Jan. 31, 2010
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl: "We write it on the board every day. It is in the locker room. We talk about it all the time - defense and rebounding wins championships. Again, we talk about the fact this roster is going to look ugly at times on the offensive end, but you cannot let your struggles offensively affect how you defend and how you get back in transition. In the first half, especially early - in the first 10 minutes of the game - we just gave Florida a comfort zone to run their offense and execute their stuff. They got great spacing, and they got anything they wanted. I thought our effort picked up. I thought our ball pressure picked up. I thought Melvin Goins came into the game and picked us up defensively. Then the game was won and lost on the boards. We had 14 second-chance points; I imagine J.P. Prince has six or eight of them. That is effort and toughness. Obviously, we are very fortunate to have won. I think we were fortunate their guards missed some open shots."
"Scotty Hopson was supposed to get the ball. They came out in zone. They had done a really good job of pinching down the slipped wing coming out of the zone. Billy Donovan knew exactly where I wanted to go with the ball. Wayne Chism slipped; the only thing was I thought Hopson would be more open coming off of the slip. When Chism went to the basket and passed to Renaldo Woolridge, the Florida guards stayed with him. I thought Hopson would be open right on his heels. Florida's Chandler Parsons did a good job of staying with him. What Hopson did from there was all him. I thought he would be more open. He did not get much of a look, but he made a play himself. It is a big shot, but he is going to have a lot more big shots. I asked him to win it for us. I said, `win this for us.' Then I drew up the play. He knew. His foot was on the line. I thought it was a 3. When Alex Tyus got the last look, if it goes, I promise you I thought we were going to overtime. It happened so quickly."
FLORIDA HEAD COACH BILLY DONOVAN: (on the last possession) "In a lot of respects, defensively, we probably did a pretty good job. You have got to give Hopson credit. I have been on the end of two of those shots - one from 75 feet (at North Carolina State), and then one last weekend against South Carolina where we knocked down a 3-pointer in a crucial situation. And Hopson really knocked down a big-time shot.
"I thought coming down on the offensive end of the floor, in a scrambled situation, that our guys did a pretty good job. Alex Tyus got probably about as good a look as you could expect. It was a two-foot turnaround jumper, but the ball did not go in the basket for him.
"There were a lot of things I was really pleased with for our team. I thought Tennessee did a very good job on Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton; those guys really had a tough time today. I thought they had some pretty decent looks; they just did not shoot the ball particularly well. Walker had six turnovers and, to me a lot of them where unforced. They did a good job pressuring him. When you look at your backcourt going 1-for-11 from the 3-point line and you see 18 offensive rebounds (for Tennessee), you would say, `wow, it is a disaster,' and you are going to get blown out. But I thought our guys played pretty good defense. Tennessee did not shoot a very high percentage, but offensive rebounding really kept them in the game.
"It went back and forth, and reminded me a lot of our game against South Carolina last week. Hopson made a great shot, we made a great pass, we just did not convert on our last play."