Jan. 28, 2006
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl:
"We beat a good team. League play in the SEC is just unbelievable. It sure did not feel like a 16-point victory, but we ground it out tonight. We did not play well in the first half, we did not shoot well, and we were disrupted by the things South Carolina was doing.
"The second half was different. It seems the more tired Chris Lofton got, the better he shot. That is deflating to an opponent. Andre Patterson had another double-double. This victory was important because the sweep for the season separates you a bit.
"There were two great point guards out there - Tre Kelly and C.J. Watson. They both got it down the floor and into the hands of shooters. At halftime, we had figured what we needed to do, and then we adjusted for the rest of the game. We could not get the adjustments made during the first half
" South Carolina is one of the few teams we match up with size-wise. The difference in the games here and in Columbia was that we had Patterson in the starting lineup. He took some very difficult shots, and made enough of them, to count as the difference.
"I told our team we were fortunate to be ahead at the half. Our press was much better the rest of the game. We took some turnovers and converted them into baskets. I did not call a timeout during the South Carolina run. I just do not do that. I want our conditioning to help us.
"Stanley Asumnu is a very focused and proud player who would like to start. These situations do not build character - they reveal character. Asumnu shows what kind of person he is by the way he rebounds and plays defense. Vanderbilt will give us a whole new experience when they come in here Wednesday."
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH DAVE ODOM:
"The thing that is disappointing to me is I thought we played about as well as we could play for 37 minutes. We were only down six points with about three minutes on the clock and then gave in with a rash of errors at the end. Throwing the ball lazily and not catching the ball, it was a bad inbounds pass and a worse catch. And then Andre Patterson got two offensive rebounds and Dane Bradshaw got inside on a drive and it shoots out to 16 points.
"That is regrettable because anybody who saw the game knows it was not a 16-point game but still we go home with that on our docket. That is disappointing. The loss is disappointed. I thought we could win the basketball game. I knew we would have to play a darn near perfect game, but we battled them. We battled them hard for 27 minutes and then physically and mentally gave in right there at the end. That does not mean we did not try. It means we made bad decisions in the last three minutes, and against a team like Tennessee you can not do that.
"They are an excellent basketball team and they get you three different ways. They get you off the press, getting you to turn the ball over and we did not over the course of the game turn the ball over a lot. I thought that showed great preparation. They get you in transition, with either lay-ups or 3-point shots. We did not defend that very well. The other thing they do is get you on the offensive glass. They get you so spread out it is hard to cover the glass and that is something we did not do well today."
- Today's 20,068 crowd gives Tennessee four crowds of more than 20,000 this season (averaging 16,863 through 10 games).
- Andre Patterson recorded his third straight double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Over the last three games he has scored 37 points with 33 rebounds.
- Chris Lofton scored 23 points for his fifth 20-point game of the season and 10th of his career.
- Lofton's five steals match his career high set earlier this season against Oklahoma State.
- It is UT's first season sweep of South Carolina since 2001.