Morris led the Cats with 17 points. Crawford added 15. Freshman Perry Stevenson came off the bench and dropped in a career-high 14 points on 7-7- field goal shooting. ``He's able to get use of his size when he jumps up that high,'' center Jared Carter said of Stevenson. ``He's underweight for a post player, but that will come.''
"I thought he did a great job tonight, playing 16 minutes," said coach Tubby Smith, "We started Sheray [Thomas] because he is more physical and a very heady player. Perry was much more effective tonight than he was in Maui, but that could have been because we played three games in a very short period of time. I was impressed with the way he played around the basket."
Smith stressed defense all week, he acknowledged the offense may have struggled a little as a result. The Wildcats failed to connect on their first nine shots and didn't hit a field goal until six minutes into the game. "We started the game excellent on defense, but we couldn't get it going on offense," said Crawford, "We did pick it up, but we've got to figure out a way to play well on both ends of the floor."
``After we got it moving, everybody was rotating, talking,'' Morris said. ``We had fewer lapses.''
Although the Wildcats shot only 37 percent in the first half, the Cougars were even worse thanks to tremendous pressure from the Wildcats defense. Cremins' club was only 1-of-11 from 3-point range and failed to score for large periods of the game."I thought we did a great job on [Dontaye] Draper," Smith said, "We did a good job of taking the ball out of the trap. I think we did some positive things tonight. The deflections were up for the first time and we did a better job on defensive possessions. I was pleased with our second-half shooting. I thought Bobby [Perry] did a good job, making three shots tonight after he'd struggled in our last few games. Our rebounding was better, but we still gave up too many offensive rebounds (19)."