Dec. 11, 2004
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Buzz Peterson:
"Xavier is a good ball club, and they are well-coached. You knew they would come back on us after we jumped out to the quick lead. We made some turnovers during the stretch, but we came out in the second half and really pushed the ball. We played really well tonight. I liked the energy we had. I liked the way our guys competed; they hung in there with the game plan, fought through adversity, and executed well for us.
"It is a long season, and a lot of things can happen. I am glad our guys stuck with it, and kept working hard. I told them that you have to hang your hat on something. I think our guys did a good job with their shot selection. We did not make a lot of bad decisions on offense. I thought the fans were great, and I look forward to seeing them here again next game.
"I have thought Brandon Crump was getting tired too quickly this season. Today, he looked pretty fresh. We shortened practices this week so that may have helped. I am very excited and proud of Brandon; he got the ball in the paint, and he really took charge tonight. Overall, I was very pleased with the wings and perimeter players getting him the ball inside.
"This win gives us confidence. Now exams are over with, and classes have been over with since the 30th. Our guys have been in here watching film a lot these last few days. This is a team I want to gel, and to have tremendous team chemistry."
XAVIER HEAD COACH SEAN MILLER:
"I thought the pressure of the moment down the stretch overwhelmed our team. You shoot 49 percent from the field, have nine turnovers, and shoot 42 percent from the 3-point line -- you'll take that against a good SEC team. We missed some key free-throws, and in the big possessions, we could not follow through and run the plays. You have to be able to deliver under pressure.
"What is alarming is our defense, and there are no easy answers. You ask if we played hard. We didn't play hard enough. Our schedule is difficult and was not put together for us to go undefeated. You cannot blame the offense for these last two losses. We had winning numbers, offensively. We cannot defend, and we cannot get the stops we need.
"Tennessee moves the ball well. They have dangerous guys on the perimeter. C.J. Watson, Scooter McFadgon, and Chris Lofton are three good players. On the first five or six possessions, Brandon Crump was able to catch it, and then hit the 10-foot jump hook with guys on him. Crump is an older guy who has been through it, and he can deliver.
"Things are tough right now. I can say that our offense right now is better than before. Our breakdowns have cost us better shots to the point where we had to call time outs when our guys were not executing. We just have to be better on defense. In spite of all that, we had a chance to win tonight."
- Brandon Crump set a career-high with 26 points, bettering his previous best of 25 (twice) last set vs. Ole Miss 2/18/04. He made 11 field goals, which bettered his previous best of 10 against UNC Asheville (12/30/03).
- Crump registered two blocks to move into sole possession of 11th place on the career blocks list with 91. He passed Willie Burton (1980-84) who had 90. He needs 11 to tie Rob Jones' (1982-86), 112, for 10th.
- Scooter McFadgon's consecutive free-throw streak ended at 31 with a miss on his fourth free throw attempt of the game. He fell one shy of his career-best 32 set last year.
- C.J. Watson recorded three assists to move past Bert Bertlekamp (332) into ninth place on the career assists list with 333 of them. Jon Higgins is eighth with 352.
- Jemere Hendrix made his first appearance in the starting lineup this season. He replaced Andre Patterson, who had started the five previous games this season.
- Tennessee made its first six field goals, while making two 3-pointers and going 2-for-2 at the line, until Crump missed a jumper at 13:35 in the first half.
- The 36 points scored by Tennessee in the first half was a season high for the Vols (35 vs. Texas).
- This was the first time in the Buzz Peterson era that the Vols were tied at half time, a span of 95 games.
- UT now leads the all-time series with Xavier 9-4, including a 6-1 mark in Knoxville.