Vols can't overcome close-game curse, dwell on missed opportunities after overtime loss at A&M

Texas A&M's Antwan Space is called for the offensive foul on Tennessee's Armani Moore during the first half of an NCAA men's basketball game at Reed Arena in College Station, TX Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.  (Bryan College Station Eagle/ Stuart Villanueva)

Photo by Stuart Villanueva/ The Eagle

Texas A&M's Antwan Space is called for the offensive foul on Tennessee's Armani Moore during the first half of an NCAA men's basketball game at Reed Arena in College Station, TX Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (Bryan College Station Eagle/ Stuart Villanueva)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Jarnell Stokes got the best look at the shot that might be remembered as the final dagger in the Tennessee men’s basketball team’s chances of making the NCAA tournament as an at-large selection.

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Comments » 40

lawrenced#263864 writes:

NIT here we come!!!

Volsreign1 writes:

in response to lawrenced#263864:

NIT here we come!!!

LOL, I ain't going.

lcvols writes:

One and done in any tournament, at least the baseball and the softball teams are doing well for now. The softball team needs to bring home a championship this year!

OrangePride writes:

Stokes is exactly right....should have never gotten to that point. That's the story of the season. And Tennessee shouldn't be at this point of being on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament either....not with this kind of supposed talent. But... Lament not; it will be much worse next year. Hart better send the black curtains out to the cleaners. He's gonna need them.

Plasticman85 writes:

To not make an appearance in the NCAA tourney with one of the best big men ( Stokes) in UT history and a scorer like McRae on the same team is unthinkable. I could coach this team to 20+ wins. Actually, if you just rolled the ball out on the court and said " go play" , this team would win 20+ games. I truly believe this coaching staff is holding them back. The only way to keep the black curtains out of TBA next season is to hire back Bruce Pearl.

wilk58 writes:

In 3 years have they had a good inbounds play. I don't remember one. Mcbee threw up a prayer against ole miss that went in.

dwalret#217077 writes:

Sad!Sad!Sad! No fun to watch!

STLVOLS writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

To not make an appearance in the NCAA tourney with one of the best big men ( Stokes) in UT history and a scorer like McRae on the same team is unthinkable. I could coach this team to 20+ wins. Actually, if you just rolled the ball out on the court and said " go play" , this team would win 20+ games. I truly believe this coaching staff is holding them back. The only way to keep the black curtains out of TBA next season is to hire back Bruce Pearl.

I truly believe Pearl is not coming back and do not want him back. You keep bringing up Pearl in every comment. Yes, a coaching change would be in order but CCM will be back next year, unfortunately. As for sideline fans who have never played basketball, it is easy to say how many wins there be if fan was coach.

maciste54 writes:

The apparent lack of interest as displayed by the lack of comments on this story is a sad commentary on the state of UT basketball.

magicbyswh#221420 writes:

I would rather have Bruce back as our coach rather than have to play against him. I was listening to a national radio show the other day and they said the SEC needs Bruce Pearl. Need an infusion to the terrible SEC. Be it at Tennessee or another SEC school Bruce is needed in the SEC. Would you rather be for him or against him in games. I vote for him. He at least had me excited about TN basketball. He may not coach Tennessee again but 6 straight NCAA tourneys was no fluke. IF he got close he got in. Martin does not have that. He is a good man but not what Tennessee needs.

underthehill writes:

in response to STLVOLS:

I truly believe Pearl is not coming back and do not want him back. You keep bringing up Pearl in every comment. Yes, a coaching change would be in order but CCM will be back next year, unfortunately. As for sideline fans who have never played basketball, it is easy to say how many wins there be if fan was coach.

Martin may or may not be back next year..the history of UT sports is coaching changes are determined by attendance ..UT will have to project the cost of less attendance dollars and compare it with the cost of a buyout..one time you lose a season ticket holder..it ain't easy to get 'em back..it will be all about money...and I agree Pearl will not be coming back to UT ..the worst possible scenario for UT would be for bama to hire Pearl..I won't be surprised if that happens..

fannotsheep writes:

Missed opportunities kind of sums it all up doesn't it?

pingkr62 writes:

in response to STLVOLS:

I truly believe Pearl is not coming back and do not want him back. You keep bringing up Pearl in every comment. Yes, a coaching change would be in order but CCM will be back next year, unfortunately. As for sideline fans who have never played basketball, it is easy to say how many wins there be if fan was coach.

