Feb. 27, 2010
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl:
"I felt a lot of emotion visiting with the team after the game. This is a great effort. This was an important win for our program because Kentucky is such a benchmark in the SEC.
"I think our team and our program was on display today. There is not necessarily a better environment in college basketball than Thompson-Boling Arena -- as good as any. We do not beat Kentucky - or Kansas - without 22,000 here. It just does not happen. It's what makes this one of the best jobs in college basketball.
"Kentucky is good. They are really good. They played Thursday night. They traveled. I think fatigue played a factor tonight. I thought that Kentucky did a better job against the zone in the second half. They continued to drive and pound. They are awfully hard to cover off the bounce. There are lots of ways to score against a zone other than the 3-point shot, but the 3-point shot certainly does open things up more. They were 2-for-22 from 3-point range, and that is a big factor.
"To hold Kentucky - who is the No. 1 field-goal percentage shooting team in the league and one of the tops in the country - to 35 percent is how you win the game. And for us to get 28 defensive rebounds versus their 14 offensive rebounds, that is a ratio we can live with. They rebound the ball at a much higher rate than that. That was a huge factor.
"I thought we got real good play, real good balance. We had a couple leaders in J.P. Prince and Scotty Hopson in terms of scoring, but Chism had 8 and Maze had 9, and Goins had 7. With a couple more points we have five guys in double figures. It's a team."
KENTUCKY HEAD COACH JOHN CALIPARI:
"It was a great learning experience for our team. I thought Tennessee played great to start the game. They outhustled us to every ball and then we kind of fought back. In the second half, there was a breakdown again when they got up (by 19 points), and then we do not quit. That is all I can ask of my team. To think about that, and have a chance to win on the road, I am stunned. We had a couple of breakdowns that just drove me crazy - stuff we had worked on.
(regarding what he learned) "One is the way we started where they came after us and we were not ready for it. The second thing was in an afternoon game, which we can be in during the NCAA Tournament, we need to get up and have a shoot around. I do not care if we play Thursday or not. I decided not to have a shoot around.
"But I do not want to take away from Tennessee. When it went 65-65, I thought we were winning. There was no question in my mind we were winning this game. And you know what, they made a play, a ball squirted loose - they had a guy who just took it out of our hands on the baseline. That means they wanted it more than we did. You have got to give them credit."
The afternoon's only tie was 65-65. Tennessee then ended the game with a 9-0 run over the last 1:34.
Kentucky's only lead was in the opening 3½ minutes (4-0). Tennessee then answered with an 18-0 run.
The Vols started their ninth different combination this season.
J.P. Prince led all scorers with 20 points. He was the leader at the break as well with 11.
Kentucky made just 1-of-11 3-point field goals each half.
UT's bench outscored UK's bench 20-5.
Tennessee is now 50-4 under Pearl when the Vols hold their opponent 40% shooting (The Cats shot 35%).
The Vols wore their road Orange uniforms in support of UT's OUTLIVE initiative to fight cancer.