Nov. 8, 2010
BY DREW EDWARDS
KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee's final test of the preseason turned out to a be a little tougher than anticipated.
The Vols saw an eight-point halftime lead evaporate and committed 25 turnovers in a 79-64 loss to Indianapolis on Monday night before a crowd of 16,701 in Thompson-Boling Arena.
"Mostly it's embarrassing," guard Melvin Goins said. "I think that's the one word that wraps it up. Just an embarrassment to ourselves and to our fans."
Tennessee managed to overcome 12 first-half turnovers with 48 percent shooting in the first half, but it couldn't find an answer for Indianapolis after the break.
The Greyhounds scored the first 15 points after the break to go up 47-40. Over that stretch, which lasted about 5 ½ minutes, the Vols missed five shots and turned the ball over six times.
"We was flat as soon as we stepped out on the floor in the second half," guard Cameron Tatum said. "We didn't come out with any poise. We didn't come out with heart. Just enough said."
A 3-pointer by Renaldo Woolridge at the 14:14 mark of the second half ended UIndy's run, but the Greyhounds answered with a 7-0 run and held a 58-43 advantage nearly halfway through the half.
"What happens is you get down, panic sets in and you see guys taking shots and making plays and launching 3s," Pearl said. "Their guards shot 30 free throws because our guards couldn't guard them. Once they started off and made that run, they were in control of the tempo of the game. The more you extend and trap and try to get it back, you almost sort of play into their hand."
Indianapolis is certainly familiar with Pearl. The `Hounds run a similar offense and style as Pearl's team and their coach, Stan Gouard, played for Pearl at Southern Indiana.
In a sense, Indianapolis found a way to beat Tennessee by playing the Vols' style of basketball.
"They kept capitalizing on those turnovers," Goins said. "They either scored early or scored late. The same principles that we want to do.
"They beat us at our own game. It was embarrassing."
The Greyhounds got a game-high 27 points for guard Darius Adams, who hit 15 of 16 free-throw attempts, and 20 more points from Adrian Moss. Those two players helped control the tempo, and the Vols couldn't find an answer.
Tennessee's 25 turnovers resulted in 25 points for the Greyhounds, who lost both of their previous exhibition games this season to Purdue and Southern Illinois.
Those turnovers came from everywhere in the lineup, too. Goins, who played turnover-free in UT's exhibition win over Brevard College last week, had a team-high four turnovers, but every player who saw action turned the ball over at least once.
And turning the ball over wasn't the only issue facing the Vols on Monday.
Scotty Hopson played just nine minutes after picking up three early fouls, and he attempted just one shot from the field. He finished with three points, all of which came at the free-throw line.
Playing without Kenny Hall, the Vols also failed to take advantage of a size advantage down low.
Brian Williams had 10 rebounds, but he and forward John Fields took just one shot from the field each. The Vols struggled at times to get the ball inside, although Tobias Harris scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a team-high 31 minutes.
The bright side for Tennessee - aside from the fact that Monday's game doesn't count in the standings - was guard Cameron Tatum, who scored 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting in his return to the court after missing significant time in the preseason with a knee injury.
And even though Monday's game was just an exhibition, Goins hopes it will focus the Vols heading into their regular-season opener Friday at 9 p.m. against Chattanooga.
"I think it's a reality check," Goins said. "I think it's something that we're never going to forget, but we're also just going to get ready for Friday. But at the same time use this as some kind of motivation because that's a feeling we don't want to feel again."