Jan. 20, 2007
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl: "I said here after the Mississippi State game that all SEC victories were precious, but what I do not want is for them to be precious and few. On the heels of three close losses and losing our All-America player, we could have folded. This situation did not build character; it revealed character.
"JaJuan Smith played a terrific game and got us off to a good start. I was very disappointed and upset about the last play. He understands and is sorry.
"We really need 24 hours to have a decent examination to determine what happened to Chris Lofton. He has an ankle sprain, and his ankle is swollen.
"For Wayne Chism to have a double-double as a freshman is exceptional. What people may not see, however, is his defensive play. He is special on defense because of his feet. He had to step out at Tre Kelley a couple of times. Duke Crews had family members here, and I would have liked to play him more, but we had to go with the hot hand.
"Jordan Howell's return for 16 minutes was important in our victory. Without Howell at the same time we were without Lofton, we would have been more challenged. Tomorrow I will start preparing our team for the Ole Miss game, and we will figure what we will do either with or without Lofton.
"For us to hold South Carolina to 61 points, win the battle of the boards, and get to the free-throw line the way we did is certainly pleasing. Ramar Smith is totally accountable, and I appreciate that quality in him. I have stood over a 15-foot putt for a dollar, and felt more pressure than Ramar seemed to when he was at the free-throw line tonight. That makes him a standout among freshmen."
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH DAVE ODOM: "One of the lead stories of the game clearly was free-throw shooting. They came in not being such a great free-throw shooting team, and they shot the ball extremely well today. We only got to the free-throw line five times; they were there 21 times.
"I thought we made a pretty good run to actually close it to three one time before the end of the game, and we had the two inbound passes in a row and did not get the ball in. That is the second time that has happened to us in this building in two years in that same corner. So that was a crucial play.
"I thought we showed a measure of toughness I had not seen in a while. I think Dominique Archie getting his fourth foul early in the second half hurt us, mainly because this is one team where the power forward does not outsize us. Dane Bradshaw is a terrific player, he really is, but he is not as big and Archie was getting to the basket on him.
"Still, it was a loss. Though we made some improvements, we must continue to hold ourselves accountable for executing properly, for giving great effort and for playing smart. We played better than we did against Kentucky because we held ourselves accountable in practice this week, and we did it in the game today. It is certainly something I think we can build on."