Feb. 16, 2011
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl:
"It's good to be back at home. I felt like our homecourt advantage, our crowd helped us win tonight. I thought defensively, particularly in the first half, we made it difficult on South Carolina. We dominated the boards, and they shot 25 percent on 8-of-32 shooting so I think that's terrific. In the second half, to let them get off to a good start and close the game down was disappointing. I inserted Brian Williams in starting lineup in the second half because I haven't felt like John Fields, for a couple of games in a row, has played well. Kenny Hall came in and did a nice job in the second half and helped us. It was good to see.
"They played a lot of zone. I thought we left a lot of shots out there. We got some good looks that could have gone down. I thought we did a decent job of breaking pressure, yet 16 turnovers is still too many. I thought Melvin (Goins) did a better job distributing the basketball with six assists. I asked Melvin to pass more and shoot less. I was not happy with his turnovers.
"It was good to get back on the winning track and it will help our confidence. Obviously, with Cam Tatum 1-for-6 at the foul line, there's no question that missing that free throw at Florida was a factor in that. That's OK for a freshman. That's not OK for Cam. He's been here four years. You step up there and I expect you to make it. You should expect to make it. It was really good to see then after missing the free throws on two or three occasions, he came out there and had a defensive spurt. In the second half in particularly when the game got tight, Cameron had two spectacular defensive plays. He really did a nice job of redeeming himself."
On Melvin Goins distributing the ball well... "Every game is different. I thought he did a decent job on (Bruce) Ellington. You've got to start with defense and realize that with Josh Bone and Melvin Goins we have got a good defender on the ball. I thought our ball-screen defense was again very good."
On Scotty Hopson's play... "I thought Scotty did a great job attacking the rim in that zone. He got to the basket a couple of times. It was good to see Scotty get to the foul line more and accept the contact. But for Tobias (Harris) and Scotty to not have any assists, that's not a good stat for two of our best players. They both have to do a better job of passing the basketball."
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH DARRIN HORN:
"I just think we've got to keep doing what we're doing. They're a veteran team with a lot of experience. I think they outweigh us at every position, including point guard, but we showed a lot of fight and had it a two-possession game there and at least have a chance in a game where the other team shoots 35 free throws and you only shoot 12."
On the team performance on both ends of the floor... "I thought offensively we were as good tonight as we have been in a long time. It was a mix of attacking and shooting a lot of threes, but they were good threes. We didn't do a good job on the glass in the first half, but I thought we did an excellent job in the second half. We gave up too many easy baskets to them while we were in the zone (defense), but that was something we had to do in the second half."
On if there were any common trends in South Carolina's four-game losing streak... "Tonight it was just a situation where we were better than we've been on both ends of the floor in a few games. We put two halves together against a pretty good team that's got a ton of veterans. We started three freshmen out there tonight and the one (freshman) that they've got is a McDonald's All-American."