I can't understand the fixation some Tennessee fans have with former coaches like Fulmer and Pearl. Both coaches were fired for good reasons. Fulmer lost his job because he became complacent, and thought he had the Tennessee job for as long as he wanted it. Pearl was fired for out right cheating and lying to the NCAA. Fulmer is gone and most of us are glad he is. If Hart were to re-hire Pearl(which he won't do) U.T. would be the laughing stock of college basketball. The one and only thing I can give Pearl credit for is that it is possible to win in basketball at Tennessee. There are plenty of coaches who would be willing to take the Tennessee job. All it takes is hiring the right guy. G.B.O.!!!

murrayvol writes:

Stokes was 5 of 7 in the 1st half and 1 of 3 in the 2nd.

Did anyone on the bench realize that until they read the box score?

That said, the Vols lost this for lack of defense. Hate it but that's life. Wish CCM could get this TO thing ironed out.

Plasticman85 writes:

in response to STLVOLS:

I truly believe Pearl is not coming back and do not want him back. You keep bringing up Pearl in every comment. Yes, a coaching change would be in order but CCM will be back next year, unfortunately. As for sideline fans who have never played basketball, it is easy to say how many wins there be if fan was coach.

As a season ticket holder, if CCM is back, I won't be.. Based on most fans displeasure, I doubt I would be the only one not to renew their tix. Make another mid-major hire that nobody has ever heard of and Same result, lose 1,000's of season tickets. Do the math, 5.000 less season tickets will cost UT almost $1M a season. Hire Pearl and that will fix itself as myself and thousands of others will return to TBA. If not, dry clean the black curtains.

Snapshot writes:

in response to pingkr62:

I can't understand the fixation some Tennessee fans have with former coaches like Fulmer and Pearl. Both coaches were fired for good reasons. Fulmer lost his job because he became complacent, and thought he had the Tennessee job for as long as he wanted it. Pearl was fired for out right cheating and lying to the NCAA. Fulmer is gone and most of us are glad he is. If Hart were to re-hire Pearl(which he won't do) U.T. would be the laughing stock of college basketball. The one and only thing I can give Pearl credit for is that it is possible to win in basketball at Tennessee. There are plenty of coaches who would be willing to take the Tennessee job. All it takes is hiring the right guy. G.B.O.!!!

Oh yeah, playing an up tempo exciting style of basketball and going to THE tournament every year that would certainly make you " the laughing stock of college basketball". Give me a break!!

As for the "out right cheating" part, you do realize having a high school junior off campus is now perfectly legal, don't you?

Sure I'll give you that there are plenty of coaches who would be willing to take the UT job, but how many can get the job done and win at a high level? Clearly the current coach doesn't fit that description, in my opinion. Until this administration has a commitment to excellence we will continue to see a mediocre product on the court.

Obviously I'm a Bruce fan. If there is someone else out there that could bring the enthusiasm, passion and excitement and winning that he did then I would say bring him on.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to wilk58:

In 3 years have they had a good inbounds play. I don't remember one. Mcbee threw up a prayer against ole miss that went in.

Uh, well, it surely looked to me like the Vols had the right play to Stokes in what have should been the end of the game. You don't get a much better look than Jarnell right at the rim. As for Stokes, or any other somewhat shaky shooter at the line in a crucial situation, you just CAN'T leave that shot short! The old saying about putting in golf is, "Never up, never in." The best arc for a free throw is a fairly high one anyway, so if you aren't absolutely confident in the shot, deliberately put extra arc on the ball. At least give yourself a chance. With a high arc, the ball drops down on the rim, and often bounces straight up on a miss, so you might get an extra bounce on the rim that might give it a chance to drop. You also give your teammates a better chance to rebound a miss. If you shoot it hard, sometimes it will bounce higher and probably farther; if you shoot it short and soft, it drops right down where the opponents' main rebounders have likely already carved out space. That wasn't really a consideration in this case, since Stokes went to the line with essentially no time on the clock, but it might be something to remember for future situations like this.

