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Everything Rick Barnes Said After Tennessee Defeated Georgia Southern

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee basketball capped off its three-game home stand with its third straight win on Tuesday night by defeating Georgia Southern 74-56.

The Vols played well in the first half and jumped out to a 28-point lead before playing a bad second half that saw Georgia Southern outscore Tennessee by 10 points.

Following the win, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes discussed Jonas Aidoo’s big performance, the Vols’ poor second half performance and more.

More From RTI: Three Quick Takeaways From Tennessee’s Win Over Georgia Southern

On his least favorite part of the second half

“The play of the older players. We talked about it: When you play games like this and I have always believed in being very transparent and honest — when you take Jonas (Aidoo), who by the way I thought played a terrific basketball game — really happy with our young guys. We talked about our guys being ready to play and they haven’t played a lot. You go back, i think the starters were 4-for-23. I think they had 11 of the 19 turnovers. The way they came out and started the second half, honestly, it is extremely disappointing. They should have come out the same way we started the game. We talked about it, obviously. We talked about it is natural and a letdown can be. It goes back to being consistent, disciplined and mental toughness and all that. We didn’t get it done in the second half. We talked from the beginning about these guys being the kind of leaders we want them to be. It goes back to consistency. We have to know what we are going to get from those older guys for 40 minutes not just for 20 minutes.”

On Josiah-Jordan James sitting for the game’s final 14 minutes

“He, Santi (Vescovi), they have been here longer than anybody. Those are the two guys I really count on. Talk to them about it. They weren’t ready. I would tell you. I have told you this before. I think those minutes are precious. i am telling you, I don’t care who it is. If they are going to be out there, they are going to appreciate them and play. From the get-go in the second half, it just wasn’t good basketball. Again, my biggest disappointment was we were wanting to get it stretched out to where we could get those younger guys on the floor as a group because they had done a good job I thought playing with the older guys in the first half. Getting them out there as a group and trying to get them an extended run to know how hard it is for them to play as hard as we expect them to play for long periods of time. It is really part of team-building. I let them know you appreciate how hard those guys play. It didn’t happen. It caused, again, where our older guys just didn’t do what we expect them to do night in and night out.”

On Jonas Aidoo’s strong stretch continuing

“It goes to consistency. Again, getting the ball there. He is going to have to — we keep talking about his space on the court, where he can get it and again the most he goes, the more attention he is going to get. He is going to have to work harder and harder to get his space on the court. Some of it, he is going to have to go get it. A couple of those passes, I am not sure why he ore Tobe (Awaka) didn’t catch. There is no doubt that perimeter guys are doing a better job of looking for him. He was really good tonight. Now, it is about consistency. Can we get it form him? Maybe not 29 (but) 11 rebounds we need. That, if we can get somewhere in that area every night — a double-double from him — we would be there. Tonight, we should have had a bunch of guys with double-digit rebounds. They took 70 shots and only made 19 of them. We should have had a lot more guys with more rebounds tonight. He was really good tonight. And now it’s about consistency. Can we get it from him? Maybe not 29 (points), but the 11 rebounds we need. And that if we can just somewhere in that area every night, a double-double from him, we would, he would be there. Tonight we should’ve had a bunch of guys double-digit rebounds. They took 70 shots and only made, what is it, 19? Yeah, we should’ve had a lot more guys with more rebounds tonight.”

On how disappointed he is to be talking about the lack of consistency so much though 10 games this season 

“It is disappointing. It is. I mean, at this time with as many games as our older guys have played, it is disappointing. It is because we believe in them. We have confidence, but they’ve got to do it. And we go to know every night. And again, it is not about making shots. It’s about playing good basketball. And defensively, I mean, we were terrible at the start of the second half. And just, we really did the one thing I think is a major flaw with teams that are inconsistent. You just don’t respect yourself in terms of coming out and saying this is a chance to get better. Everybody talks about respecting their opponent. I think you’ve got to have great respect for yourself every night. And you do that by the way you handle the game and take care of the game and do what you need to do. And when you don’t do that, it gives back to you what you put into it. I mean, it’s always done that. And I’m just disappointed the younger guys didn’t get a chance out there to play the minutes that we’d like for them to play.”

