Afterward, Pearl expressed gratitude on his post-game radio show.
"Unbelievable," he said. "You talk about answering the call. We put out the call and the plea. The Big Orange Tipoff Club had buses. The Big Orange Nation, the students, had buses. People from Western Carolina, suburbs of Georgia, the Chattanooga area and Knoxville.
"Everybody came out and heeded the call. And the good thing was, I think they felt they were a huge part of this win. And they were, because Georgia is a good basketball team. They didn't go away when they were down 18."
Georgia trailed 62-44 midway through the second half, then rallied furiously to pull within two points (67-65) with 4:35 remaining. With UT's fans cheering them on, however, the Vols made a 10-5 spurt that reclaimed the momentum and ultimately sealed the victory.
"I don't think we win this game with about 1500 from the Big Orange Nation," Pearl said.