Nov. 25, 2005
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl: "We beat a good team that I expect to have a successful season. What a schedule Eastern Kentucky has. I looked forward to the challenge of this game. They are extremely well coached, and run a good system. Tonight is the best we have played.
"Chris Lofton got going when he made a couple of good defensive plays - that got him started. His play during the second half was a key to our pulling away. I told Lofton at halftime he had played too many minutes. I was not concerned about his lack of scoring because we are a team. He has forgotten more than I know about what it takes to get him going.
"At halftime, I had C.J. Watson talk to the team about the need for better defense and more rebounding, and we did much better in the second half. They changed defenses on us, but we executed well.
"I liked the package that we have against the zone defense - it worked well for us. There were times when Eastern Kentucky did well against our press. I felt eventually it would take its toll on them. We stayed with it in this game, and eventually it accomplished what we wanted.
"Ryan Childress is strong, tough, and gives us some solid minutes. The team responded well to the scouting report, considering they only had two days to get ready."
EASTERN KENTUCKY HEAD COACH JEFF NEUBAUER: "Balance was not an issue at all tonight. We are getting balanced scoring, just not enough scoring.
"In my mind, there are two major reasons we did not do well tonight. First, we had 25 turnovers. Our shooting numbers are good, but we cannot give up 25 possessions. We have to value the ball. Second, our defense allowed them to score 92 points. For us to allow them nine 3-pointers tonight is hard to swallow. They were stronger and more physical around the basket. We have got to finish around the rim.
"I think the biggest thing was that Major Wingate got deep position. He did not just get the ball in the post, but got the ball deep in the post. Bruce Pearl is a good coach who can really get a team to play his way. It is just his style, his pressure."
- Major Wingate established a career-high with 18 points (previous 14 vs. Kentucky 1/25/2005) thanks in part to a career-high tying night at the free throw line with his 6-6 free throws made.
- After seven career 3-point field goals, Jordan Howell scored his first 2-point field goal tonight. Howell's shot came with less than 1 minute remaining in the first half.
- Dane Bradshaw set a career-high with five steals tonight.
- Chris Lofton matched his career-high with four steals.
- Tennessee shot a season-high 54.8 percent from the field (34-of-62).