March 11, 2005
Head Coach Buzz Peterson
On tonight's game...
"We didn't get the best of starts tonight. C.J. (Watson) got two quick fouls and Kentucky sort of delivered the punch to us. I am proud of our team. The second half they came out and were not intimidated and they fought hard. It showed a lot of character in the second half to beat them by five. The way they came out and started the game just caught us behind the lock. We were way behind in defensive transition and they were getting easy buckets off of that and we had way to many turnovers. But, the biggest difference was the start of the ballgame."
On the status of the Tennessee program...
"We're right there and trying to turn the corner. The season is disappointing and it doesn't meet my standards at all. I've come from winning programs at North Carolina and I want to play for championships and get our program back to where it needs to be."
On his big game tonight...
"We knew we could come out and play against this team. The last game, we were right there with them the last 30 minutes and we knew we could play with them if we contained them on defense and make shots on the offensive end."
Head Coach Tubby Smith
"This was a good win for us. We got off to a good start with Kelenna (Azubuike) and Chuck (Hayes) getting us going early. I was impressed with Tennessee and how they came back and responded in the second half."
On the pressure to win...
"Obviously it's extremely difficult to win every game in a season. This team enjoys being competitive and we've set some goals for ourselves. The fans have very high expectations for us to win. We are very fortunate to get talented players like Chuck (Hayes), Kelenna (Azubuike), and Patrick (Sparks). They all know you have to play intrinsic and not with extrinsic values. As long as we give the effort, that's all you can ask for."
On if he feels pressured to continue winning...
"I don't really feel pressured, but it gives us more motivation. We play for these fans who are so loyal, so there's no reason not to get pumped. This program is measured by championships, and Kelenna (Azubuike) and I knew that coming in as freshmen. We know the type of effort we have to give."
On playing with emotion...
"We just made an effort to come out with enthusiasm. We tried to pick each other up and provide energy for one another. I think we all communicated well and that helped us get going in the first half."
- Junior guard C.J. Watson established a career high with his 26 points tonight ... His previous career best was 20 points against Campbell (12/23/04) ... His previous career best against at SEC team was 18 vs. LSU on 2/5/05 ... He had 19 points combined in two regular-season games against Kentucky this year.
- Watson's 26 points were the second-highest scoring total of any Vol player this year ... Chris Lofton had 30 points at Arkansas (2/26/05).
- Watson had two steals today and finished with 58 this season, tied with Vincent Yarbrough (2001-02) for sixth on the UT single-season steals list ... His 139 career steals rank seventh best in UT history, as he passed LaMarcus Golden (1992-94) and Dyron Nix (1985-89), who each had 138, tonight.
- Watson had four three pointers tonight and now has 116 for his career to rank eighth all-time at UT ... Scooter McFagdon is right behind in ninth place with 110, while Chris Lofton, in just one season, has 93 to rank 12th all-time at UT.
- Lofton just missed setting the UT single-season three-pointers made mark, finishing with 93 to rank second behind Allan Houston (1990-91) ... Lofton's 200 three pointers attempted this season also ranked second to Houston's 231 in 1990-91.
- Chris Lofton, who averaged 18.0 points a game in two games vs. Kentucky this season, scored his first point of the game with 1:27 to play in the opening period (a driving layup) ... He went on to score eight points in the second half to finish with 10 for the game (averaging 15.3 points a game in three contests vs. UK this year