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WATCH: Tennessee HC Rick Barnes, Players React to Maui Invitational Opening Win Over Syracuse

Rick Barnes
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

No. 7 Tennessee is moving on to the second round of the 2023 Maui Invitational Tournament after a 17-point win over Syracuse on Monday in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Tennessee defeated Syracuse by a score of 73-56 after a strong offensive performance from Dalton Knecht (17 points) and a 12-0 run in the final three minutes to close out the Orange.

Both Jonas Aidoo and Josiah-Jordan James had a double-double in Monday’s contest. Aidoo found 14 points and 11 rebounds while James racked up 15 points and 12 rebounds during the game.

Tennessee led Syracuse by five points at halftime and then outlasted the Orange in the final 20 minutes, outscoring Syracuse 43-31 over that span of time.

Vols head coach Rick Barnes met with the media after the game to discuss his reaction to the win. Barnes spoke about Knecht’s offensive ability, what James and Aidoo were able to give Tennessee on Monday, the challenge that Syracuse provided, how the Vols can improve between games, and much more.

“Really tough hard-fought game,” Barnes said on Monday. “I’m really, really proud of our older group at the end when we had some different situations. Turned it over in ways that we normally shouldn’t. But I thought our older guys, guys that had been in a lot of big games. Josiah was terrific today, rebounding. He and Jonas came up big on the glass. But our older guys defensively were locked in, did a lot of really good things for us. I think we know we can be better on the offense, but it’s the way I thought we kept our composure and through some tough situations for us.”

In addition to Barnes, Tennessee also had Jonas Aidoo and Josiah-Jordan James speak with the media after the game.

“I would say Coach (Barnes) preaches rebounding the ball,” Aidoo said after the game. “That’s the main thing. If we rebound the ball, we’re pretty much gonna win the game, so we just gotta be aggressive all the time, offensively and defensively.”

More from RTI: Tennessee Forward Exits Win Over Syracuse With Ankle Injury

Tennessee Postgame Takeaways: Tennessee Basketball Survives, Knocks Off Syracuse

Check out all of the Tennessee postgame interviews below:

Tennessee Postgame

Syracuse Postgame

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