Feb. 5, 2011
ACTING TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Tony Jones:
"First of all, a great crowd out there with 21,000, a season-high. They didn't let the guys let up. It shows just what kind of fans the Vol Nation has.
""ery disappointed in the loss. We had the opportunity to play one of the better teams in the SEC. As far as record is concerned, they're the best team in SEC right now. We knew it would be a tough basketball game, especially getting in Friday morning from Auburn and just having one day to prepare. It's a rugged, physical basketball team that we allowed to get off to a good first-half start. Credit goes to Alabama and their coaching staff for that to occur.
"They shot 67 percent in first half and that just can't happen. Our guys didn't come out with energy defensively. They got some run-outs in first half when our guys uncharacteristically didn't get back. They scored points in the paint, something that's been their focus all year long and we allowed it.
"I talked to team about where do we go from here at halftime: `We have 20 minutes left in the basketball game. You've shown that you can come back from deficits and we can come back from this one.' We came out a little more spirited in the second half and held them to 2-of-15 shooting to start the second half, and I was really pleased by that. However, we didn't score the basketball when we were getting stops.
"We outrebounded them 48-33, and that's been a strength of ours. We held their best shooter, (Charvez) Davis, scoreless, which credit goes to Josh Bone and Skylar McBee for that. Tobias (Harris) got his seventh double-double. Skyler hit three big 3-point shots. Steven Pearl played really spirited and gave us a lift coming off the bench.
"To conclude my statement, even though I told the players I was disappointed in the outcome because we had the opportunity to win the game in regulation just like we had the opportunity to win game in regulation against Florida and didn't do it. I told them I was proud of them. This coaching staff, without our leader, appreciated their effort during this eight-game stretch. They were attentive. They were focused. For the most part, they listened to what we had to say. As we move forward, we've got a lot of pieces to build on and we still control our own destiny. We have three losses. Florida has two. And we still have the opportunity to go down to Gainesville and play them next Saturday.
"Not having Scotty (Hopson, injured) doesn't soften the blow. We pride ourselves on having depth. Josh Bone, Skylar, Cameron Tatum, they did a good job. Heck, we had an opportunity to win the game in regulation and Scotty Hopson didn't play."
ALABAMA HEAD COACH ANTHONY GRANT:
"This was a great win for our team. Today we played one of the more physical teams we have played in a long time. Give Tennessee credit - they really battled and fought. The second half, the intensity of the game was tremendous. Our guys, obviously, answered the call in terms of the intensity we played with. We made the plays down the stretch we needed to make to get the win. We had a lot of guys who stepped up at different points of the game, and brought different things to us. I am just really proud of the effort our guys put forth here today to come out with the win.
"JaMychal Green was under the weather today and I didn't know where he would be with his energy, but he battled for us. Even when his shots weren't falling, he did everything he needed to do on the defensive end and obviously made some big free throws down the stretch.
"Tennessee was undermanned today as well without their leading scorer. But they had guys who stepped up and really made some plays for them. It was just a great SEC environment and a great game. We were fortunate to win."