Tennessee forward Jeronne Maymon readily admitted after Saturday's 65-62 loss to the Cats that Tennessee's game plan was to play as rough as possible, especially against freshman center Anthony Davis and sophomore Terrence Jones.
"Most definitely that is what we wanted to do. We know we are a physical team and most teams like Kentucky put on a persona like they are tough and physical, but most teams aren't. We just went out there and tried to hit them in the mouth," Maymon said.
He could tell it worked, too.
"A lot of times they didn't want to touch the ball. They wanted to pass it out. They are players. Stuff happens, but I don't think Jones liked it much at all," Maymon said.
Tennessee even used Jarnell Stokes, a December high school graduate playing in his first game, to knock around the team that he considered joining before picking the home-state Volunteers.
"He moved them out with his hips and body. He helped us get more physical," Maymon, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds, said. "We already knew we could play with them or anybody in NCAA basketball. We weren't scared to play Kentucky. We knew they couldn't take us out of what we do, but sometimes we take ourselves out. Jarnell just helped us be even tougher on them."
Maymon says even Davis' length was not that big an issue like other teams have insisted it had been against the nation's top shot blocker. "His length not surprise me. I playing against taller guys and I am good at my using body to get people like him in foul trouble. But he's a good shot blocker. He got my first shot and then I did some other things so that wouldn't happen. Mainly, you just have to be physical against him and Jones and not back down," Maymon said.