Dec. 29, 2010
UT-UT-Martin Post-Game Quotes
UT Head Coach Bruce Pearl
"We can draw some comparisons to this game and the one (exhibition loss) against Indianapolis. I hate to bring it up. But unfortunately, I have to bring it up. That team was so small and oversized. We weren't able to take over at the beginning of the game and establish ourselves on the inside, all of a sudden we struggled, took the shot clock down and took some shots. The difference in this game was that in the second half they shot 26 percent and 23 percent from 3-point range and we didn't send them to the foul line a gazillion, bagillion times. So I think from that standpoint, we didn't panic. Defensively, we shut them down.
"They play a 3-2 zone. We haven't done anything against a 3-2 zone until really yesterday. We had not seen it once this year. Tobias (Harris) didn't even go against it. The stuff we put in to go against the 3-2 zone, we did it in walk-through yesterday, one day of practice. So I think that was a bit of a factor.
"I'll take responsibility for the rotations being what they are. I think the biggest factor for me is we are consistently inconsistent. If you're asking the head coach who he wants to have out there, the head coach doesn't know who he wants out there. That's a scary thing to be in January and not really know. You take the five position, for example. We have three good players, Brian (Williams), John (Fields) and Kenny (Hall) who all do different things. One of the challenges we had going against that zone tonight and the reason I played Kenny a little more tonight is because Kenny is our best scoring inside player. And we needed some offense on the inside. We tried to get the ball inside to Tobias as best as we could. We probably need to do a better job of getting the ball inside to Jeronne (Maymon) when he gets in there. A lot of it has to do with execution. Even Jeronne, I find myself calling the play and then teaching it to him while I'm calling the play. That's hard.
"Tennessee-Martin did a good job. The coaches did a terrific job because they were able to control tempo. One of the things about our system has been in the past we pressed them into submission, turned the ball over, and overwhelmed them with our depth and with our speed, quickness and athleticism. This team was too big to press. You try to press that team and we don't win.
"Defensively, late in the game, I played Steven Pearl at the five just because we wanted to chase down loose balls, switch ball screens. There was no reason to have a center out there for defensive stops. Offensively, I wanted a center in there so they could get in there and score. Unfortunately, John Fields got four points and Kenny Hall got four points.
"I'm not going to be too terribly negative. In spite of the fact that we're not playing great, we're trying to bring more positive energy to the guys and try to give them, as best I can, more confidence in what I think they can do well."
UT-Martin Head Coach Jason James
"We battled tonight. There was a big difference between Monday night (against Ohio State) and tonight. We were a lot more patient. We were screening bodies, we made a bunch of shots, which always helps, but we just slowed down in the first half and played at our pace and that was very, very beneficial to us."
On playing a slowdown tempo game tonight:
"I think we can play that way. I think we can be a good team playing up and down, but I think we're the best team when we're under control. That doesn't mean that we don't try and get some layups or get up the floor early in the shot clock, but better late in the shot clock."
On the performance of reserve Clayton Reuben:
"He came out ready to go. It was good to see him back. He was making shots, had a little pep in his step on the offensive end which I think carried over to his defensive game. He had a couple of big steals in the first half and hit a couple of big shots down the stretch in the second half."
On the performance of Tennessee down the stretch:
"They just executed. I was very impressed with the way they slowed themselves down when we were ahead. They just methodically got back in the game. Then, when they got ahead, they didn't rush, they just executed and got good shots. When you get good shots and you're a good team, you're probably going to win the game."