Pearl runs loud energetic practice Monday

It was a loud and energetic practice for the Tennessee men's basketball team at Thompson-Boling arena Monday afternoon. InsideTennessee.com was present for practice to bring all Vol fans this Monday afternoon practice report. Go "Inside" to see what practice today was all about.

It was a loud and energetic practice for the Tennessee men's basketball team at Thompson-Boling arena Monday afternoon.

"I felt like he was playing today," guard Bobby Maze said. "I think that's great that he's intense like that, carries over to the players. Scotty (Hopson) and Kenny (Hall) had some of the best practices I've seen them had."

"I've never seen Scotty scream so much as he did today, I thought somebody game him a Flinstones vitamin."

The majority of the noise wasn't coming from the players, but head coach Bruce Pearl, who consistently called out players for mistakes and took a physical approach to reenergizing a team reeling from back-to-back losses.

"I thought we practiced hard," Pearl said. "The guard play was good, the guards were sharp."

The team ran a full-length scrimmage, which was meticulously corrected and adjusted by Pearl's amplified voice.

"I thought the team did o.k. it's hard to duplicate Georgia's size," Pearl said. "Georgia scored 10 points in the first three and a half minutes against us up there, so you want to pace the score. They shot 65 percent in the first half, at one point they were outrebounding us 28-15."

"They really physically dominated us."

The loss of guard Cameron Tatum to an ankle injury suffered on February 6 against South Carolina has stretched a small bench even thinner.

Center Wayne Chism also is banged up, after playing through a bum ankle against Kentucky, as well as taking a hard fall against the Wildcats that badly bruised the senior's back.

"You hold your breath at this time of the year, because we're so short," Pearl said. "He (Chism) went through some play-call review, got a few shots," Pearl said. "Cameron went through some play-call review, but did not practice. They won't be ready for Wednesday."

A return for Chism will be closely documented by the Volunteer faithful, as they watch a senior who is one game short of tying the school record for most games played as a Volunteer.

"He's been one of the faces of Tennessee basketball for a number of years," Pearl said. "He played a huge part in our transition to becoming competitive again."

A physical practice was just what the coach ordered, after seeing his team outmanned in the final minutes in Lexington to drop a contest with the Wildcats 73-62, the Vols' second straight conference loss.

The losses dropped Tennessee (18-6, 6-4) to 20th in the A.P. polls and three games behind Kentucky for the SEC lead.

It will take tremendous grit and strength for a short-handed Volunteers basketball team to survive a daunting final slate before conference tournaments begin.

"Play like your life depends on it, that's all," Pearl said. "Rebound like your life depends on it. Right now at this time of the year, there can't be any other distractions. How you train and how you rest, how you practice. I try to bring my energy as best as I expect a lot from them."

A bright spot for the Volunteers Saturday night in Lexington came from the guard play of junior Melvin Goins, who had 14 points on the night, hitting 2-of-3 three-pointers and all four of his free throws.

"Melvin has played really well since his return," Pearl said. "His numbers in the SEC are good. He gives us another breakdown guy, another high basketball IQ guy. We're getting better and better point guard play."

Tennessee returns to the court Wednesday, when the Vols host the Georgia Bulldogs at 8 p.m. EST.


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