johnlg00 writes:

If the administration does decide to make a change, they might look at the MTSU coach, whose name escapes me at the moment. They have had a strong program there for several years now. They lost their All-American PG, Isiah Caanan, last year and hardly missed a beat this year. Since UT isn't likely to spend what it takes to get one of the top 10 coaches, look at who has done the most with the least at the mid-level. Of course, that is sorta what they did in hiring Martin--and Pearl, for that matter--so there are no guarantees either way.

wigmeister writes:

I have seen a couple of posts on the lack of comments on this site. There are reasons for this. There is no sense saying the same thing after game after game. I have said it so many times in the past, why keep repeating the same thing continuously. This year is a bust. Next year will be a bust. The coaching staff is a bust. Hart won't fix it. A 22,000 seat venue with 5 to 10,000 seats filled is a bust. Problem is, I don't know if Hart will wake up and smell the roses even if they are right in front of him. And another problem, no matter if he does make a change, it is going to take several years to fix it. UT sports at its best!

underthehill writes:

If you are talking about Middle Tn State U ..the coach is Kermit Davis..his asst is Monte Towe..he has proved he is a far better coach than Martin..I seriously doubt anyone in the UT admin would have enough common sense to even see it..much less hire him..regarding Pearl..he is obviously going to be offered a job somewhere..maybe bama or auburn..this would be a bad deal for the next UT coach..

perldoc writes:

I say they move back to Stokely. If I recall it held about 11K. Should be about right for next year if Bruce isn't hired.

ralphiefor3 writes:

Who is dyron Nixon?

wilk58 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Uh, well, it surely looked to me like the Vols had the right play to Stokes in what have should been the end of the game. You don't get a much better look than Jarnell right at the rim. As for Stokes, or any other somewhat shaky shooter at the line in a crucial situation, you just CAN'T leave that shot short! The old saying about putting in golf is, "Never up, never in." The best arc for a free throw is a fairly high one anyway, so if you aren't absolutely confident in the shot, deliberately put extra arc on the ball. At least give yourself a chance. With a high arc, the ball drops down on the rim, and often bounces straight up on a miss, so you might get an extra bounce on the rim that might give it a chance to drop. You also give your teammates a better chance to rebound a miss. If you shoot it hard, sometimes it will bounce higher and probably farther; if you shoot it short and soft, it drops right down where the opponents' main rebounders have likely already carved out space. That wasn't really a consideration in this case, since Stokes went to the line with essentially no time on the clock, but it might be something to remember for future situations like this.

Your right I wasn't able to watch game. Just now read article again with a little more comprehension where stokes tied up at end if regulation.

govolsmm33 writes:

The Vols lost this game is the first half not the second half, not the final minutes and not in overtime. We spent the first half looking like a team that was doing a "walk through practice" on offense for the benefit of freshman Damarius Thompson. And I guess the guys needed a walk through review on 1 3 1 defense as well. That is the only explanation I can come up with for why Stokes looked perplexed when Texas A&M did not wait for them to set up their defense before running down and scoring.

Did anyone notice what we did with less than two minutes and 8 points down. Our experienced players played basketball, like they were born to do.

This game was reminiscent of early season games with Wichita St, NC St and UTEP when Martin decided it was more important to play three freshman than worry with winning basketball games. He was so busy trying to teach Thompson new plays and plays designed to teach him how to take a shot that the rest of them were left biding their time, much like their minutes sitting on the bench in the previously mentioned games while watching three freshman make a mess of any positive measures that had been made. This time McCray and Richardon had ample opportunity to not only stand around in the game while Martin did his walk through for Thompson, they also got to sit on the bench while Martin went back to the familiarity of pre season. The last few games coach finally figured out (after how many tries) Davis was not the man for the four man spot. Reese and Moore were the men for that. Oops, guess he forgot because rather than rest the big men he went back to sitting his best defender and best scorer in order to rotate the subs. And so much for the 4 spot, lets try them at 2 and 3 since it worked so well when we did that with the three freshman in pre season. What a mess.

