Tennessee’s long winning streak over Vanderbilt came to a close at 11 games Wednesday as the Commodores’ knocked off the Vols, 66-65, at Memorial Gymnasium.
The Vols led by two and had possession with 10 seconds left before letting the game get away in the closing seconds.
Here’s everything Rick Barnes said following the Vols’ second loss in three games.
More From RTI: Three Quick Takeaways On Tennessee’s Loss Against Vanderbilt
On what happened to Tennessee late in the game
“Well, the one thing we said, we can’t give up a 3-point shot. We said we felt like they would either try to go inside to Liam (Robbins), or they would get it downhill. We said we’ve got to make it a tough shot at the rim. But under no circumstances can we give up a 3-point shot. And we did. And they made it, so give them credit for it.”
On if Julian Phillips should have taken the open dunk late
“Come on, he’s got to do that. I told him you don’t turn down a 100-percent shot. I mean, you’ve got to do that. He’ll learn from it. But he’s got to do that. With 18 seconds, they’ve got five fouls they’ve got to give, they’re going to have to foul. So we’ve got to go. When you get a wide-open dunk, you’ve got to give it.”
On what happened on the final defensive possession
“It was a defensive breakdown.”
On what Tennessee’s defensive problems were defending the three-point line
“They made some shots. They’re capable of doing that. They obviously wanted to play a possession game. Every time down the floor they were eating into the (shot) clock, executing. Jerry’s teams do a great job of doing that. They made some shots. We had some unforced, I think, silly turnovers that we can’t have with guys that have played a lot of minutes for us. That, when we get a chance to get some separation, we just can’t have some of the turnovers that we had. Again, this time of year, you expect to be in possession games like this. You have to execute. We got the out-of-bounds play we wanted and didn’t dunk it. Got it again and missed the one-and-one. And the one thing that you can’t do, we did. You just can’t do it.”
On Josiah-Jordan James injury
“He sprained his ankle.”
On his assessment of Zakai Zeigler and Josiah-Jordan James
“‘Z’ got in some foul trouble early. I thought that Tyreke (Key) gave up good minutes. I thought Tobe (Awaka) is just continuing to grow up in front of us. He’s so competitive. He needs to kick it out a little bit, but we were obviously trying to put some fouls on Liam. I think, again, we can be better. Those guys fought there at the end. A game like that, every possession matters. Like I said earlier in the game, just some plays. You can’t take anything away from Vanderbilt. They kept fighting back in it. We’d get a lead, they’d get a lead, kept fighting back. It was a hard-played college basketball game. It came down to one possession and they executed on the offensive end. We did not execute on the defensive end.”
On what Tyreke Key did well offensively
“Again, I thought he got aggressive and started doing some of the things that you guys know we need him to do. He did it. We need that from him.”
On the confidence level offensively
“What did we have? I haven’t looked at the stats. Forty-six (percent). We are not going to make every shot, but we made enough shots if we would have dunked the ball and not given up the three, we would could (win) it. We didn’t. That is it. They got down to one-possession in a game like and we didn’t execute on the defensive end on the backside the way we talked about. It cost us the game.”
On Tobe Awaka being the first one off the bench
“What he has been doing in practice and the way he has been going at it, getting better at guarding the perimeter. He will get out there and move his feet is what it really gets down to.”
On the postgame message to the team
“I know they’re frustrated and disappointed. We have to get smarter. We do. We have enough experience out there. You can look at Julian not dunking the ball. I am not sure what was going through his head there. We told him, we had five — I don’t think he will ever make that mistake again. He is the guy out there that hasn’t played a lot of minutes. Every one else has played. It comes down to where sometimes you have to come down and get a basket. They did and they got it. It comes down sometimes to you have to get a stop. We did the one you thing you absolutely can’t do there. It wasn’t a lack of playing hard. It was a lack of understanding the situation and again the last thing we said was we cannot give up a 3-point shot.”