CHARLESTON, S.C. -- John Shulman analyzed every moment of Thursday's game on the screen.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball coach hit "rewind" more often than "fast-forward" and figured out that his Mocs "gave away" 52 points in an 84-76 loss at Georgia Southern.
"We did it all ways, shapes and forms," Shulman said before practice in the TD Arena, site of today's 4 p.m. game against the College of Charleston. "What you have to understand is that every play matters. When you take a possession off or miss an assignment, you cost us points."
The Eagles tied their season high in points. Their previous mark came against Webber International, which plays in the NAIA. Then they scored 84 against UTC.
"I told the team this morning that I'm good at two things -- fighting and fixing problems," Shulman said. "We have some problems defensively. They're fixable. So we'll fix them."
But 52 points seems like more than a few problems. By Shulman's terms, a good SoCon team is liable to give away about 25 points per game with the opponent earning the rest of their tally.
"This is cleanup Friday," Shulman said. "I take the garbage out at home on Wednesday. I hear Red Bank does it on Friday. So we'll pretend we're in Red Bank and not Charleston.
"In football, when you face the option, you have to play assignment football. We're not playing assignment basketball."
The Mocs had no joy or enthusiasm as they prepared for practice. They each grabbed a seat -- some with iPods blaring -- changed into practice gear and laced up their game shoes.
"They got done with a meeting where I blasted them -- well, where they saw their mistakes," Shulman said. "Most of the time we've done a good job of responding in practice, but sometimes we're better in practice than games."
Shulman barely spoke the words "Charleston," "Cougars" or "Bobby Cremins" during practice. He pointed out players for their individual mistakes Thursday and negative trends he's seen throughout the season with positive reinforcement sprinkled in at times.
The 90-minute session focused on how the Mocs are supposed to play their game and not how they're going to face the soaring Cougars (6-1, 1-0 SoCon).
"It's the same things. A couple plays here and there and we should have won the game," junior Drazen Zlovaric said. "Personally, on my own, I have to step it up. I have not been doing what I'm supposed to do on the defensive end.
"I know how I play and I know what level of intensity I need. It was definitely not there."
A repeat performance will likely end in a repeat result today against Charleston, which is the most individually talented group of players in the SoCon and will be playing at home.
"We have to find a competitive spirit," UTC senior Ricky Taylor said. "I don't think it's a mental block. It's a physical block of making defensive errors and mistakes."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...
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