CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP/WRCB) - John Shulman refuses to press the panic button.
Despite his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball team's third straight loss, a 68-61 setback to Troy on Monday night, the veteran head coach is keeping his cool.
Amidst their struggles shooting from the field and from the free throw line, his demeanor remains pleasant.
It's all part of the learning process for a roster that plays four freshman and two sophomores.
"Our guys don't understand the little things it takes to win Division I games at this moment," Shulman said. "We are just going through growing pains and that's what you do with young guys. They just feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders and I'm going to help them take it off.
"I'm going to clip the tape tonight and show them the little things, and once they start valuing every single possession then you start to have a pretty good basketball team."
Antoine Myers led four double-digit scorers with 13 points to help Troy pull away late for the non-conference win on day two of the CBE Classic at McKenzie Arena.
Chattanooga did many of the things it takes to win, like winning the rebounding battle (47-30) and getting to the free throw line more than its opponent.
Shooting, however, was a problem.
The Mocs were woeful from the foul line and not much better from the field, making just 15-of-26 (including 4-of-13 in the first half) from the charity stripe and 4-of-22 shots behind the 3-point arc.
"I feel like we've missed a ton of free throws," said Rico White, who led Chattanooga with 14 points. "We've done a good job getting to the line, getting to the paint and drawing fouls. We just have to execute and knock our free throws down."
Still, they had a chance.
Farad Cobb hit a 3-pointer and followed with a pair of free throws a few moments later to give a 48-42 lead with 10:29 to play.
But less than a minute later it was gone.
R.J. Scott drained consecutive 3-pointers to pull even at 48-all, then Myers added a dunk to give Troy the lead and spark a 16-3 run that put the game away.
"We have to treat every possession like the last possession of the game," said freshman wing Casey Jones, echoing Shulman's message of learning to stay disciplined down the stretch. "I just have to get past (being young) and play harder. All our freshmen have to know that."
Myers also led the Trojans (2-2) with four assists. Hunter Williams and R.J. Scott each had 12 points for Troy, and Deonata Jethroe had 11. Ray Chambers pulled down 10 rebounds.
Drazen Zlovaric added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Mocs, who try to avoid a fourth straight loss when they host Louisiana Tech Tuesday night in their third game in as many days.
Sophomore forward Lance Stokes watched Monday's game from the sideline with his foot in a boot. Shulman said he'll likely miss at least six weeks after breaking a bone in Sunday's 77-65 loss to Southeast Missouri State.
It's just another reason UTC's young pups will have to continue to grow up.
"Our guys are busting their tail, but they just haven't been through the wars yet," Shulman said. "It's like learning Spanish. You can't just do it in a day. It takes a little time. This is high level Division I basketball. It takes time.
"My goal is to have these freshmen be sophomores by the Dr. Pepper Classic. They will get there and, when they do get there, people are going to enjoy it because they are going to be there for a long time."
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