KNOXVILLE -- Andrew Goudelock is not walking through that door.
That's of little consequence to Tennessee's basketball team, however.
The Volunteers are still wary of the College of Charleston team they'll face on the road tonight, though the sharp-shooting guard who lit them up for 31 points in the Cougars' 13-point win in Knoxville now is in training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers. With its losing streak up to three games after a surprising home loss to Austin Peay on Saturday, UT knows the importance of stealing a road win from once-beaten Charleston.
"It's most definitely a must win," Vols junior center Kenny Hall said Monday. "Losing three straight, two at home, it's important for us to go on the road and get this victory. We do remember them coming in last year and just dominating us, so that's another push for us as a team, to go into their home and beat them."
Goudelock and Donavan Monroe carved up the Vols in Charleston's win last New Year's Eve. The guard duo combined to make 17 of 26 shots and 10 3-pointers, which made up for the Cougars' deficits in rebounds (47-35), points in the paint (44-26) and second-chance points (34-2). Antwaine Wiggins, Charleston's leading scorer this season, had 15 points in last year's game.
After playing their best defensive game of the season against Pittsburgh, the Vols let Austin Peay shoot nearly 60 percent while struggling to score down the stretch.
"I've said it before: We don't have the luxury as a team to go through the motions and get wins," first-year Vols coach Cuonzo Martin said. "We have to be clicking on all cylinders on both ends of the floor and competing at a high level. I think that was the biggest key.
"For me it was a loss. I don't put one above the other."
The feeling from the Austin Peay defeat was a little different for the players.
"When you've never lost to a team and they came in your house and beat you, it's an embarrassing feeling," Hall said. "They're a good team, but to be honest, I feel like our talent level was better. I felt like we could have beat them, and we just let them come in and pretty much punk us."
Martin was displeased at his team's inability to play more together as a team, but the coach's demeanor hardly changed during his meeting with the media after the loss to Austin Peay. His players said there was no screaming or yelling from their coach. Martin said Monday that's not his style.
"I don't necessarily coach with an iron fist because after a while that wears down," he said. "You have to have guys who understand what you're trying to do and the level you're trying to do and make them comprehend the information. It's one thing to get a guy to embrace what you're saying -- it's long-term -- as opposed to a guy doing it because you have your foot on his throat. I think there's a big difference.
"When guys understand what's at stake, how to watch film and how to study film, then you have long-term success. Then it's passed down because it's the way you do things."
Hall said the Vols are still in the process of feeling each other out on both ends of the floor, something that was expected with so many players stepping into new roles this season. With a murderous schedule looming in January, they can't afford to dwell too much on the Austin Peay loss or the close calls with Duke, Memphis and Pitt.
"We've got to continue to keep on going," Hall said. "We've got to put those losses behind us, [learn] from our mistakes and keep pushing. There's still a long season ahead of us."
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...