John Shulman chewed slowly - and not on turkey, cranberries and sweet potatoes.

The coach chewed deliberately, decisively and creatively when addressing his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball team following an 87-75 loss Wednesday night at home against Jackson State.

And he didn't mince, dice or slice his words after stepping the path from the locker room to the lights of the media room about 10 minutes later than usual.

"How do I put this game into words? It's local TV, right? Then I can't put in the right words," Shulman said. "I would think [scoring] 75 points at home is good enough.

"But we will not guard and we cannot guard. Those are two bad things."

JSU earned its first win of the season by scoring on 11 of 13 possessions after the Tigers were down by a point in the second half.

The Tigers shot 56 percent from the field, had only 11 turnovers and made 11 of 19 3-shots in their sixth straight road game to open the season.

"They're a good basketball team, and I've tried to tell everybody that they're an NCAA tournament team," Shulman said. "That doesn't mean we're a bad team. That means we're a bad defensive team.

"Until we figure that out, we're going to be just OK, just average."

The Mocs are 2-4 this season with understandable losses at Tennessee and Louisville and last-minute wins at Kennesaw State and former Southern Conference rival Marshall.

They are one defensive stop by walk-on Dontay Hampton at KSU from having another loss and an end-of-game charge call at Marshall from potentially being winless.

"It's the game of basketball," said senior DeAntre Jefferson, who scored a career-high 18 points at Kennesaw and matched that Wednesday. "I think Marshall was a big win for us. We went into Louisville and I think we could have played a lot harder as a team. That game taught us something.

"This game taught us something. We have to learn how to finish."

And some of UTC's most gifted offensive players must learn how not only to keep their man from scoring, but also how to fit into a team defensive scheme.

"We can't get a stop, so you have to try to make it wild," Shulman said, "and we make it wild and that's now who we are, so then we give up layups. Great teams [have] got to stop people and be able to score in the half court. Right now, we can score. That's not a problem. We just can't stop a soul."

The Mocs try again Saturday night at Florida International in Miami.