University of Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl
On his team???s first half performance:
???We had a great effort.?? What we weren???t able to do is go from having such tremendous effort defensively.?? We turned the ball over twelve times.?? Then we would play with that reckless abandonment on defense, but on offense we couldn???t calm down. We continued to play recklessly offensively, but you have learn to go from playing that way on defense.?? When we have the ball we have to go fast without hurrying.???
On his halftime message:
???Keep the effort and intensity because I liked it. Slow down offensively and of course we had the offense in front of our bench during the second half. We shoot 69 or 75 percent of three pointers and make all of the free throws when it counts.???
University of Tennessee Player Quotes
???Our shooters Chris (Lofton) and JuJuan (Smith) knocked down some big shots for us, but it took everybody to win. Not just us three. It was a team effort.???
???Here lately we???ve been trying to close our game down. In the second half they were getting runs on us, and we just tried to clear it out and come out with a victory. They gave us all they had.???
???It???s been a long time since we???ve won a lot of away games. We hadn???t won here in 16 years. We just try to approach every game like it???s a home game. We know it???s going to be tough for us because we???re on the road.???
???We couldn???t let the game slip away. It???s real tough to get big games on the road. Their fans were behind them like a sixth man. You???ve got to take their hat off to them. They were scrappy, they played hard, and they just came out hard. We just came out and fought with them.???
???I was at the right spot at the right time when my teammates were giving me the ball, and I made the big shots. We needed that.???
?????We had a great chance to make history here tonight. I just kept preaching that in the huddle. I think we did that tonight.???
University of Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried:
???They are an excellent team, very athletic. I think with JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton you???ve got two guys that about break your back by the way that they shoot.?? I am extremely proud of our team. We are disappointed obviously, but they played hard. They absolutely played their hearts out tonight. I thought the first minute or two of the second half hurt us because we had a couple of turnovers, missed a couple of shots and fouled them on a three point play. Our guys battled with them hard and I have got nothing but praise for them as far as our effort goes. We hurt ourselves at times by turning the ball over too often, but I think overall our guys played extremely well.???
University of Alabama Player Quotes
???It was very difficult to stop them.?? Our defense was working for us for a while.?? Towards the end JaJaun Smith and Chris Lofton just started knocking down threes.?? We were contesting their shots and they were knocking them down and making big shots for their team.?? We played our defense very well.?? They were just knocking down shots.???
???I think it is really working for us with four guards out there.?? Our guys are just able to go out there and play ball.?? Just have fun together.?? With Richard out there and the other four guards we able play together on defense, with more intensity on defense.?? We played hard this game.?? Our defense looked like it played pretty well to me.?? We just couldn???t bring it out.???
On handling Tennessee???s pressure
???I wanted to do that for my teammates.?? Whatever they ask me to do I try to do.?? As long as they are behind me I???m able to do my job.?? Tennessee is a very aggressive team.?? It was a lot of pressure.?? We have a lot of great guards on our team that can help bring the ball down the court.???
???I felt like the pace was in our advantage for the majority of the game.?? We had a little short flurry in the beginning of the second half when they were able to hit a lot of shots and get quick layups.?? Knock down free-throws and they were able to get up by 10.?? That was probably the difference in the ball game.?? We were able to get it back down to two by playing the game that we wanted to play but that???s why Tennessee is a good basketball team.?? They were able to flex their muscle right at the end.??
???My teammates made plays for me and they were able to get me open.?? I was able to make shots.?? That???s it.?? It was just being aggressive on the offensive end.?? I just feel like my teammates made great plays for me and got me open and I was able to score.???