Cuonzo Martin explains problem areas in loss to Texas A&M

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin yells from the sidelines as Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) looks on during the first half against Texas A&M at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin yells from the sidelines as Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) looks on during the first half against Texas A&M at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Cuonzo Martin channeled his inner mechanic on Monday.

After the Tennessee men’s basketball coach had a chance to dissect how his team let a 14-point halftime lead turn into a 57-56 loss to Texas A&M at Thompson-Boling on Saturday, he gave a list of problem areas that need to be fixed before the Vols (10-5, 1-1 SEC) can run smoothly once again.

“Overall, I think we are solid,” Martin said in his weekly press briefing. “I like where we are. We just have to tighten some screws up here and there.”

Martin called for key stops on defense and better movement on offense, but focused on taking care of the ball. A strength for his team has turned into a weakness.

“We’ve got to get our turnovers down,” Martin said. “The last two games, 16 turnovers a game. We have to get that down. We are a better team than that. We’ve got to take care of the basketball to give ourselves a chance to win games. Whether you are at home or on the road, you’ve got to take care of the basketball.”

Martin also challenged junior forward Jarnell Stokes to play through foul trouble. Stokes scored six points and pulled down five rebounds after a couple of early fouls on Saturday.

“He’s always a different player when he gets those fouls early,” Martin said. “For him it’s just staying aggressive, not getting consumed. I wouldn’t say it’s how the game was officiated from his standpoint I think he needs to stay locked in from start to finish. Whether he is posting up or facing up, I didn’t think he was as aggressive.”

Martin was asked why he didn’t call a time out after Texas A&M forward Antwan Space hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Instead UT used its last 4.4 seconds to come up with an errant 3-pointer by senior guard Jordan McRae.

“When I saw where Jordan had the ball, I thought he had a great opportunity to attack with 4-plus seconds on the court to get to the rim,” Martin said. “I thought he was hesitant and probed the defense with his dribble as opposed to attacking.”

Martin was also asked about the referees’ tendency to call moving screens on the Vols during the game.

“I thought maybe one or two was moving,” he said. “But five of them. I didn’t think that was the case.”

The Vols don’t have much time to get things tweaked. They host Auburn (8-5, 0-2) on Wednesday (TV: CSS, 7:04 p.m.). The Tigers’ last two losses were heartbreakers. They fell 65-62 at Ole Miss then lost 70-68 to Missouri at home.

“They’ve done a good job as a team,” Martin said. ‘They’ve gotten better throughout this short season.”

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Comments » 13

bUTch__please writes:

1. Need key stops on defense.
2. Better movement on offense.
3. Passive Stokes.
4. Jordan being hesitant.
5. 16 turnovers a game.
6. Moving screens.
7. Poor time-out management.

"Overall, I think we're solid." - Coach Zo.

westknoxrepub writes:

He's in over his head, it's clear. Time for him to go and for us to do the right thing and bring back Bruce.

wigmeister writes:

I feel also that he is in over his head. Said it before. He is a horrible game coach. Time to spend some money and get a good coach in here.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

Two of the above posts are probably correct about getting a new coach but there are three things that I accept as fact. (1) we pay too much in taxes, (2) Elvis is dead and (3) Bruce ain't coming back!!!

Snapshot writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

He's in over his head, it's clear. Time for him to go and for us to do the right thing and bring back Bruce.

Bruce isn't coming back as long as the current administration is in place, and why would he want to?

WaitUntilNextYear writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

He's in over his head, it's clear. Time for him to go and for us to do the right thing and bring back Bruce.

He isn't coming back and you know it.

ccragan#347765 writes:

Cuonzo just needs to look in the mirror to see the problem. The majority of fans certainly can see it.

Bruce is not coming back. It is more likely a state income tax will be passed before Bruce comes back.

Dude1980 writes:

in response to ccragan#347765:

Cuonzo just needs to look in the mirror to see the problem. The majority of fans certainly can see it.

Bruce is not coming back. It is more likely a state income tax will be passed before Bruce comes back.

Agree, I hate another Vol coaching change but its another mediocre season at best with no NCAA tourney chance.

handydan1#1425890 writes:

Pretty much the same problem we have had for the past 3 years. Better talent, just same ole, same old excuses. Not very "solid" excuse/explanation in my honest opinion!!

Golferdocvol writes:

Question for those of you that are posting that Bruce is not coming back. Do you direct information from the Administration or from Bruce that makes it certain ? 3 years is a lot of time for wounds to heal . Just wondering ?

vols1002 writes:

the ending of the Texas am game should explain it all with coaching staff the crowd behind the bench was hollering time out and coaching staff looked like a deer in the headlight no coaching 3rd year no NCAA tournament and when Bruce was here we went every year that he was here TIME TO BRING BRUCE BACK!!!

willphill#241787 writes:

in response to vols1002:

the ending of the Texas am game should explain it all with coaching staff the crowd behind the bench was hollering time out and coaching staff looked like a deer in the headlight no coaching 3rd year no NCAA tournament and when Bruce was here we went every year that he was here TIME TO BRING BRUCE BACK!!!

Exactly correct. The only logical choice is to bring back coach Pearl. Why are the naysayers so sure coach Pearl is not coming back? Do they have some inside information? I doubt it.

underthehill writes:

Overall this team is not solid..unless my definition of solid is way off base..

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