Jan. 31, 2007
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl: "I am proud of our team for playing a lot of good basketball out there tonight. They gave us probably the best half-court defense that we have had since I have been here.
"We out-rebounded them in the second half and for the game, which is something we needed to do. Ramar Smith and Jordan Howell had career-highs in scoring, and that was in keeping with our need to help JaJuan Smith take up the slack in scoring.
"I had a conference with Howell this week and told him he needs to take advantage of his opportunities. His 3-point shot late in the game put it away for us. I told him he had been playing nine or ten minutes a game, and that he needed to hunt for his shots. He understood and stepped up.
"You could sense the crowd was not going to let Georgia come back. Georgia was the deeper team, but we were the fresher team. It was a big win. We needed it.
"I also spent some time with Duke Crews because as a coach you are looking for ways that the players can help the team more. Crews was more relaxed tonight and chipped in with a double-double. That was great.
"Chris Lofton would have been available in an emergency. If foul trouble or injury had made it necessary, he would have played. That does not make him ready for Saturday. It was good to have him out there with us. Lofton thanked the team for the victory."
GEORGIA HEAD COACH DENNIS FELTON: "We did not play very well. We never defended like we needed to. We had trouble putting it in the hole, and that compounded matters. We just did not defend enough to stop them enough to have a chance to win.
"We wanted to get it inside, but we did not get that done as much as we would have liked.
"I certainly do not think we overlooked anyone. I do think we lacked the focus and discipline we needed to win the game. But I do not think it is because we overlooked anyone.
"This was a classic case of us not playing very well. We are not good enough not to play our `A' game and get a win on the road."