Nov. 22, 2005
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl: "This win will serve us well. Louisiana-Lafayette is a good team with some new parts, but a very talented and physical team.
"A key was getting Michael Southall in foul trouble. Credit Major Wingate and C.J. Watson for making that happen. Major, because of his injuries, spent two nights in the locker room trying to get ready for the game. When we found out the X-rays were negative that inspired him to try to get to play tonight. He was having so much pain at one time, I did not think we were going to be able to play him. I was not going to let him play unless he could go full-speed. We took the boot off at 2 p.m. today, he ran up and down the floor, and that was that.
"At the timeout, I told the team we were down one point; I said, 'what if we were down 10 points? But this is a one-point game, so let's do what it takes.' We contributed to their run. We were not defending, and we could not rebound. This team has to learn to win, and this game was a step in that direction.
"Both Wingate and Andre Patterson stepped up. Wingate wanted to play against Southall, and Patterson was not pleased with his performance against East Tennessee State last Friday. They were double-teaming our guards, and that left the big men open. And they really stepped up.
"The half-court game is where we struggle, so it was very pleasing we were able to win this game the way it was played. Watson made big plays down the stretch to help us win the game.
"Eastern Kentucky is coached by a former assistant at West Virginia, which runs one of the most dynamic offenses in the country. They will be an exciting opponent, and very difficult to guard.
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE HEAD COACH ROBERT LEE: "I think we grew up as a basketball team in the second half. We really only have three guys who have played extensive minutes on the Division I level. I thought in the second half we woke up and understood how we have got to play and how hard you have to compete to win on this level.
"(regarding second-half comeback) We just had a real gut-check. We decided we were going to have some heart and some desire, and we were going to play with the effort and intensity it takes on the level. Once we had that understanding, it gave us the opportunity to come back and show what type of team these guys will be throughout the rest of the year."
- C.J. Watson scored 17 points to become the 38th UT player to score at least 1,000 points. Watson now has 1,005 in 91 career games. Watson joins Allan Houston and Tony Harris as the only Vols with 1,000 points and 400 assists. Watson converted a 4-point play late in the second half. It was the first since he did it versus Arkansas (2/11/2004).
- Andre Patterson set a career-high with 21 points, bettering his previous high of 16 against Belmont (12/20/2004). His 3-point field goal was just the second of his career. Patterson's other 3-pointer came at New Mexico last season. He also established career bests for free throws (8) and free throw attempts (12).
- Louisiana-Lafayette's Dwayne Mitchell neared the Arena record for opponent individual rebounds with 20. The record is 21 held by Kelly Wise of Memphis (12/5/2000).