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Tennessee vs. Kentucky Quotes

March 2, 2005

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Tennessee Head Coach Buzz Peterson

On the loss...
"It was a heck of a basketball game. It seemed like both teams were stuck on 55 for the longest time. We called different sets, basically, for (Chris) Lofton, our freshman, to get him looks. Both teams had a hard time struggling at that time. It seems like it's been the same book for us with different chapters. Now, toward the end, we're just not able to get some stops and were unable to get some offensive scores. I'm happy with our guys and the way they competed tonight. I'm very upset we lost the game, but it's been the same way for us of late. Our guys keep competing. I've got to make sure they keep their heads up and get ready for Georgia on Saturday."

On Kentucky...
"The one thing about this Kentucky team is they're very deep. We all know that. The amazing thing that blew my mind in their game against Alabama was they played 13 ball players in the first half in a game where you're looking at the title of the SEC. They've just got different people who can step up and make big plays. If you're a starter up here on Kentucky's team and you do not produce and you're not doing the right thing, that guy on the bench coming in is as good as you are. So, you better step up and make the right plays. That competition really picks it up and takes it to another level."

On Kentucky's ability to pull out the win...
"We've seen a Kentucky team do this a lot. We have been in this situation eight straight ball games on the road, and we've won two of those. We've been very competitive on the road, but we just haven't been able to pull some of these out. Going into this game, we were 15 points from being 7-0 in road games in the SEC. It's been so close. You're playing the third-ranked team in the country and your turnovers, your missed box-outs...all of that've got to be very careful that those are kept very low. We had some plays where we coughed up the ball three out of four times when it was 55-all for a long time. That just put fuel on the fire for them and they got going."



On the little things that helped contribute to the loss...
"That was the first time I've ever seem him (Chris Lofton) complain of cramps. He was cramping up and (Dane) Bradshaw had the blown shoes. Things were not going our way at that time. I'm not used to losing like this and it angers me that things happen like this. I'm a determined person to get our program headed in the right direction, and that's winning these close ball games. It's very frustrating. I've got young men that have a lot of character. We will keep our heads up and keep fighting through this. I will get this program turned around where we're competing at a high level for championships."

#5 Chris Lofton

On the loss to Kentucky...
"We didn't play well tonight as a team. We just have to get better and work harder."

On playing at Rupp Arena...
"It was nice coming back since I played here during high school. It was really nice."

On playing against Kelenna Azubuike...
"Azubuike is a strong athlete. He really limited me. That's something I must work on, putting the ball on the floor more."

On the crowd...
"Kentucky has a great crowd. They get behind them here at Rupp. They're like the sixth man. They really get behind them."

On his game...
"I think I'm just getting more shots up and I think that's really helping me. At the beginning of the game, I kind of couldn't miss. Near the end I didn't have my legs under me so I missed a few shots."

Kentucky Head Coach Tubby Smith

"First, I want to commend Tennessee. I thought Buzz Peterson had his team ready to play. They were focused. In some areas, they sort of outworked us. Trying to keep Chris Lofton - the ball out of his hands - was a real challenge. I thought they really came ready to play.

"But, I thought our kids responded the right way. It's a very emotional game for Chuck (Hayes) and Josh (Carrier). I'm really proud and happy for Josh. He did an excellent job for us, both at the offensive and defensive end.

"I thought, throughout the game, we had a chance to pull away. But, once again I thought it was Tennessee's ability to force us into creating problems and turnovers. They showed a lot of pride. We (have been able to get through) some of the periods where we don't score because our defense has been pretty solid all year long. As I told the team in there tonight, we have to eliminate those droughts, where we have such a long period without scoring. Those can kill you as you get into this time of the year.

"It's a good win. It's a good way to finish at home here in Rupp Arena in front of our great fans. Our guys are really happy for our seniors. I'm happy for Josh and Chuck because of the way they played and the way they finished their careers in front of the fans here in Lexington.

"We have another big road game against a very good Florida team, so we have some things we need to work on between now and then. We'll try and get started doing that."

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