- "Mixed bag" seems to be the general consensus about the Vols' 73-67 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks last night. Bruce Pearl was leading the charge of balancing compliments and criticism, calling out Cam Tatum for going 1-6 from the free throw line ("That's OK for a freshman. That's not OK for Cam.") and turning right around and praising him for doing a "nice job of redeeming himself" defensively. He loved Scotty Hopson "attacking the rim," but bemoaned the fact that neither Hopson nor Tobias Harris had any assists. The balance theme trickled down to the players, too, as Melvin Goins, who had more assists in the first half (4) than he had in the prior three games combined, said, "It felt good, but we have a lot of work to do." Yes on both counts. Good.
- Hopson himself, though, was so stoked after not one, not two, but three Sport Center highlight dunks and an excellent all-around game that he came out of character a bit and responded to hearing Pearl's complaint about his lack of assists by smiling and saying, "Hey, I'm a two. My job is to score." (duplicate link). And he really enjoyed doing it, too, especially his two-handed throw down:
"The first one, when I jumped over the guy, that was nice," Hopson said. "But that two-hand one, I liked that one. I liked the two-hand one. I threw that one down with authority. That was tough. Yeah, I liked the two-hand.
"I’ve already got some posters up right now. But, yeah, if they come out, I’ll definitely get them.
"Print ‘em up, I’ll put ‘em on the wall."
- You can find highlights of the game here. Here's Pearl's post-game presser: