Jan. 21, 2006
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl:
"This is a real good night for Southeastern Conference basketball. This is a shot that will be heard around the country. You look around the SEC and see it is so competitive. When a team like Tennessee can do something to create better balance in the league we all benefit.
"The crowd of 24,011 affected our play, and I think it affected Florida. The tie I am wearing was given to me a few days ago by Pat Head Summitt. I did not know how many victories would be left in it after all she has had. She will call tonight and talk about the game. It was great to have her and coach Phillip Fulmer here tonight.
"I asked JaJuan Smith before the game, 'what do Texas, South Carolina and Georgia have in common?' The answer was he had played well in all those games, but he has struggled recently. He played another fine game tonight. We must stay hungry and humble.
"Andre Patterson played with courage and confidence. Chris Lofton was the man. He had that look in him that the whole country saw who were watching television. Everybody saw it. We had a choice tonight to either slow it down or play fast. Believe me, 19 turnovers by Florida is a lot for the Gators.
"Billy Donovan is the dean of coaches in the SEC. He has been so gracious. I was a huge fan of his when he was playing basketball at Providence. After the game, Billy showed great poise and great professionalism.
"Jordan Howell made the first free-throw of his career tonight. I told him, 'JaJuan thinks you are going to miss this shot.' We were trying to keep it light, but Jordan could not stand success and he missed the second attempt. When C.J. Watson fouled out, nobody panicked.
"Lee Humphrey is a great player for Florida, and he got some good looks, but 24,000 people were not going to let his shots go down tonight. After two tough losses, this says a lot about our team for them to come back and win this one. The players wanted to hold up their end because of the support we have received from our fans."
FLORIDA HEAD COACH BILLY DONOVAN: "We played great tonight, we really did. We played and competed. They gave me everything I could possibly want. I am really proud of the way our team responded here. This was the toughest road environment we faced all season.
"If you look at the two plays (late in the game) and said to me going in, 'we are going to have a 2-on-1 to go up by 2, and two really good looks by your best 3-point shooter,' I would feel pretty good. We had won 17 games, but going into tonight we were 0-0. Wednesday at South Carolina starts a new season, which I think as a coach keeps us in a level playing field emotionally. I knew Duke had lost but these are different guys. They are more wrapped up in trying to become a good team, to become better individually and really sacrifice for one another.
"I thought Chris Lofton had a phenomenal night. He made some very difficult shots with people hanging on him. But that is the type of shooter he is, so you have got to give him a lot of credit. We did a pretty good job defending them they only shot 31 percent from the 3-point line but he certainly made tough ones.
"I thought Corey Brewer's injury, when it happened, was a major problem. I never anticipated him coming back in the game. But that is the type of competitor he is."
- The last time Tennessee knocked of the No. 2 team in the country was a 78-77 win vs. Kentucky, Feb. 24, 1993.
- This is UT's first win against a top 5 team since a 66-59 win over Florida, Feb. 15, 2003.
- The crowd of 24,011 is the sixth largest in Thompson-Boling Arena history, and a season-high. It is the third crowd of more than 21,000 this season.
- Andre Patterson recorded his second double-double of the season, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He had 11 points and 14 rebounds vs. Murray State, Nov. 30, 2005.
- Chris Lofton made a career-high 10 field goals, and recorded a season-high 29 points. The last Vol to make 10 field goals in a game was Brandon Crump when he had 11 against Xavier, Dec. 11, 2004.
- C.J. Watson became the 28th Vol to score 1,200 points and now ranks 26th on UT's career scoring list with 1,205 points.