On if giving up 19 offensive rebounds was an effort issue or something else

“Well, some of them, when guys were looking to score the ball, and that’s what it looked like to me in the second half— quick shots, guys like, ‘well, I’m not gonna play much tonight in the second half, so I’m going to try to get my shots up, or whatever.’ The mindset shifts as opposed to, but what it is, we scored, how many points in the second half? 25. That says we better be a good defensive team. That tells you that because it we’re such a good offensive team, we should’ve scored more than 25 points in the second half. But it’s a mindset and it goes back to consistency. What can be your mindset every night in terms of understanding what I’m supposed to do as an individual player every single night? Like, it doesn’t matter who you play and how you play. Can I get in a groove and do that and then build on it every game. And, again, that’s the disappointing part.”

On how he’d assess the intensity from freshmen Cameron Carr and Freddie Dilione

“Proud of both of them. We knew that we got Cam a quick run because he came out and he was (in a) minute and a half. He said, ‘coach, I think I got to get my second wind.’ But I thought Freddie was good. Freddie did the things tonight we wanted to see. He competed, thought he was locked in. I thought his mindset was terrific. I think it shifted from thinking he’s got to make something happen on the offensive end to making it get going on the defensive end. And, again, it goes back, we had too many breakdowns with  the older guys more so than the younger guys tonight.”

On what the freshmen showed him leading up to the game

“More their mental approach. We talked about what each guy, we talked about all of them the other day about what we’ve got to improve. The coaches often talk about improvement, but you gotta take it deeper than that. And when you talk about improvement, you got to look at each guy and come up with, okay, where’s he right now? What do we need to do to get him better, and then you look at the team? And some of the things that we wrote down about our team, we didn’t do tonight. We missed another, what, a couple wide open layups. We got to be better there and it’s no excuse. I mean, that’s mental toughness. Finish it. We got to finish better but the wide open layups, you got to make them. Again, talking about turnovers, did a really poor job in the second half with that. And, again, just the things that we talked about getting better, we didn’t do that. We regressed in the second half. I forgot your question because I’m thinking about all we talked about last night. Did I answer it?”

Reporter: “Not even at all.”

Barnes: “Will you ask it again? Let’s see if I can answer it.”

Reporter: “What did the young guys do in practice the last couple days…”

Barnes: “That. I thought they prepared mentally. I did. I I thought that they weren’t very good leading up to the Illinois game. And we talked about it and I told them, I said, ‘I told you guys going in, some of you guys I’d already made up my mind before game, you weren’t going to play  strictly based on your preparation and you better understand, you better learn that lesson right now. So what you do over the next day and a half, two days to get ready for this game or decide whether we’re going to play you tonight. And I thought, for the most part, those guys really tried to do that. They locked in. And it’s not just in practice. It’s in the film room. It’s everything that we talked about, whatever it may be. We want to see them execute at a high level and, again, tonight I said they probably did better than the older guys.”

On Jonas Aidoo’s aggressiveness on the offensive end

“Well, it is, and the other guys (starters), what were they? What did I say six-of-23? Is that what it was? Those other starters— he should probably get it more. And, Jonas is not a selfish player. He’s not. I think he’s still, like some of our other guys, are learning— like, I don’t mind when he shoots three. But the one in the second half is not a good decision. We’ve gone four or five possessions without scoring and that’s where we’ve gotta get better knowing, okay, the flow of the game and playing the game. And in the second half, it looked like we were just shooting the ball. We weren’t playing with a purpose. But when Jonas does, when we do what we practice, he’s going have ample opportunities to put up numbers if he will fight for his space and get where he needs to be.”

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One Response

  1. What is going on with the veteran player’s this year. Everything is down with them scoring defense. Is there any jealousy from them and if so how does Barnes handle it.

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