Tennessee and Arizona took part in a back-and-forth slugfest on Saturday night in Tucson as the Vols fell to the Wildcats by a score of 75-70.
After Tennessee’s four-point victory over Arizona in Knoxville last season, there was plenty of reason to believe that this game would be more than just a regular non-conference matchup between these two Top 10 teams. And, sure enough, that was the case.
From Uros Plavsic’s technical foul in the first minute of the game to the animated conversations after the game, the contest on Saturday night felt personal.
During the postgame celebration on the court, Arizona forward Oumar Ballo appeared to throw up the middle fingers high in the air walking around the court.
Ballo expressing his strong feelings after 40 heated minutes of basketball pic.twitter.com/148LyUV1sv
— TorresOnArizona (@TorresOnArizona) December 18, 2022
More from RTI: Four Quick Takeaways – Tennessee Comes Up Short At Arizona
OUMAR BALLO IS MY KING pic.twitter.com/poWb7sVzzw
— David Blattman (@davidblattman) December 18, 2022
Around the same time as Ballo’s double bird, there were also some words exchanged between the Arizona and Tennessee players near the Vols’ bench.
Some postgame words between Wildcats and Vols.
I’d enjoy a rematch on neutral court, gritty game. pic.twitter.com/JY50HqOG9e
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) December 18, 2022
Zakai Zeigler spoke about the moment after the game, simply referring to the competitive nature taking over after a hard-fought game.
“I’d just say it’s guys being competitive,” Zeigler said. “Nobody wants to lose. Everybody hates to lose. I don’t expect anybody to be in this sport if they’re smiling after a loss. It’s just guys being competitive.”
Tennessee (9-2) will return to the court in Knoxville this upcoming Wednesday to host Austin Peay (6-6) at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN+.