McRae, making 10 of 15 shots and eight of 11 3-pointers, being the lone exception.

That made all the difference.

Caldwell-Pope was joined by 10 teammates in the scoring column, including 18 points from backcourt mate Charles Mann, in a 78-68 win over the Vols.

McRae’s fellow Vols finished 12-of-42 from the field. Kenny Hall was the only other UT double-digit scorer, adding 10.

Caldwell-Pope’s reinforcements made 17 of 38, adding 15 made free throws.

“We didn’t get a good flow on offense,” said UT coach Cuonzo Martin, who saw his team’s six-game winning streak end and its NCAA tournament hopes squeezed. “I thought right out of the gate we had trouble with our movement and spacing and thought we were standing around quite a bit.”

That defined a first half that saw Tennessee (17-11, 9-7 SEC) score 22 points,

thanks to 14 from McRae, and shoot 29.6 percent.

But the Vols only trailed 25-22.

“Sometimes you come out flat,” McRae said. “It’s a part of the game.”

The second half magnified the gulf in balance and productivity.

As UT searched for a second scorer, the Bulldogs poured in 53 points after halftime.

Caldwell-Pope was responsible for 17 of them, but nine of 11 Georgia players scored after the break.

Tennessee still had its chances.

A McRae 3-pointer gave the Vols a 41-40 lead with 12 minutes left in the second half. Pockets of orange scattered through Stegeman made their voices heard.

It wouldn’t last.

Georgia (14-15, 8-8) responded with a 6-0 run, taking back control, and later stretched its lead to 12 with 2:56 left on a 3-pointer by Kenny Gaines.

Gaines, who was a game-time decision with a heel injury, also converted a three-point play with 1:26 left after back-to-back 3-pointers from McRae trimmed the lead to 64-58.

McRae sat for the game’s final moments, fouling out after 39 minutes.

Georgia’s 78 points were the most allowed by UT in regulation since Ole Miss scored 92 points 16 games ago.

“They’re human and they were playing well, you won six in a row and you’re excited about what you’re doing,” Martin said. “It happens.”

Sending as many as three defenders at Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes, Georgia wrung out the Vols’ offense. Stokes scored eight points, four less than his season average, on seven shots in 31 minutes.

“The thing about it is, we’ve got to get Jarnell the ball,” McRae said. “Jarnell can’t have eight points and us win. It’s just not going to happen.”

No player languished against the Bulldogs as much as point guard Trae Golden, who spent much of the second half with his head hung low on the bench. Foul trouble and errant shooting marred his afternoon. The Georgia native was held without a point until the final minute of the game, making a free throw followed by a late 3-pointer to finish with four points on 1-of-10 shooting.

“They deserved to win,” Golden said, adding, “They seem to get us every year.”

Saturday was the second loss handed to UT by Georgia this season. The Bulldogs, 68-62 winners in Knoxville on Feb. 6, were the last team to beat the Vols before their winning streak.

Now UT, tied with Arkansas for sixth place in the SEC standings, will look to start a new one. A trip to Auburn awaits Wednesday night (TV: CSS, 9 p.m.) before Missouri visits Thompson-Boling Arena in next Saturday’s regular-season finale.

“We lost the basketball game to a team that played well on its home court,” Martin said. “You move forward.”

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

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 157

UT4prez writes:

Pitiful.

VolMoment writes:

Well..........did some of our team stay in Knoxville???????? Looked bad except Jordan he played like a giant! Other guys please.. help.... and NO none of you are ready for NBA! Ms. Vol moment

Scoon writes:

Watched your game. Jordon McRae fouled out with total of 35 points and three assists. He's done excellent even with the fouls..wish we had a shooter to catch fire like that. Announcers said UT would almost surely have to win the SEC to get in. It's been a wild season this year, that's for sure.

BigOrangeFreak writes:

Trae Golden needs to be reacquainted with the bench for a while.

I would rather lose with someone else actually putting forth the effort, than see him go out there and lay eggs like he did today.

Selfish, stupid, play at the most critical position on the floor will always get you a big, fat L against even lesser teams. And why is he and McBee still pumping up 3s when they are a combined 0-15, Coach Martin? Perhaps during one of the timeouts you could explain to them that McRae is hotter than a stolen pistol and you might want to work through him.

Embarassing.

BigOrangeFreak writes:

Beat Florida, (one of the best teams in the country)

Lose to Georgia (one of the worst teams in a down SEC)

Sounds about right.

UT4prez writes:

That looked like the Ole Miss game from last year's SEC tournament. Poor basketball IQ all the way around. The only reason it was close was because McRae's shots were going in. A lot of those were poor shots but we were playing so poorly that his bad shots were by far our best offense.

