Dec. 14, 2004
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH Buzz Peterson:
"This was one of those games that I was concerned we would come out lacking intensity. But I am happy at how well we executed.
"We were pretty patient in not taking the outside shot when we had some opportunities. I wanted us to work on the inside-outside execution, and we did. Our guys were hesitant to take the outside shots, even though the crowd was hollering, 'shoot, shoot.' But we were working on our inside game.
"I will take a win any way we get it. It was not the prettiest, but our defense did a pretty good job. There is a virus going through our team right now, and we have just got to get rid of it.
"Kevin Spicer is a talented player, but he got into foul trouble. We took the momentum shortly before halftime, and we kept it throughout most of the second half.
"Now we move on and play New Mexico in The Pit at Albuquerque, which is a tough place to go. New Mexico is 9-1. Tomorrow we will start getting ready for the Lobos."
SOUTH ALABAMA HEAD COACH ROB SPIVERY:
"We got off to the start we wanted. In previous games, we had had a slow start. We did a good job early of keeping the game in check. We had a few breakdowns defensively; they made three 3-pointers to build the lead, and we never recovered.
"We shot way too many 3-pointers. We usually do not take that many. We did not work the ball inside. We talked about it at halftime, and scored early in the second half inside.
"We need better leaders, and better point guard play. We saw we could compete for a time in this game. We have given good effort in every game, but we have been inconsistent offensively. When you play an SEC team like Tennessee, you are usually out-manned in size and strength.
"We will usually stay in a match-up zone longer than we did, but we did not cover, and we did not take away shots. We had to play man-to-man to get something going. We cannot allow any team to shoot in the 50-percent range.
"I thought Alex Oliver played pretty well until he got tired. I told him to play as long as he could, and he a decent game. He has scored in double-figures the last three games, and he has always played hard. Tennessee showed they had good outside shooters, and strength outside. They should be able to compete in the SEC this year."
- C.J. Watson tied his career-high with 9 assists set three other times, most recently against Georgia 1/7/04. He also set a season-high with seven rebounds.
- The Vols continued their hot shooting, connecting on 55.6 percent (25-of-45) tonight. Over the last two games, UT is shooting 56.8 percent from the field (50-of-88) and is 14-of-24 on 3-pointers.
- Chris Lofton's last seven field goals have all been 3-pointers.
- The Vols had a season-high 19 assists and five blocks.
- Tonight's game was the first meeting against a SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) team.
- For the second straight game the Vols set a season-high for first half points. They scored 38 tonight, bettering the 36 against Xavier 12/11.
- The 16-point halftime lead (38-22) was the largest of the season. The previous high was 12 against Stanford.
- The 26-point victory margin was also the largest of the season. The previous high was 12 against Stanford (69-57).