Feb. 15, 2006
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl:
"That was a game of two completely different halves. I was thrilled with the way we played in the first half. I was very disappointed by the second half. Give Auburn credit - they have not packed it in. They are well coached, and they will be good down the stretch.
"We took the press off after 10 minutes of the second half, and went with our half-court defense. It was not very good.
"Give our managers credit. We did a lot of shooting this week because we knew we would get open looks on the perimeter. We set a school record for 3-point shots with 16 made. Others had a good night to go along with Chris Lofton.
"The last few minutes we did not guard the post and we did not rebound. They made their shots and did not go away. Again I stress, give Auburn credit. It does not happen very often where a game has two such different halves. We started sharp and played real well early, which shows that we obviously respected our opponent.
"I would never run up the score on anybody, but I will coach for 40 minutes. We are going to play the right way for 40 minutes. I took the press off because I have too much respect for Auburn and coach Jeff Lebo to keep it going. Auburn did some defensive things the way Georgia did, but we were better against them tonight."
AUBURN HEAD COACH JEFF LEBO:
"We battled them hard. The difference in the game was turnovers. If you look at the stat sheet, we shoot it better than they do but it was the turnovers that hurt us. Chris Lofton continues his hot shooting and they play with a great degree of confidence.
"Once we broke their press, we scored. We did a lot of good things. We do not score 64 points in games. We have had 10 games, maybe, where we have not scored 64 points. Our kids battled but Tennessee was too good tonight, especially on the offensive end.
"They have more experience and our playing with more confidence. When you win, you have a little swagger and they are playing with it. They are making perimeter shots. Some of the shots they are making, especially Lofton when he gets going, he makes unbelievably difficult shots. I told my team he is the J.J. Redick of the Southeastern Conference, and that is what he is. It is nice to have a guy out on the floor who you can get a bucket from without even needing to create it. We were right in his face and, in fact, he shoots it better when you are right in his face.
"They have good guards. I think that is the big thing in college basketball, and they have very good guard play. I also think the emergence of Andre Patterson has helped. He struggled last year and the system seems to fit him better. He has been more productive this year."
- Tennessee set a school record with 16 3-point baskets, bettering the 15 set twice
- The Vols made 15 against South Florida (11/29/1999) and Tennessee Tech (11/25/1988).
- UT has made at least 10 3-pointers in three straight games, going 36-for-79 (.456)
- Six Vols scored in double figures for the first time since the Austin Peay State game (11/27/2000).
- The 25 points scored by Auburn in the first half matched a season low by an opponent (La.-Lafayette 11/20/2005).
- JaJuan Smith set a career-high with 19 points (17 vs. Ole Miss 2/4/2006).
- Dane Bradshaw matched his career-high with two 3-pointers.