We have to win 4 straight to have a shot at getting into the NCAA tournament now but I seriously doubt it will happen. Good comeback on the season but like we did in most games we started too sluggish to overcome it.

I'm not advocating dumping Martin but guys my gut tells me we will have the same issues next year. I really hope I'm wrong. It worries me that the veterans on this team play such fundamentally poor basketball here at the end of the season and during the flow of the game it doesn't appear Martin addresses it. I really thought we should have pressed to try and get our guys in the flow of the game. Oh well.

PUL4VOLS writes:

Back to earth sadly and the NCAA bubble has burst. Got to keep going and get the last two anyway and make a showing in the SEC tourney. Looks like NIT at best now.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Well, that ended my treadmill running streak..I logged 7.5 miles when it was obvious our Vols would lose..This game was one I was worried about because they allowed UGA to get open looks all night the last time they played..I still say this is not the end..UT with wins over Aubie & Mizzou could still find a way to sneak in as an at large bid..That would also mean at least a win or two in the SEC tourney..Lose to either one and UT must win the SEC tourney to go dancing..JAT.

notorange writes:

I hope that wasn't WD that was cuffed and lead out of the stands at the end of the game... ;)

AlpharettaVol writes:

Could Golden have played worse? I don't think so. He got in foul trouble by committing fouls 50 feet from the basket and generally looking mystified on the court. Now they have to win the tournament to get in. Don't think they can do it with this kind of choking by guys who have to perform for any kind of success.

brokendownoldvol writes:

A good coach would realize when you play a team that is actually worse than you and actually shoots worse than you and your team is flat and playing with a weed hangover RUN A ZONE! If only DeVoe had known about all of the weed hang overs.

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to UT4prez:

That looked like the Ole Miss game from last year's SEC tournament. Poor basketball IQ all the way around. The only reason it was close was because McRae's shots were going in. A lot of those were poor shots but we were playing so poorly that his bad shots were by far our best offense.

We have to win 4 straight to have a shot at getting into the NCAA tournament now but I seriously doubt it will happen. Good comeback on the season but like we did in most games we started too sluggish to overcome it.

I'm not advocating dumping Martin but guys my gut tells me we will have the same issues next year. I really hope I'm wrong. It worries me that the veterans on this team play such fundamentally poor basketball here at the end of the season and during the flow of the game it doesn't appear Martin addresses it. I really thought we should have pressed to try and get our guys in the flow of the game. Oh well.

I also think the jury is still out on Martin, but I have to agree that if he can't get these guys up for a must-win game against a lesser opponent, he's probably not going to be a long term solution for us.

We are--and have been--competitive in the conference. Notwithstanding, Coach Pearl's indiscretions, he had this team playing exciting, tough, and TOURNAMENT LEVEL basketball. Martin has only been able to do that over short spurts.

Bench Golden, put oven mitts on McBee (when he's 0-8) and GET THE DAMN BALL TO MCRAE AND STOKES!

Not a very difficult concept.

primetimevol writes:

McRae drops 35 points today and the rest of the team goes 12 for 42??? If I was Jordan, I'd kick everyone of my teammates in the nuts! That doubly goes for you Golden and McBee!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

I know we're frustrated. Agree with all the above.

Apparently, the game plan was to go down to Athens, have 4 guys basically stand around and watch McRae play his heart out, and then observe as Georgia calmly put on a free throw clinic.

Vols weren't going to win clearly, so it seemed better to just let Georgia hold the ball more, and stop sending them to the line.

Yes, they beat the good teams, then did this stuff against an inferior bunch.

Anyway, to be honest about it, they did punch a ticket..............to the NIT. We know the only possible dancing ticket now is to sweep the last 2 and then the SEC tournament.

It was so bad folks that I started watching VCU ( who wanted to win their game ) and then some golf. That type of day !

TopTenn writes:

Shame shame shame............ we were not prepared. GBO!

redskinvol1 writes:

I miss the dance.I miss Bruce!!

brokendownoldvol writes:

McRae has a touch of Bernard King in him.

underthehill writes:

Out coached ..out played..out hustled..2 of 3 best players..no shows..no way to argue this team should be in the big show..to win the SEC tourn..Moore and Richardson are going to have to step up ..take their open shots and contribute on offense..both are fighters and willing to compete..with McRae playing like he is and Stokes not waiting till the 2nd half to go to war..UT still could win the SEC tourn..but not with the Golden and game coaching we had today..

budd#207344 writes:

This loss falls squarely on Jarnell Stokes. He was out played by a couple of third rate big men. He showed no interest and made a total of six points. Golden cannot score unless he can drive and have the specter of Stokes in the paint. All JS did today was clog the paint. Kenny Hall had a better game than Jarnell. He will never make it to the NBA with his current mindset. I thought it was the loss of Maymon but it appears to be an attitude issue. He needs to learn to play hard all the time. If he can't play hard for 30 games what would he do with 82?

pratt71 writes:

in response to redskinvol1:

I miss the dance.I miss Bruce!!

