NCAAM: Kentucky Primed for Tourney
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes continued his domination over rival Florida Wednesday night as the Vols’ overcame a double-digit first half deficit to beat Florida, 78-71.
The win is Tennessee’s third straight in the rivalry and moves Barnes’ to 8-2 against Florida in his time in Knoxville.
Despite the win, things didn’t look promising for Tennessee early. Florida jumped to to a 23-10 lead thanks to a 15-0 run in which the Vols didn’t take a single shot.
“We are too many games into the season for our guards to turn it over the way that they do,” Barnes said. “It is just not respecting the game, not respecting the ball, and not respectingtheir teammates. I don’t know if I have ever coached a game in my career where we go five minutes without taking a shot. I am sitting there thinking, ‘What in the world is going here.’ But I think you have to give Florida credit for it.”
The Vols’ offense got going eventually thanks to strong play from the Tennessee backcourt. Guards Santiago Vescovi, Kennedy Chandler and Zakai Zeigler combined for 51 of the Vols’ 78 points.
The seventh-year head coach was in a joking mood after the win, throwing some playful jabs at Florida head coach Mike White over the way White used a review during the game.
“Mike White made one of the smartest moves I’ve ever seen in my life as a coach, they gave him the ball and he told him to check it,” Barnes said. “That’s a good one, got a free timeout. Drew up agreat play and got a 3-point play. Never seen that done in my life, that’s a really smartbasketball play.”
The Tennessee coach — who is on the NCAA rules committee — joked that the committee would be taking a look at the loophole this offseason.
Barnes also discussed the strong second half of John Fulkerson, Justin Powell’s improving defense and more postgame.