Latest Vol fall is to College of Charleston
Posted: Monday, January 3, 2011 4:47 pm
By: By BETH RUCKER, AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Tennessee needed a solid win after a stretch of three losses and two narrow victories against lesser opponents. What it got was yet another loss to a mid-major foe.
Since beating then-No. 3 Pittsburgh on Dec. 11 and attaining the No. 7 ranking, the Volunteers have been in a tailspin, beating Belmont and UT Martin both by small margins and losing games to Oakland, Charlotte, Southern Cal-ifornia and now a 91-78 decision to College of Charleston on Friday.
It was only the fifth non-conference home loss in coach Bruce Pearl’s six seasons.
“Obviously what’s ailing us is not fixed yet,” Pearl said. “(Playing) defensively is probably our greatest challenged. In the games that we’ve gotten beat, guards have taken advantage of us.”
The Cougars’ guards certainly did that, with Southern Conference preseason player of the year Andrew Goudelock leading the way with 31 points and six 3s, giving him 2,007 career points.
Donavan Monroe added 27 points.
It’s not the first win for College of Charleston against Tennessee. The Cougars beat the Vols 55-49 in Knoxville on March 13, 1996, knocking Tennessee out of the first round of the NIT.
The Vols won their previous meeting 86-69 on Nov. 27, 2009.
After Willis Hall had an air ball 3-point shot to open the game, the senior-laden College of Charleston (9-4) hit its next seven shots, including three 3s from Antwaine Wiggins and two treys by Goudelock.
The Cougars never trailed after that.
“Obviously Tennessee is going through some tough times right now,” College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins said. “They got some problems but I think they can overcome them. Bruce knows, we just shot the eyes out of them.”
Another 3-pointer by Goudelock with 9:02 in the first half pushed the lead to 35-13, the largest of the game for the Cougars, who were 7-of-11 from 3-point range and shot 55.2 percent in the first half.
They finished 14-of-25 from long range.
Antwaine Wiggins added 15 points for the Cougars, and Jeremy Simmons had 11.
Goudelock’s third trey seemed to shake Tennessee from its slump, and the Vols answered with a 15-2 run by fighting to get inside to the basket more. A pair of Hopson free throws made it 37-30 with 5:15 left in the first half, and College of Charleston entered halftime with a 47-40 lead.
The Vols (9-4) hung close for a few minutes until back-to-back 3s by Goudelock gave the Cougars a 70-53 lead with 11:58 to go.
“Whenever I shoot, I never feel like I’m going to miss a shot,” Goudelock said. “It’s always about confidence”
Tennessee began to get called for fouls as players got more frustrated, and College of Charleston hit 21-of-34 at the foul line.
Pearl got increasingly frustrated with the disparity in the number of fouls called by the officials and was given a technical foul after Josh Bone fouled Monroe with 5:25 to go. Pearl continued to argue from the sideline as Goudelock hit two free throws, and officials called another technical on the coach, leading to his ejection.
Pearl has just one more game, a Jan. 5 meeting at home against No. 21 Memphis, before he begins serving an eight-game suspension during Southeastern Conference play. SEC commissioner Mike Slive suspended Pearl for lying to NCAA investigators during an ongoing probe into recruiting practices by the Tennessee coaching staff, and Pearl will miss conference games played between Jan. 8 and Feb. 8.
Associate head coach Tony Jones took over after Pearl’s ejection, just as he will during the coach’s suspension.
“I was just trying to get Tony Jones some reps, that’s all,” Pearl said.
Tennessee, which outrebounded College of Charleston 47-35, pulled within 10 on a 3 by Bone with 1:32 to go, but it was too little, too late.
Scotty Hopson led the Vols with 24 points. Tobias Harris had 16 points, and Brian Williams grabbed 12 rebounds.
“We’re going to try to stay positive, learn from this game and put it behind us,” Hopson said.