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TENNESSEE POSTGAME QUOTES



Feb. 7, 2006

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Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl
Opening Statement ...
"To do special things you need have special players and special performances. Obviously you saw one tonight from Chris Lofton. You saw another one tonight because he (Lofton) did the same thing against Florida. Some of the shots he took were well defended. We did a pretty good job of getting him open and guys did a pretty good job of turning shots down to get him shots because he (Lofton) clearly had a pretty good chance of making what he put up."

On his team's defensive rebounding...
"I thought one of the keys to tonight's game was our defensive rebounding in the second half. Kentucky is athletic and second in the conference in rebound margin and I thought it was essential for us to secure our backboard. I thought the rebounding of Andre Patterson and our guards (Lofton and Dane Bradshaw) was a real key for us."

On defending Patrick Sparks...
"I thought Patrick Sparks was a real key to their (UK) resurgence. That's why I put C.J. Watson on him. I think if you look at Kentucky's resurgence and their five straight wins and he (Sparks) played well, they played well."

On beating Kentucky...
"Kentucky is the benchmark for every team in this conference. I was honored to be on the floor tonight coaching because of all the great coaches and players that have been here. What a wonderful crowd (tonight).and a great environment."

On building a rivalry with Kentucky...
"I would really like to have a rivalry with Kentucky. I think we are fortunate to have Kentucky as our rival. It (the rivalry) is what is going to help me build this program into something. I thought it was great that the fans were interested in beating us. That hasn't been the case in a few years. I looked forward to this game. It is a good feeling to be able to bring a basketball team into here and get that sort of respect from such a wonderful place with great fans."

 

 

JaJuan Smith
On the win...
"It was a big win for the team, but we got to move on to the next game. We have to take it one game at a time, and now we're focusing on Georgia."

On guarding Kentucky's big men...
"We were trying to make them shoot outside shots and keep the ball out of Morris's hands. He played real well, and Kentucky shot the ball real well. We were just able to come back at the end of the game."

On the play of Chris Lofton...
"He handled the pressure of coming back home really well tonight. He's our leader and he showed it tonight."

Dane Bradshaw
On winning at Rupp Arena...
"They've beaten me about six or seven times, so it's not even yet, but it feels good to get a win here at Rupp."

On what the win means for Tennessee...
"It's huge because I think we've reached the midway point of the conference schedule. People were wondering if we'd still have it in the second half of the conference season, and we're off to a great start with a win tonight."

Major Wingate
On the win ...
"It is a big win but it means just about as much as the next SEC win. We just have to come prepared every game to handle business. This is a win that is real big because we haven't won here in a while, but it is just another SEC game and we have to come ready to play every game."

Andre Patterson
On guarding Randolph Morris...
"We did the same thing the whole game. We tried to deny the post because we were going small. We had to use our quickness, and be scrappy out there, and I think it helped us."

On if he felt that Tennessee wore down Kentucky...
"Our whole game plan is that we just want to wear you down physically. We just try to outwork every team we play."

Chris Lofton
On his 31 point, seven rebound performance...
"It felt good. I got my rhythm early and we had a great night tonight. I work a lot on moving without the ball and that is something that was working tonight. I was just trying to worry about what I was doing on defense and offense. It is a special win - on the road in the SEC. As long as we keep getting wins I am happy. I just kept my cool and got some shots to fall."

On the improvement from his freshman and sophomore years...
"I just tried to work on all aspects of my game, continually working and running and improving my conditioning."

On getting a win in his home state of Kentucky...
"It is real special coming back to my home state, but this is not home - home is Maysville [Kentucky]. It is just another game, just another win in the SEC. I am just having fun playing basketball at Tennessee."

Ryan Childress
On the win against Kentucky...
"It is a good win to get. In the process you have to win these games on the road to secure your spot in the tournament. It is just another win that we had to get in order to achieve our goals."

On the play of sophomore guard Chris Lofton...
"[Chris] Lofton is automatic. He is back at home and he has played here before in big situations. When you need points you go to Chris Lofton in the clutch and he is usually comes through."

C.J. Watson
On Chris Lofton's shooting...
"It was real big for Chris (Lofton) to hit those shots. It just took him to hit one and we knew he would catch fire. We all played well together and once he caught fire we knew he would stay hot. He is always calm and cool, we are all happy for him to come back home and get this win."

