The Vols (11-10, 3-6 SEC) shot 46 percent from the field, but early turnovers combined with hot shooting from the three point line by Georgia (11-11, 5-4 SEC) proved to be too much to overcome in a 68-62 loss at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday.
Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin said Georgia came in on a winning streak and their confidence helped them stay ahead all forty minutes.
"They came in with a lot of confidence, but that's what happens when you allow a team to get their heads up and get in a rhythm, that's the result," Martin said.
The Bulldogs shot a scorching 50 percent from the field and 55 percent from 3-point range. The 3-point line proved to be the major difference in the game as Georgia hit 11 3-pointers to the Vols' three.
"There's no way we should have gave up the sort of look, some of the looks that we gave up," sophomore Jarnell Stokes said.
Georgia was paced by sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who had 24 points and connected on five 3-pointers. Georgia also got a solid effort from freshman Kenny Gaines, who had 12 points.
"I think what it comes down to, especially in late games, outside of turnovers in the first half ... every man has to do his part," Martin said. "We want pride on the defensive side of the ball. Not allowing their best player (Caldwell-Pope) to beat you. You have to accept the challenge and I don't think we accepted the challenge."
Stokes was disappointed in Tennessee's effort at home.
"It hurts bad, you know, I want to thank the Vol fans for coming out. I feel like we let them down," said Stokes.
The Vols put themselves in a nine point hole in the first half thanks in large part to 11 turnovers.
"You make it tough on yourself when you get 11 turnovers in the first half, you have to take care of the basketball," said Martin. "You can't win many games like that."
Junior Jordan McRae also felt the effect of turnovers.
"I turned it over I think the most, five times. I feel I'm just trying to make too many plays for us out there."
The Vols were able to stay with Georgia throughout the whole game due to solid efforts by McRae and Stokes. McRae tallied 17 points and Stokes recorded his fourth straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Stokes had a majority of his work come on drives to the bucket where he would score or get fouled.
"I definitely want to play hard every time," said Stokes. "My concern is getting to the rim. I don't want to take jump shots, I will if I have to, but I just want to get to the rim and hopefully I get to the line."
Stokes also shot 80 percent from the free throw line, a significantly better percentage than his season average of 54.6 percent.
"I see myself make them all the time in practice, I mean it just felt good to finally make them in a game," he said.
The Vols go on the road for their next game Sunday at South Carolina (12-10, 2-7 SEC).