CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — North Carolina’s Seth Trimble fouled Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, sending him to the free throw line with a chance to break the record for most points scored by a visitor in the 37 years of the Dean E. Smith Center.
But Knecht never got to attempt the free throws, his left foot landed on a North Carolina defender’s foot. The super senior wing was in clear pain and did not return to the game.
“He stepped on somebody’s foot, turned his ankle,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said postgame. “It looked like he got it pretty good because he’s the kind of guy that, he bounces back. And for him not to get up, he, he got it pretty good. Looked good when I saw the whole thing. He stepped on somebody’s foot and rolled it.”
We’ll get more details later but Barnes didn’t state anything that wasn’t clear. It appeared to be a left ankle injury that could sideline him for a stretch. But, again, time will tell there.
But before Knecht suffered the injury, he turned in one of the best offensive performances in recent Tennessee basketball history.
Knecht totaled 37 points on a remarkably efficient 13-of-17 shooting from the field and four-of-eight from three-point range. The 6-foot-6 wing also assisted on a pair of important three pointers that helped Tennessee in its comeback efforts.
“You gotta guard him after half court,” Tennessee wing Josiah-Jordan James said of Knecht. “He’s a three-level scorer and we tried to get (Armando) Bacot caught up in ball screens. We didn’t think that they could guard us out of those ball screens. Dalton’s just a dynamic player. He made great shots, but he also made great reads, hitting Jonas (Aidoo) on the short roll, hitting Cade (Phillips) on the short roll, and we were able to find open shots because of that.”
It was a memorable and historic performance from Knecht which was minimized by the loss and his injury. Tennessee has five days off before returning to the court next Tuesday against George Mason.