Dec. 14, 2010
UT-Oakland Post-Game Quotes
UT Head Coach Bruce Pearl
"This was a combination of running into a good basketball team and not being able to handle success despite our best efforts to get our team excited about playing. One of the challenges of playing such a challenging schedule night in and night out is what you put your team through. That is clearly something I could have assessed better the last couple of days. I think we will learn from it.
"Give credit to them. They made tough shots. They had guys shooting the 3 ball at a high percentage and shot it extremely well. We panicked some by fouling. We talked about fouling. We did a better job of not turning the ball over tonight, which is where I think we need to improve on.
"We did a very poor job of guarding tonight. Our identity did not serve us well. This is one of the worst performances we've had from our bench in a long time. Our bench got outplayed, and I just did not anticipate that.
"Actually, I'll defend Scotty (Hopson). Scotty only made one basket, but he did not get a ton of looks. They did a good job on him, and I didn't do a good job of getting him more looks. I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that he wasn't ready or excited to play; Scotty has practiced tremendously this week. He's really been focused. I know he's disappointed because he didn't play well, and he's an easy target. But he was really focused.
On how Oakland coach Greg Kampe is familiar with Pearl's system ...
"Kampe and I have known each other for a long time. He does a great job. I don't understand how we got outplayed in the second half. I haven't quite figured that out. If I knew, I would have made some better adjustments. They're familiar with us, but we play a lot differently now than when I was at Southern Indiana so I don't know if that was a big advantage. They've knocked on the door and knocked on the door and tonight they got it done."
On the second half ...
"I didn't think we had enough energy. If you looked at Melvin Goins and Brian Williams, those two guys had great energy. Those two guys did extremely well on both ends of the floor. But we did not have enough guys who brought that kind of energy. Melvin was pushed into the spotlight. He has four steals. Brian has two steals and a block. Those are the only two guys who had steals on the whole team. Those guys brought energy. Most everybody else kind of paced themselves a little bit."
On Keith Benson scoring 20 in the first half but just six in the second half ...
"Larry Wright stepped up and I think something happened. He played 40 minutes and made some tough shots. It is hard to explain that Benson had just six in the second half and they played better. They scored 50 in the second half. They drove by our guards except for Melvin with too much consistency. Our transition defense was bad. Offensively, our execution was very poor. We made the choice to go Sunday hard and take Monday off. I don't know if I'll do that again."
Oakland Head Coach Greg Kampe
"Obviously, we're really excited. We've come so close. I've told them over and over, `You're as good as all these teams, but we just don't believe we are.' We went down and got it back to two. I thought they were really good in the first half, and I thought we had tired legs from Saturday. We got after them a little about our defense at halftime. They defended the second half and rebounded, but we made big plays."
"The ball bounced our way. There were a couple things that happened. There was a scrum underneath that we picked up and laid it in. When you play a team like Tennessee on their floor, you've got to get lucky too. I'm not going to sit here and say that we weren't.
"I really told them that you just have to believe in yourself. We're as good as these teams. We missed free throws down the stretch against Michigan State, but we didn't today. That's why we won. I have a very good team because I've got very good players. Now that they believe they can do this, maybe good things can happen."
Playing ranked teams and putting together a win:
"We're not scared of anybody. We weren't intimidated by the No. 7 team in the country because we had just played Michigan State, and we should have won that game. We had just played Illinois, and we could have won that game. I think those are big and can help us.
"Did I expect us to come in here and win? I'm not going to sit here and say that, but I knew we were going to compete. I told my staff before the game, `We look tired and I'd take a five-point loss and get out of here right now.' That means we would have played with them, but I'd rather have this."