Jan. 31, 2009
Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl: "The crowd was unbelievable. The environment had a lot to do with our victory tonight.
"When you have lost as many games as we have, your confidence is shaken. But we played with purpose tonight...29 baskets and 24 assists is very Florida-like. If you switch people out there (on defense), it is hard for Nick Calathes to get around people like Tyler Smith and Emmanuel Negedu. It was very important to our victory that Calathes collected two fouls during the first half - that was definitely a factor. Without him, Florida could not get its rhythm going in the first half. In the second half, they made a run but we hung in there.
"Scotty Hopson was aggressive and able to score. We have good shooters who have not been shooting well. I told our players, `you are good shooters, so act like it.' We have not been getting Smith good looks, and that is largely my fault.
"Wayne Chism is special; he is a rarity because he is a big man who can move his feet.
"After we lost Wednesday to LSU, we practiced hard Monday; they showed me at that time they intended to move on. There is so much balance in the SEC there is not a dominant team.
"J.P. Prince did not take that many shots; Florida gave him the perimeter because he has not proven he can hit from out there, but with nine assists and only one turnover, he has got to be doing something right. Prince plays smart."
Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan: "Half of their shots almost were from the 3-point line, but when you talk about percentages and how you want to play against them, you want them to try to take jump shots. You have to give them credit because they stepped up and made jump shots. That really gave them good momentum in the first half.
"Part of our problem was we were 0-for-11 on the fast break during the first half, and the other thing that really hurt us was we shot horribly from the free-throw line. We did not shoot the ball great, and had been shooting it very well, and that sometimes is what happens. Here you have a team that maybe has not shot the ball great, and they stepped up and shot it very well tonight. I think it was a combination of our guys not shooting well and Tennessee playing very good defense.
"We did some good things. We battled and fought our way back into the game there a little bit, but I thought there were some plays that we needed to make to get over the hump that we needed to make but we did not make.
"It is a very good environment here, and I think anytime you have the home team shooting the ball well, it generates and creates a level of excitement and enthusiasm for your team. It gets everybody energized. Sometimes shooting is unpredictable and unreliable. For most guys shooting can come and go. You have to give them credit, they stepped up and knocked down some 3-pointers, and that was big for them."
- Scotty Hopson's 20 points were a career-high (previous: 19, vs. South Carolina, Jan. 17, 2009).
- J.P. Prince's 9 assists were a season-high (career-high: 10, vs. Northern Arizona, Dec. 8, 2005, while playing for Arizona)
- Tennessee held Florida to 22 points in the first half, the second-lowest point total surrendered by the Vols during a first half this season (the Vols only gave up 20 points at Vanderbilt Jan. 20, 2009).
- With the win, Pearl improves to 6-1 against Florida while at Tennessee.
- Tennessee's bench outscored Florida's bench 26-9. Tennessee's bench has outscored its opponents' benches 18 of 20 games this season.