Feb. 19, 2011
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl:
"Georgia started the game like they were playing for their NCAA Tournament lives. We played like we were already in. You can't spot a good team that kind of lead in a game of that magnitude. The players understood what was at stake. The coaches understood what was at stake. It didn't show up until 10 minutes into the game. Give Georgia credit. We talked about how they start out and get leads on teams so we needed to be sharp and ready to go.
"Obviously Scotty (Hopson) had a tremendous offensive game just like he did there. He was very hard to guard. But he also was one of our guys who started slowly.
"I told our team before we played Georgia one of the keys to our win there was that Jeremy Price only played eight or nine minutes. Between he and (Trey) Thompkins, they had 13 defensive rebounds. Those two big guys know how to win the game. We did a great job on Thompkins again, but he's a terrific player and does a lot of things out there.
"We play better when everybody contributes. Offensively, it's Tobias and Scotty who are aggressive and then the rest are not."
On what he told the team
"You either have it or you don't. I told the team if you have more, it's time. This is it. We're going to have a hard time beating teams on strength. I need more from pretty much everybody down the line. I really think the start was hard to overcome. Hanging on the rim was probably a good call. Melvin (Goins) made a great play but he didn't need to hang. Sometimes players play with emotion and intensity. He made a great play to make a steal and then he made a mistake. I've got a great tolerance for aggressiveness. I don't for not having that sense of urgency and not competing, not realizing you were in a fight until you're already getting the crap kicked out of you."
On handling Georgia's post play
"We played behind the post. They beat us over the top on the post one time when Steven (Pearl) was in the post. When Price is 8-for-9 and 4-for-4 from the foul line, it's pretty simple what you've got to do. Tobias (Harris), Brian (Williams), John (Fields), Kenny (Hall) and Pearl did not do a good enough job getting over top."
On not being able to pull away from opponents
"What I would say is defense and rebounding. They outrebounded us and outshot us. We've got to have more than Tobias and Scotty looking to score and score productively. Melvin played great defense and played hard, doesn't take possessions off. Melvin was 1-for-7. Cameron (Tatum) was 1-for-5. You've got to be accountable for that. We need more than that."
GEORGIA HEAD COACH MARK FOX:
"That was a really good win for our program and our team. I am proud of our kids. They really competed hard and kept battling to win the game.
Regarding improving road record from 0-11 to 7-2
"We have made progress as a program and these young guys have matured. In order to have success on the road, it is truly because you have good players - guys who have bought in. And that is the reason this year, too.
"They have a terrific team and Hopson is a great, great player. We probably would not have taken that option if you had given it to us. The hard part for us is we could not afford to get in foul trouble. We did not want to be in that situation, so we got a little bit tentative - so much that Hopson just laid it in sometimes. But we tried to make everything hard and we made none of it hard.
Regarding defensive play of late
"We are continuing to improve as a defensive team. You didn't see that today with those two guys - we were trying to stop them - but we have improved as a defensive group. That is something we set out to do when the year started and we are seeing some growth there."