Dec. 6, 2006
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Bruce Pearl: "It's about getting better, and seeing where we go from here. I am happy we won the game, but we have a lot of work to do.
"It was a great atmosphere with tremendous support from the more than 4,000 students who were here for the game. The students are preparing for exams, and our team was glad to give them a release tonight. For them to take time out from their studies to watch us play meant a lot to the team and to me. We appreciate it. Our crowd helped us to win.
"Chris Lofton is amazing. We talk about getting better, because our team is so young, but tonight does not happen without the whole group working to allow Lofton to win the game. That is what happened to Chris.
"Wayne Chism took a charge early, and that was big for his being a freshman - going up against a veteran. And this is something about our team: Duke Crews came to me this afternoon and suggested Chism start the game because it would mean so much to him.
"Memphis pressured us so much that Lofton was able to get past them, a big factor in his point totals. Ramar Smith is making progress. He will make a lot of plays later on that he was not quite finishing tonight.
"Crews is a tough guy. He showed that tonight. There was some battling going on. What courage and what character he showed. Memphis is terrific off of the bounce. They did not shoot well; there was an up pace in this game, and their shooters were not making their shots."
MEMPHIS HEAD COACH JOHN CALIPARI: "Chris Lofton is unbelievable. Their whole team played well. They played inspired.
"We did not play particularly well, but you have got to give them a lot of credit. We were driving sideways. We are a team that prides itself on getting to the rim, and guess what -- in the first half, they got to the rim. They had five assists on all of their first-half baskets, which means every one was a driving lay-up. We usually take pride in playing like that.
"We got it to 11 or 12 in the second half and I thought, `let's get it to 8, 7, and see how they play.' But what happens is, turnover, offensive rebound, bad shot, and I am like, `what are we doing?' We deserved to get beat by 20 points because of how we played.
"They forced us out of some of the stuff we were trying to get to, and we shot quickly. This is the first game we found ourselves in that position. That is why you play these games on the road."