I truly feel for our guys. The best game of the season came after a team meeting with no coaches. I wish they (the coaches) had stayed home on Saturday too. For one and a half minute, we saw what could have been. A blow out like Virginia, quite possible.

murrayvol writes:

in response to johnlg00:

If the administration does decide to make a change, they might look at the MTSU coach, whose name escapes me at the moment. They have had a strong program there for several years now. They lost their All-American PG, Isiah Caanan, last year and hardly missed a beat this year. Since UT isn't likely to spend what it takes to get one of the top 10 coaches, look at who has done the most with the least at the mid-level. Of course, that is sorta what they did in hiring Martin--and Pearl, for that matter--so there are no guarantees either way.

Hold on there john.

First it's MSU as in Murray State and his name is Prohm......Steve Prohm. He's very good and we'd like to keep him but if he does decide to leave the Vols would get my vote. Since he's a Bama grad, I think that's a more likely destination.

rbrentbeasley#347193 writes:

in response to pingkr62:

I can't understand the fixation some Tennessee fans have with former coaches like Fulmer and Pearl. Both coaches were fired for good reasons. Fulmer lost his job because he became complacent, and thought he had the Tennessee job for as long as he wanted it. Pearl was fired for out right cheating and lying to the NCAA. Fulmer is gone and most of us are glad he is. If Hart were to re-hire Pearl(which he won't do) U.T. would be the laughing stock of college basketball. The one and only thing I can give Pearl credit for is that it is possible to win in basketball at Tennessee. There are plenty of coaches who would be willing to take the Tennessee job. All it takes is hiring the right guy. G.B.O.!!!

If you think hiring Pearl would make UT the "laughing stock of college basketball", you simply don't have a clue! Remember, Alabama hired Kiffin as OC and Louisville hired Petrino as HC and there was nothing more than a giggle before everyone moved-on to more interesting topics. UT could ride that laughing stock all the way to attendance records and a winning program… something the current coach can't do!

bige141#1433363 writes:

in response to perldoc:

I say they move back to Stokely. If I recall it held about 11K. Should be about right for next year if Bruce isn't hired.

Stokely has been, or is being, torn down

UT4prez writes:

in response to johnlg00:

If the administration does decide to make a change, they might look at the MTSU coach, whose name escapes me at the moment. They have had a strong program there for several years now. They lost their All-American PG, Isiah Caanan, last year and hardly missed a beat this year. Since UT isn't likely to spend what it takes to get one of the top 10 coaches, look at who has done the most with the least at the mid-level. Of course, that is sorta what they did in hiring Martin--and Pearl, for that matter--so there are no guarantees either way.

John, if I recall correctly Martin only had 3 years head coaching experience so I don't think they went for the best there. Pearl had huge success at Southern Indiana over a long period of time and then decent success at Wisc-Mil highlighted by a Sweet 16 run his final year there. Unless I am mistaken about Martin the two resumes were quite different.

Snapshot writes:

in response to perldoc:

I say they move back to Stokely. If I recall it held about 11K. Should be about right for next year if Bruce isn't hired.

Just one thing wrong with your suggestion, they are turning Stokely into a parking lot! A lot of great memories from that place.

bige141#1433363 writes:

in response to ralphiefor3:

Who is dyron Nixon?

Former vol great, played for DeVoe in the late 80s and was on the first team to play in Thompson Boling arena, I think I read recently that he passed away. From Fort Walton Beach, Florida, was a really good player, enjoyed watching him

STLVOLS writes:

in response to underthehill:

Martin may or may not be back next year..the history of UT sports is coaching changes are determined by attendance ..UT will have to project the cost of less attendance dollars and compare it with the cost of a buyout..one time you lose a season ticket holder..it ain't easy to get 'em back..it will be all about money...and I agree Pearl will not be coming back to UT ..the worst possible scenario for UT would be for bama to hire Pearl..I won't be surprised if that happens..

