A quick look at the box score is all it takes to see why the Tennessee men's basketball team struggled to score inside the paint during Texas A&M's comeback win on Saturday.
Each of Jarnell Stokes' six points came in the game's first 5:13. In the second half, he went 0-for-2 from the field with no points, three turnovers and just one rebound.
Two early fouls knocked down his playing time in the first half, but Stokes played 17 minutes in the final period. Still, he was nothing short of invisible offensively and on the boards.
Once Stokes committed those two fouls, head coach Cuonzo Martin said, the star center was never the same.
"When he gets two fouls he is always a different player," Martin said at his weekly press conference on Monday. "I think he starts thinking about it. Of course as a player, you want to be on the floor, and now you're hesitant to play the game the way you're capable of playing.
"You have to stay aggressive. When (Stokes) is aggressive, we're a different team."
Of course, Stokes changing his personal game plan wasn't the only problem.
Texas A&M's guards constantly put pressure on the perimeter to keep the Vols from continuing their recent hot shooting from outside. That left more space than usual for UT to do what it does best — attack the post — and it didn't take advantage.
"When teams extend like that – even though Jordan (McRae) is our leading scorer – ultimately we want to pound the ball inside," Martin said.
Blow the whistle
Questionable foul calls send Thompson-Boling Arena into pandemonium at some point in every home game. Saturday, however, was on another level.
An alarming amount of the Vols' 21 personal fouls came from moving screens in the offensive zone. As a result, five Vols had three or more fouls by the final whistle.
In typical fashion, Martin waited until after breaking down game film to address his opinion on the calls. For the most part, he agreed with the fans.
"We were watching film on some of the calls as far as screening calls and moving calls," Martin said. "I thought it was a little bit different (than other games).
"I thought maybe one or two of them were moving (screens). But about five of them? I didn't think that was the case."
Despite begging to differ with the officials, Martin made it clear that his staff will continue to coach the same way they normally do and feature screens as a regular part of the offense.
The schedule doesn't stop for tough losses, especially when SEC play begins.
Tennessee's resolve will be tested as the Auburn Tigers visit Knoxville for a Wednesday night game.
"You don't have a choice, it's basketball," Martin said regarding UT's need to bounce back. "It's an 18-game schedule in league play. I would like to think that the guys were hurt and upset about a loss, but now you have to bounce back and play the game. It's part of it."
Minutes after missing two free throws that ultimately cost UT a win on Saturday, senior forward Jeronne Maymon immediately agreed with his head coach.
"We can't dwell on it," Maymon said. "We have Auburn coming in here. They are going to watch film and going to think they can do the same thing. So, we have to come out here, refocus and get ready for it."