Jan. 12, 2005
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Buzz Peterson:
"I am proud of our team. It was obvious we were pretty excited about the victory.
"After the Vanderbilt game, we had to decide whether to let off for a day, or to go after it starting Sunday. But I took a deep breath, and gave the team the day off. As far as I am concerned, we won the game Monday and Tuesday with some really productive practice session.
"We knew Mississippi State would make a run. We could not buy a bucket during the second half. But it was not because we did not have plenty of good looks. I thought Andre Patterson's tap was a very important play. At the end of the game, we tried to foul because we had one to spare. Dane Bradshaw has a very tough defensive mentality.
"Even when we were playing the zone defense, we were giving up a lot of fouls, on Major Wingate and Brandon Crump. We were putting our hands on Lawrence Roberts instead of using our bodies. And that cost us some fouls.
"We were very fortunate at the end to get this win. They were a little bit tired and winded at the end; so were we. We need to do a better job of getting to the free-throw line than we did tonight. With Crump out of the game, we tried to milk some time, and were able to send him back in with seven minutes to go. But we wanted longer possessions, and we took quicker shots, and that is how they came back on us.
"We needed the win badly. On the jersey deal, I just did not feel we were playing hard enough to wear the Tennessee uniform. I would not even let them wash their jerseys; I told them I was not going to spend University money to wash their jerseys yesterday. I even came out tonight during warm-ups to make sure we did not dunk. I came out early to motivate the team as they were warming up. We played tonight like I expected us to play this season."
MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH RICK STANSBURY:
"In the first half, we acted like we had never played before. I guess that is what life without Winsome Frazier is like. We just did not execute.
"In the second half, we settled down, and played with toughness. When we were down 16 points at the half, I told them to go play basketball. We got the last shot, and that is all you can ask.
"You have to learn from it. You cannot wait until the last 15 minutes. With Frazier out, it is not the points as much as defense and execution. We will get the points. We did not play defense and execute. We did not score, and we did not have any stops. I thought we played uptight in the first half. You have to play with toughness and energy. We did not do that the first half.
"You can see the difference without Frazier. We will have to play with what we have, and get better. I had not thought about the road-winning streak. It was quite an accomplishment."
- Tennessee snapped MSU's nation-best 16-game road winning streak, and eight-game overall win streak. The Bulldogs' last road loss came in Thompson-Boling Arena during March 5, 2003 (59-49).
- It was UT's first win over a ranked team since defeating No. 22 Florida, 65-63, in Knoxville Jan. 31, 2004.
- Scooter McFadgon hit his first six field goals, including two 3-pointers.
- UT improved to 8-0 when leading or tied at halftime.
- C.J. Watson's nine assists was one shy of his career high.