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WATCH: Tennessee, Illinois Basketball Postgame Press Conferences – Barnes, Underwood, Mashack, Knecht

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Tennessee HC Rick Barnes after the Illinois game. Photo via RTI.

No. 17 Tennessee used a strong second-half effort to defeat No. 20 Illinois 86-79 in front of a roaring crowd at Thompson Boling Arena at Food City Center on Saturday afternoon in Knoxville.

Tennessee, down two points to the Fighting Illini at halftime, used a 10-0 run to build a 12-point lead in the second half of play. Illinois fought hard down the stretch but Tennessee was able to keep the strong opponent at arm’s reach until the final whistle blew.

Dalton Knecht continues to be Tennessee’s offensive star with 21 points on the day but it was veteran guard Santiago Vescovi that made a big difference for Rick Barnes’ squad. Vescovi ended the game with 12 points, nine rebounds, and three assists during the contest.

Tennessee had five players reach double-digits in scoring: Knecht 21, Aidoo 14, James 12, Vescovi 12, and Zeigler 11. Tennessee guard Jahmai Mashack came up just short of double-digits with nine points on the floor.

More from RTI: Three Quick Takeaways as Tennessee Outlasts Illinois For Top 20 Win

Tennessee held Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr., one of the premiere scoring guards in the country, to just 11 points from the floor on 5-of-16 shooting. Shannon was able to lock in at the line and made 11 free throws for 22 total points but primarily struggled against Tennessee’s half-court defense.

After the game, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes and Illinois head coach Brad Underwood met with the media to give their reactions to the game. Additionally, Tennessee’s Jahmai Mashack and Dalton Knecht also spoke to the media about the game afterward.

Check out all three postgame interviews from Saturday in Knoxville below:

Tennessee HC Rick Barnes

Illinois HC Brad Underwood

Tennessee Players: Jahmai Mashack and Dalton Knecht

RTI Instant Reaction

Bonus! Tennessee Military Reunion During the Game

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