On coming into Rupp Arena and pressing...
"That is our game we play that night in and night out and we are not going to change it up; keep running and do what we do best, shoot threes. We know we are not going to get the respect from anybody, we have to go out and earn it."

On the scene in the locker room after the 75-67 victory...
"It was crazy, it our first win here (Rupp Arena) in a long time for our program. Everybody was having fun and going crazy. Coach (Bruce Pearl) was ripping his shirt off in excitement. He told us before the game to act like we've won here before."


Kentucky Head Coach Tubby Smith
"Obviously this was another lost opportunity for us to really make up some ground in the league. Tennessee made their shots and made plays down the stretch, and we didn't. We couldn't get our shots to drop. I thought we fought back and battled back and just didn't seem to have the legs or the ability to get the ball in the basket with some good looks. If they had dropped, I thought it would have given us some momentum, and put the game in a position where we could have won it. We have Vanderbilt next, so hopefully we can recover from this. Chris Lofton is an outstanding shooter He took advantage of every opportunity that he had to get his shot off and he knocked them down. We got some good play out of Randolph [Morris] and solid play out of some other people. I thought we did a good job on the boards in the first half, but we didn't keep it up in the second half and they beat us on the boards. A lot of things went wrong there and we couldn't capitalize on our opportunities. We had the same problems we have had all year on free-throw shooting, and we worked today specifically on that. We had a lot of mismatches. It hurt not having Ramel available. He didn't play because of some off-the-court issues. I thought that we got some positive play from Brandon Stockton off the bench. I thought he did some good things for us. Joe [Crawford] and Rajon [Rondo] both logged a lot of minutes there. We have got to be ready for Vandy on Saturday."

On Kentucky's Brandon Stockton guarding Tennessee's Chris Lofton...
"We were trying to switch things up at certain times, and I felt like he could try to hold him [Lofton] down, but he was big enough and strong enough to just shoot over him."

On Kentucky shooting exclusively three-point shots late in the game...
"We were running plays to get the ball inside, and they were doing a good job of shutting down on the inside. I thought we had some looks inside that we should have just have been a little more patient on. That is the same problem we had at Florida."

On the turnaround in Tennessee's program...
"It has been impressive. I have been impressed with the way his [Bruce Pearl] team battles. They have solid players and aggressive players that know how to play the game. He has really energized them with a lot of enthusiasm."

#1 Brandon Stockton
On Chris Lofton...
"He's pretty tough. He can really shoot. If you leave him out there and he puts it up, it will probably go in."

On the game...
"Tennessee was a great team. We had a chance at the end and didn't capitalize and they came out with the win."

On where Kentucky goes after this...
"We have seven games left in the season. We can win those and still have a successful season. We just have to come out and be ready for Vanderbilt."

#32 Joe Crawford
On Chris Lofton's play...
"He's a great player. He knocks down shots. He showed what he can do and he made the tough shots."

On whether he's frustrated...
"I don't have time to be frustrated. We just have to turn it around. We have seven more games to go. We have to turn this around."

On what Kentucky needs to work on...
"We have to calm down and get back to basics. We have to tough it out. It's tough right now. We're on a losing streak and we have to stick it out."

#2 Ravi Moss
On Tennessee's Chris Lofton...
"He does a good job getting shots off, and he finds the gaps in the zone defense and man-to-man defense."

On what Kentucky needs to work on...
"We need to fix a lot of things. We've got to play defense and finish plays. We have to execute better offensively and make better decisions. If we do those three things, we're going to be happy."

On Kentucky's defense...
"We haven't worked out our rotations well. Everyone knows where we've got to be, but we've got to get there faster. At times like these, you have to make the plays yourself. You can't stand around and wait for a play to be made."

#4 Rajon Rondo
On the teams' attitude
"We have to stay positive and focused these next seven games."

On Tennessee's performance compared with last year...
"They pressed a lot. That was the big difference."

On Chris Lofton...
"He's got a lot of game. He did the same thing to us last year."

#33 Randolph Morris
On the last few minutes of the game...
"We tied it up to 64 and then we were up by one. We couldn't hit a couple shots and then we're down by five."

On the upcoming games...
"We've got to win these next seven games and play well in the SEC tournament. Our backs are against the wall. It's do or die."

On Chris Lofton...
"We had to limit his touches. I thought we played good defense down the stretch. But we let a few shots get away from us."

On UK's offensive breakdown...
"We were stagnant on offense. We weren't moving as well. We definitely had a mental breakdown. Our mental lapses made it hard down the stretch."

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