This team is far from BIG DANCE material. Cant win in the clutch. Jarnell is not a 5 STAR caliber player. Please give Skylar a ONE WAY TICKET back to Rutledge. Probably an early exit in the NIT. Just saying

chipmurphy461 writes:

Georgia players were consistently going over Stokes back. Everytime UT made a basket they would turn right around and get called for a foul, essentially killing whatever momentum they had just gained. That being said they have an extremely tough time winning on the road (and beating Georgia!!). They should not be in a single conversation about the NCAA tournament. I don't want another 20 years of UT basketball being irrelevant. Cuonzo inherited talent when he took over and brought talent in! He has just as much sporadic success as he does sporadic failure. Bring back Bruce before he's hired by another school and we're stuck with an empty arena while we search for the next UT basketball coach who can raise UT from the SEC basement!

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

Saw this puppy from a mile away.

sameolvolalum writes:

Am I the only person who kept yelling "where's the whistle" every time Stokes had the ball. Two separate games were called today. One was a call-all-ticky-tack on the Vols (except for one foul that UT got away with), and the other was "no blood...no foul" for UGA. This poor job of officiating was a disservice to the SEC, so I'd say this wasn't Slive talking.....it was money. The refs took UT out of the game half-way into the first half.

south_alabama_vol writes:

in response to VolMoment:

Well..........did some of our team stay in Knoxville???????? Looked bad except Jordan he played like a giant! Other guys please.. help.... and NO none of you are ready for NBA! Ms. Vol moment

Some of them should have stayed at home

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Chicken or the egg, Grovebilly?

Do you think they went away from the pick and roll purposefully? I just don't get how a team who has a recipe for success, quits doin what's workin for them. This seems to be the case with this team; beat someone who is "better" and lose to a team you should clearly beat.

I've scratched my head so damn much over this team, I don't have any nails (or hair) left. Damned frustrating.

tnvol34 writes:

Again, TN teams cannot take advantage and win games they need to win, to get in! Beat a good team, lose to a bad team, not a recipe for success!

TopTenn writes:

Scratching my head. Why can't we beat UGA?

bigdisbig writes:

Tennessee just does not match up with Ga. The Vols can play Ga. 10 games and they might win 2 of them. Mark Fox just out coaches Martin and can get his team up to beat the lackluster Vols. The blew any chances of and NCAA bid unles they win the tourney. You lose to one of the worst teams in the SEC 2 times in a season and you don't deserve to attend the big dance. Its NIT for the Vol again this year.

SevenT writes:

Tennessee climaxed early again this year

willphill#241787 writes:

Welcome to the NIT. Out coached-out played. One more year with coach Martin.

Rumblefish writes:

(in my best John Madden or Bob Knight voice)

When you don't score more than the other team, you lose.

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to SevenT:

Tennessee climaxed early again this year

I think you meant to say they "peaked" early.

Oh, I get it.

Ha Ha!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

Tennessee climaxed early again this year

They sure beat the h3ll outta tucky..

wigmeister writes:

Enough with the Bruce stuff, he isn't coming back. Deal with it! Said it before, and I will say it again, until we bring in more real shooters, we will continue to have problems! On another point, why would our players even try to do something stupid 50 feet from the basket. You will get caught every time as it is in the wide open spaces and easy to see. Stupid play!

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

They sure beat the h3ll outta tucky..

I think you can say "hell" on here.

But that's about it...

8inarow writes:

Everyone knew the win over the Gators was a fluke. This just confirmed it.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to budd#207344:

This loss falls squarely on Jarnell Stokes. He was out played by a couple of third rate big men. He showed no interest and made a total of six points. Golden cannot score unless he can drive and have the specter of Stokes in the paint. All JS did today was clog the paint. Kenny Hall had a better game than Jarnell. He will never make it to the NBA with his current mindset. I thought it was the loss of Maymon but it appears to be an attitude issue. He needs to learn to play hard all the time. If he can't play hard for 30 games what would he do with 82?

budd,

Agree. The talk about Stokes turning pro by some people?

The way he played today, IMO we can forget about Stokes going anywhere. It's McRae we should be worried about.

