March 5, 2005
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Buzz Peterson:
"It was the last game. You want to finish on a positive note, especially for the seniors. Fred Smithwick was trying to get an open look, and I was glad he got into the boxscore. Scooter McFadgon is still trying to come back from his injury, and it was good to see Brandon Crump finish with a double-double.
"Levi Stukes and Sundiata Gaines are tremendous players for Georgia. They are a very physical team that slows it down. It was what I call an ugly game. I was happy with the victory, and pleased we can build some momentum going into the SEC Tournament next week. Our focus is now on winning the first game against Arkansas at the Georgia Dome.
"Chris Lofton has had an excellent season, playing phenomenal basketball as of late. It was remarkable that he made those three straight 3-point baskets. Lofton will have an outstanding career because he likes to have the ball in crucial situations. He has confidence now. It is very unusual to have a freshman as a good-to guy. Shortly after we saw him in practice this fall did we realize he was a special young man. Recently with McFadgon hurt he figured he really needed to step it up for the offense. Lofton is also an improved player on defense.
"Stanley Asumnu took good shots and moved the ball around. We expected him to play well on defense, but tonight he got his offense going also. The best thing about Asumnu is his attitude. He thought he would be a starter, experienced a tough year but he never gave up. Tonight he gets his career scoring-high in his final regular-season game.
"I am not happy with our record, but we played a schedule that was ranked the 15th toughest in the country. Injuries to two seniors we were counting on threw us off. We continue to compete in practice. We did not achieve what we wanted, but I commend the team because they kept fighting. I am focused on this ballclub, and not at all happy with how we played in the Tournament in the past. Our focus is to get these young men ready to go out and win some ballgames."
GEORGIA HEAD COACH DENNIS FELTON:
"We were not as strong defensively as we needed to be. They just scored too much. We were not strong with the ball, and they got some easy points off the turnovers. Asumnu was no surprise; he did precisely what it said on the scouting report. I am disappointed he was so proficient.
"I felt confidant the entire game, especially when we cut it to three points. We had our chances. Every game is a great opportunity to prove ourselves. The SEC Tournament is the next opportunity for us to compete. Each opportunity is the last one. I am excited about it. Lofton is a tremendous player; he has gotten better and better as the year went along. He is a terrific shooter, one of the premier shooters in the SEC. He has added to his game by being able to shoot off the dribble.
"Channing Toney missed the bus to the airport. He drove the airport, and met the bus. I told him we would see him when we got back. I made it clear we have zero tolerance. Suspensions do not impact other teams like they do us. I do not ever overreact. I am very thoughtful about critical decisions for our players and for our team. Our players need to be reliable. I have had to suspend more guys this year than any group I have coached. They need to be more responsive."
- Brandon Crump recorded his second double-double of the season and 13th of his career with 11 points and 12 rebounds. His other double-double this season came against South Carolina 2/23/2005 (22 points, 10 rebounds). His 12 rebounds were a season-high one shy of his career-best. Crump moved into 21st on UT's career scoring list with 1247 points.
- Stanley Asumnu scored a career-high 14 points, bettering his previous best of 13 versus Kentucky 2/25/2004.
- Chris Lofton recorded his fifth 20-point outing of the season and third in the last four games.
- Tennessee plays Arkansas in the first round of the SEC Tournament Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET.