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What Tennessee AHC Justin Gainey Said After The Vols’ Undefeated Foreign Tour

Justin Gainey
Tennessee AHC Justin Gainey. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

Tennessee basketball completed its three exhibition games in Italy Monday with a victory over Italian club team Stella Azzurra.

The Vols defeated the professional team 97-51 while winning two games against the Lithuanian U21 national team— 97-57, 116-90.

Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht led Tennessee with 16.3 points per game but it was a balanced scoring effort from the Vols during the three victories.

Tennessee associate head coach Justin Gainey served as the Vols’ active head coach during the three games while Rick Barnes watched for the sideline. Here’s everything Gainey had to say following Tennessee’s victory over Stella Azzurra.

More From RTI: Complete Stats From Tennessee Basketball’s Three Exhibition Wins

On Monday’s win over Stella Azzurra

“The biggest thing for us today was just finishing. I thought we had great practices leading up to this. I thought we got better in every game. Obviously we’re not a finished product, but the motto for tonight was just finish. Let’s put a cap on a really good spring and summer. So, I thought the guys came out and did that. They competed early. I thought the defensive intensity was there. They were very disruptive. Offensively, I thought we did a great job of sharing the ball, finding the hot hand and getting guys open looks. All in all I was pleased with our effort tonight.”

On Jordan Gainey’s performance against Stella Azzurra

“He was really active on the ball at the point of attack using his length, getting his hands on balls, deflections, couple of steals. That’s what we need from that position — is at the point of attack you have to be pesky, you have to be disruptive. I thought he came in and did a good job with that.”

On Dalton Knecht’s team-high 16 points

“Dalton, every time the ball leaves his hand, it feels like it’s going in. When he gets good, open looks like he’s been getting, you feel good about it going in. He’s been doing a great job of finding those open spots and I think his teammates have been doing a great job of finding him and hitting him on time, on target.”

On Tobe Awaka’s performance over the three exhibition games

“Tobe, his presence on the backboards, you feel it. His physicality, you feel it. That’s what he brings. And the great thing about Tobe is he knows who he is. He embraces it and every game he’s going to bring that. There’s no days that I worry about, ‘Man, is he going to have the effort? Is he going to bring the motor? That’s what he does every day. With that effort in practice and in games, it’s just natural for him. It’s who he is. Very pleased with his efficiency. Even more happier about his free throw efficiency as we’ve come down these last two games. Tobe continues to take steps.”

On if he point out his 3-0 record and margin of victories to Rick Barnes

“Yeah, first off, I want to thank Coach Barnes for giving me the opportunity to step in and coach this team. I appreciate the guys allowing me to coach them. My great staff — GP (Gregg Polinsky), Coach Lentz, Coach (Rod) Clark. Those guys do a great job and yeah, 3-0 is huge. It’s huge. Just add it to the resume.”

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