If Jordan realizes there will be games like this where he has to do it all himself, he might just think let me go where 5 guys are on the same page. You could see the disgust on his face as the game wound down.

McBee? After 5 or 6 misses, it seemed by then it was a waste of time to keep up with the bricks.

Vols led 7-0 and then essentially died.

eduardo writes:

How can Mcrae only get 4 shots in the last 10 min? Got to go to the hot hand! Man Richardson just flat out killed us today! What was up with him? Airball a layup and a double dribble with no pressure. Plus he couldnt get out and d up his man! Golden goes without saying!

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to 8inarow:

Everyone knew the win over the Gators was a fluke. This just confirmed it.

I wouldn't say that game was a fluke; Florida was playing with some guys hurt, and we play well at home.

I would say that this team consistently plays down to lesser competition, and for some reason, Martin seems to get out-coached in games like this.

eduardo writes:

in response to SevenT:

Tennessee climaxed early again this year

Hows it feel to get the !#$& out of your team? You know as well as us that if your name wasnt Kenlucky you wouldnt even be listed as a possible ncaa tourney team! Prepare to vacate shipe!!!!!!

jt45 writes:

Not sure what was going on with Golden and stokes today, but after big games like the Florida win sometimes teams just hit a wall, it happens to the best of them. UGA has been a bad matchup for the Vols this year with their athleticism and speed off the dribble and they drove several times to the baskets with ease. McBee tries but there is no way he should be matched up on Pope and I think that was a bad decision however the vols got into bad matchups throughout the game by making bad switches and just looked terrible defending off those screens Georgia ran. Golden may have had a bad game but he caught some god awful touch fouls from this group of officials as did a couple of other Vols on the floor. Stokes was immediately put on foul alert by the whistle blowers as well and you could see the frustration on their faces fairly early in the game from some of those calls.

Road games in the SEC are never easy and today was just another example of the Home court sixth man advantage but if the Vols had only had another player besides jorden step up today they would have won this one.

Considering what was on the line I really expected them to be ready for this one, perhaps they are not ready but Mcrea certianly is.

Going to take a huge effort down the stretch and through the tournament to get a bid.

Go Vols.

Smokey91 writes:

in response to brokendownoldvol:

McRae has a touch of Bernard King in him.

Not sure if I would go that far but he does remind me a lot of Jujuan Smith.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

History tells you that when your team ( whomever that is ) plays a game like this one today, and doesn't learn something from it, the next one will be a repeat performance. If the Vols don't want that repeat, then we'll see a change in both attitude and/or performance against Auburn and Missouri.

If not, well..............................

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to Scoon:

Watched your game. Jordon McRae fouled out with total of 35 points and three assists. He's done excellent even with the fouls..wish we had a shooter to catch fire like that. Announcers said UT would almost surely have to win the SEC to get in. It's been a wild season this year, that's for sure.

Why do you and others always put the announcers of a game in a position of authority or knowledge? As if they are the standard for knowing whats going on. Who cares what they think? Those guys were clueless today. They missed calls that were made, made incorrect statistical statements,and don't seem to know the rules.

BxVol writes:

Jordan McRae is turning his potential into reality!I hope next season I can say the same thing about Jarnell Stokes.Jarnell certainly has the strength, but needs to develop low post moves.Too much dribbling in the post allows multiple defenders to converge on him forcing him into bad shots or getting the ball stripped.I would love to see a turnaround jumper from him next season.
Hope our team gets it together because if they do they can win the tournment.It certainly will be a tough task, but Florida and Kentucky should not scare them after having beaten both of them this season.

chad954ut writes:

Was that Butch Jones going out in cuffs ?

Aussievol writes:

Woohoo! Another No. 1 seed in the NIT. Another case of too little too late. Another end to NCAA hopes by losing to a team we should beat. Another March waiting for Spring practice. Another UT program that hasn't been relevant for a long time for no other reason than we wont pay for a decent coach. Another UT fan wondering if this will ever end.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to Aussievol:

Woohoo! Another No. 1 seed in the NIT. Another case of too little too late. Another end to NCAA hopes by losing to a team we should beat. Another March waiting for Spring practice. Another UT program that hasn't been relevant for a long time for no other reason than we wont pay for a decent coach. Another UT fan wondering if this will ever end.

"A UT team that hasn't been relevant in a long time?" You sir (or maam) are an idiot and you may want to sit the next few plays out.

oldster writes:

The Vols can beat good teams, but not bad ones. Sounds like a lack of motivation.

chad954ut writes:

Jordan McRae played with a ton of heart. He wanted that game so bad. However, I thought Golden, Richardson, Stokes and company played like they had stayed out all night partying and broke curfew, if they have one.

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