"That was the ugliest game I have ever been a part of on any level." - John Thompson III on ESPN's postgame.
Tennessee's defense did what it does: the Hoyas shot 36.4% and scored just 37 points. ESPN says it's the fewest points Georgetown has scored since 1984. And Georgetown's 6'8" gauntlet did what it does: the Vols shot 32.6% and turned the ball over a dozen times. The Hoyas made it their business to take Jarnell Stokes away, and business was good: Stokes had more turnovers (4) than shot attempts (3), and only got to the line once...where he missed both.
In a game like this there's lots of yuck to go around, and Tennessee's performance at the stripe - a robust 3 of 11, 27.3% - is at or near the top of that list. The Vols missed almost three-fourths of their free throws and lost by one point. Again, last year's Vol squad was the best free throw shooting team in Knoxville since 2004. Most of the names are the same.
Georgetown battled back from an 18-16 halftime score to build an eight point lead, which felt like sixteen in this game. Credit the Vols for battling back and making this a tight game in the final eight minutes. We traded one point leads for four minutes until the Hoyas made it 37-36 with 4:08 to play.
Here are the rest of the possessions from there:
- Trae Golden miss
- Georgetown turnover
- Kenny Hall turnover
- Georgetown miss
- Kenny Hall turnover
- Jarnell Stokes blocked shot
- Jordan McRae turnover
- Georgetown offensive foul
- Jarnell Stokes airball
- Georgetown throws it out of bounds
- Skylar McBee missed three, Georgetown lost out of bounds, Jordan McRae missed three
This is probably one both teams want to forget; the Vols play at Virginia Wednesday night and we can get the taste out of our mouths then. But what we can't forget is what happened at the end: I'm willing to overlook our general offensive struggles and not compare them to last year because we're still without Jeronne Maymon and because Georgetown is just really long and really good. But we have to do better than we did on the final possession of games: a forced three by Skylar and a deep three from McRae were not even close to the best we could do in those final few seconds. Georgetown took Stokes away, and it looked like we had no other option. That was the case all night, and until Maymon returns the opposition will continue to smother Jarnell. We could not get a good look offensively. That has to change at all points of the game for the Vols to get where they want to go.
Again, our defense is incredible, as is Georgetown's. The offense must improve if the Vols are going to improve.
Let's try again Wednesday night. Go Vols.