Jan. 20, 2004
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Buzz Peterson
"I was disappointed we had such a good crowd, good support, and a lot of noise, but we couldn't pull out the victory. On the other hand, I'm proud of the fight we gave, and we did get ourselves back into the game. The student support was terrific.
"In regulation, I told our team to foul at the end, but we didn't do it. Of course that's the kind of thing you don't work on much, deliberately fouling.
"We were struggling toward the end offensively, and didn't have a very good shot. I think Scooter McFadgon and Brandon Crump both had too many minutes in tonight's game. Major Wingate was fabulous on defense.
"We decided we would go with the five players as starters who had given us the best effort on defense. We didn't do a very good job at that point opening the game, but we are working on it and trying to get better.
"I felt that if we got the lead late, we would win the ballgame, but I was disappointed we couldn't pull it off. Still, I was pleased with the grit and determination we showed. I thought Dane Bradshaw did a good job after C.J. Watson picked up his fourth foul in the game."
KENTUCKY HEAD COACH TUBBY SMITH
"It was one of those games that we knew would be a war.
"Tennessee was a challenge for us; they showed a lot of character. I thought we showed a lot of heart. We never could shake them. We had the opportunities to close the game out, but we couldn't get the stops defensively.
"Cliff Hawkins had been struggling during the game, but he made a big-time 3-pointer at the end. I knew Cliff Hawkins was shooting the ball well and it went in. We were trying to get the ball to one of our seniors. I don't draw up plays, and when the shots go in, the players make them. If it goes in, fine. If it doesn't go in, that's life. Cliff Hawkins was supposed to go off of a screen, but they went behind him and he was open.
"It was exciting to get this win, because we overcame a lot of obstacles. This team showed a lot of heart. We played against a team that is young, and that has a lot of character. The good start was probably one of the reasons we pulled it out. There are still a lot of games left for us to play. We were looking for answers tonight about toughness.
"In any close game, you're usually on the edge. We've won more than we've lost. Against Georgia last week, there was no toughness and we looked worn-down.
"I thought Ravi Moss brings the physical kind of play we need. He got
the offensive rebounds - 5 in 10 minutes. He works his rear end off in
practice. He's one of our better defenders."