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WATCH: Rick Barnes Reacts to Tennessee Win Against UT Martin

Rick Barnes
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes spoke to the media following Tuesday night’s win over UT Martin.

The Tennessee Volunteers began their season with a boom on Tuesday night in Knoxville. The deep ball was flying all night as Tennessee took down UT Martin in the season opener by a score of 90-62.

Although, it wasn’t just a good night from three-point range. In fact, it was the best in program history. Tennessee’s 17 made three-pointers set a Thompson-Boling Arena record on Tuesday night for the most three-pointers hit in a game.

On the defensive side of the ball, though, Tennessee was slow to start. Considering the 28-point victory that was opened up in the second half, it was rather surprising that Tennessee was only up by eight points at halftime.

After the game, Tennessee head coach Barnes spoke to the media, primarily about the Vols’ defensive effort. Barnes spoke about several topics throughout the game, including an analysis of Kennedy Chandler and others. But, consistently, Barnes kept going back to the topic of the defense.

“We were anxious, there’s no doubt,” Barnes said after the game. “We were trying to make great plays, reaching, lunging for the ball. Trying to make a play, Josiah (James) actually said that, got driven by and I said, ‘Look, we have to make plays as a team, can’t be one guy going out trying to swipe, and if he misses, putting our team in trouble.’ I thought Josiah did a good job too, he didn’t make a bunch of stops, but he had five steals and four blocks. Until we develop a rim protector, we have to rely on our gaps.”

Tennessee’s offense was four points better in the second half than the first, but defensively, there was a rally as well. After outscoring the Skyhawks by eight in the first half, Tennessee opened up a 20-point advantage in the second half, leading to a 28-point win in the season-opening game.

Below is the full video of Rick Barnes’ press conference on Tuesday night. Additionally, you can also find interviews for Kennedy Chandler, Olivier Nkamhoua, and Santiago Vescovi here.

Tennessee Head Coach Rick Barnes

“We had a plan that we wanted to defend the 3-point line,” Barnes said. “When we say that, we still want to help each other in those gaps and we weren’t doing that. We were over-zealous trying to guard the 3-point line. The tempo they played, we’re going to see that some. We’re going to run. We’re going to try to get out and push tempo. We want to get in a high possession game. We’re going to play against teams that are going to try and slow us down that way by maybe taking a little bit longer on the offensive end. If we’re playing defense the way we should, we should be forcing them into long possessions on our defensive end. You have to give them credit. We knew they would be energized coming in like anybody this time of year, you’re first game of the year.”

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