March 1, 2006
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl:
"I am very disappointed, but Kentucky played a terrific second half. We had no answer for Rajon Rondo off the dribble. Randolph Morris was very effective inside. We tried to make his catches difficult, but he still had an outstanding game.
"I am concerned with our second-half defense. We must focus on playing better. Every night we have had intense games, and there is no margin for error with this team. When we slip up a little bit, a team like Kentucky will expose it.
"We are capable of playing better defense. I do not think we have a sense of urgency. We should have come out of the first half with a sizeable advantage, but we only led by seven points.
"I am disappointed we did not get to the free-throw line more. We must play better to get respect. We are not a tired team - that is no excuse."
KENTUCKY HEAD COACH TUBBY SMITH:
"I thought it was a great college game. There was a lot of ebb and flow to it with a lot of ups and downs. It was a tremendous effort on both teams' part. I thought our team showed a lot of heart and a lot of toughness. We were struggling early on being down like we were. We were not shooting the ball well early in the game, and it looked like it was going to be a long night. Tennessee is the Eastern Division Champion, and for us to come into their home and win is important to us because we are fighting for a lot of things as we go down the stretch.
"We have not played particularly well all year long, but we have played well the last five games. I thought our kids did what they had to do down the stretch. When you shoot like we did in the second half, you are going to win a lot of games. We battled on the boards with several different types of lineups, especially our small lineup.
"Randolph Morris - I thought he had a great night tonight and a tremendous night on the boards. Rajon Rondo - I am not sure how much he played tonight. He was a little under the weather, but he really stepped up and showed some real toughness and some real heart there. I thought a lot of kids did a lot of good things, and we had some big plays throughout the night".
TENNESSEE GAME NOTES
- Chris Lofton made three 3-pointers to break Allan Houston's single-season school record for 3-pointers made with 101. Houston made 99 3-pointers during the 1990-1991 season.
- Chris Lofton extended his consecutive free throws made streak to 38, one shy of the UT record.
- Tonight's crowd of 24,108 is the sixth largest crowd in Thompson-Boling Arena history. It is the sixth time the Vols have drawn more than 20,000 fans at home this season.
- The Vols have made at least 10 3-pointers in six of their last seven games, going 68-for-147 (.463).
KENTUCKY GAME NOTES
- Kentucky shot a season-high 60.4 percent (29-of-48) overall, the highest mark by the Wildcats since a 61.5 percent showing against Utah in last year's NCAA Tournament.
- The Wildcats trailed by as many as 14 at 21-7 in the first half, but shot 78.9 percent in the second half to earn the victory. The Cats were 15-of-19 from the floor in the game's final 20 minutes.
- Randolph Morris scored a season-high 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting. He was 6-of-10 from the charity stripe and added nine rebounds.
- Rajon Rondo had an explosive second half for the Wildcats, scoring 12 of his 16 points. He had eight assists in 22 minutes.