Jan. 10, 2010
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl: "It is pretty amazing what chemistry can do. (Our guys) knew their backs were against the wall and they rallied. They did not quit and they believed in themselves. It is very difficult for a team to come in and know the other team only has six scholarship players and not think there is a big advantage there. The crowd was absolutely amazing. What that says is we have got a basketball program here - a basketball program capable of beating the No. 1 team in the country.
"When things are not going your way - and I am talking about Renaldo Woolridge and Kenny Hall - you have got two choices: you can pack your bags and leave and go try to find greener pastures somewhere else - sort of quit on the situation, or you can stick around because your opportunity is going to come. I give the assistant coaches great credit, and I give Woolridge and Hall, and their families, tremendous credit for hanging in there. Let me tell you something, those two guys are the least surprised by their play. I am very impressed. Woolridge is a big man who can shoot and rebound at a high level, and now he is playing physical. His teammates - his family - needed him, and he stepped up.
"We had three walk-ons play 45 minutes. We obviously hit some very special shots and made some very special plays, and stars have to align a little bit to beat the No. 1 team in the country.
"It is nice to do something positive here. I think folks are really rooting for us. It is the courage, the effort and the teamwork, and I think that is what fans really appreciate from this team right now.
"We felt like if we could get Kansas to be a contested-jump-shooting team, and then we hang in there on the boards, we have a chance. I think that is what happened. We really walled off. We learned a lot from the mistakes we made last year on how we guarded ball screens and we built a wall around the 3-point line. I think the defense worked - they shot 37 or 38 percent.
"My thing was - was McBee's shot worth how many hours in the gym? When other kids were doing everything else, you could see McBee in the gym practicing all night long. It paid off....the beautiful thing about sports."
KANSAS HEAD COACH BILL SELF: "I think Tennessee deserved to win the game. They outplayed us, without question. It was total lack of us being `as one' today. I thought we were guys on islands. I thought we were looking out for ourselves. From a toughness standpoint, from a competitive standpoint, we did not deserve to win the game. They outplayed us, not from the jump because we were up eight early, but from midway in the first half it was their game.
"Actually, our zone was pretty good. I think they threw two 3-pointers in, if I am not mistaken, at the shot-clock buzzer, and then McBee made the big one when we were man late as the shot clock expired. The zone did was it was supposed to do. They milked the clock down to five seconds, and then just threw up a shot. They were able to do so, and made a couple of them.
"When you talk about all the stuff they have been through, I do not think Tennessee was a team until this past week. I do not think Kansas is a team yet. Usually, things occur to allow your guys to really become a team. Sometimes they are negative things, sometimes they are positive things, sometimes it is winning a game - it could be a plethora of things. For us, we have not gotten it done yet - to become a team - in my opinion, because when you become a team, you know who you are from an identity standpoint. And I bet Tennessee is closer to becoming a team with an identity than they were before.
"You do not want to say we played so poorly it takes away from them outplaying us. They outplayed us; we got what we deserved."
Post-Game Notes Vols vs. Kansas (Jan. 10, 2010)
- Tennessee won its 36th non-conference home game under Bruce Pearl.
- The Vols also improved to 8-0 at home this season.
- UT head coach Bruce Pearl evened his record to 2-2 against the top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll. UT improved to 4-10 all-time against teams occupying the No. 1 spot.
- The last time the Vols defeated the No. 1 team was in a 66-62 upset of Memphis Feb. 23, 2008.
- The Vols evened the series with Kansas 1-1, dealing the Jayhawks their first loss of the season.
- Sunday was the first time the Vols have hosted the AP's top-ranked team in Thompson-Boling Arena. It is the seventh time UT has hosted the top team in Knoxville.
- Attendance for the game was 21,936; it was the first crowd of more than 20,000 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena this season. It was the 34th crowd of at least 20,000 during the Pearl era.
- Scotty Hopson finished with 17 points -- 11 of them in the second half -- to lead the Vols for the seventh time this season. It was the 10th time he had scored 10 or more points this season.
- Bobby Maze finished with a season-high 16 points and 8 assists in the victory. Maze set a new career mark with 7 rebounds.
- In his second start of the season, Renaldo Woolridge hit a career-high four 3-pointers and set a new career high with 14 points.
- Josh Bone hit his first 3-pointer as a Vol, the basket coming in the second half. He also had his first assist and rebound in a UT uniform.
- Steven Pearl tied a career high with three rebounds and also took a charge in the second half.
- The Vols forced 16 turnovers against Kansas while only turning the ball over 8 times. UT outscored Kansas 16-9 in points off turnovers.
- Woolridge (34), Kenny Hall (23) and Skylar McBee (23) set career highs for minutes played. Maze (33) and Pearl (10) set season highs.
- The Vols made 9-of-18 3-pointers (50 percent), while Kansas was 7-of-27 (25.9 percent).
- From the floor, UT was 26-of-54 (48.1 percent) and Kansas finished 23-of-61 (37.7 percent).