Your good point well made.

STLVOLS writes:

in response to Plasticman85:

As a season ticket holder, if CCM is back, I won't be.. Based on most fans displeasure, I doubt I would be the only one not to renew their tix. Make another mid-major hire that nobody has ever heard of and Same result, lose 1,000's of season tickets. Do the math, 5.000 less season tickets will cost UT almost $1M a season. Hire Pearl and that will fix itself as myself and thousands of others will return to TBA. If not, dry clean the black curtains.

You are under no obligation to be a season ticket holder watching games that anger you.

millerlawwv#1431796 writes:

in response to bige141#1433363:

Former vol great, played for DeVoe in the late 80s and was on the first team to play in Thompson Boling arena, I think I read recently that he passed away. From Fort Walton Beach, Florida, was a really good player, enjoyed watching him

You are correct except his name was Dyron Nix, not Nixon

volnsc writes:

I really feel bad for the players. I think they have been under coached and much of the blame for the losses fall to that category. These guys, many of whom were highly recruited, deserved better. CCM is a good man that appears to be in a bit over his head and I fault the folks that hired him for that. It will take someone like Pearl, if not Pearl, to arouse interest in the UT BB program again. Those candidates are not walking around with neon signs over their heads. They are high risk-high reward or big loss type coaches. But they are there. I had never heard of Billy Donavon when he was hired at UF.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to wilk58:

Your right I wasn't able to watch game. Just now read article again with a little more comprehension where stokes tied up at end if regulation.

You did have a good overall point, though. For most of the second half, the Vols didn't run enough good plays for Jarnell. I think he had 16 points in the first half and three in the second, just like another similar instance a couple of games ago. It seems that after Jarnell has a big half, the opponents defend him differently in the second half but the Vols haven't found a way to adjust to the opponents' adjustments.

This is the heart of the criticisms about Martin's coaching ability--or the players' basketball IQ, which amounts to much of the same thing--which is that he has a limited imagination and ability to respond to in-game situations. Of course, some of this may be on Jarnell as well. If he finds it difficult to get the ball where he wants it, he becomes less active when he should be MORE active. The other players have to work harder to GET him the ball, not just give up because the opponents are giving them different looks.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to UT4prez:

John, if I recall correctly Martin only had 3 years head coaching experience so I don't think they went for the best there. Pearl had huge success at Southern Indiana over a long period of time and then decent success at Wisc-Mil highlighted by a Sweet 16 run his final year there. Unless I am mistaken about Martin the two resumes were quite different.

That's why I used the words "sorta what they did".

johnlg00 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Hold on there john.

First it's MSU as in Murray State and his name is Prohm......Steve Prohm. He's very good and we'd like to keep him but if he does decide to leave the Vols would get my vote. Since he's a Bama grad, I think that's a more likely destination.

You're right, I got the two confused. However, I think MTSU has been pretty good lately as well.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volnsc:

I really feel bad for the players. I think they have been under coached and much of the blame for the losses fall to that category. These guys, many of whom were highly recruited, deserved better. CCM is a good man that appears to be in a bit over his head and I fault the folks that hired him for that. It will take someone like Pearl, if not Pearl, to arouse interest in the UT BB program again. Those candidates are not walking around with neon signs over their heads. They are high risk-high reward or big loss type coaches. But they are there. I had never heard of Billy Donavon when he was hired at UF.

Certainly Donovan didn't have a big name in the South before he wound up at Florida, but he was an All-American at Providence under Rick Pittino and then had a few successful years coaching at Providence before coming to Florida. I think he also assisted Pittino for a few years. Providence may not be one of the traditional basketball powers, but when Donovan was there, the Big East was the premier basketball conference in the country, a far better field in which to prepare to be a head coach than a "one-bid" conference.

VolFolks writes:

in response to bige141#1433363:

Stokely has been, or is being, torn down

Then just leave the baskets, paint the concrete and set up some bleachers. The way the Vols BB team is playing and the associated fan enthusiasm, that is all that's needed.

VolFolks writes:

May not even need bleachers, as a few extra folding chairs might suffice.

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