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What Rick Barnes said after Tennessee beat Texas A&M on Saturday

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The 24th ranked Tennessee Volunteers took care of business against a dangerous Texas A&M team last night in Knoxville. Tennessee won without a big contribution from Grant Williams. That’s a big step for this group as several others stepped up to the plate. Head coach Rick Barnes was pleased with his team’s effort, but he still sees room to grow, of course.

Here are the highlights from his press conference.

  • “From start to finish today, Kyle Alexander was terrific.” (Finished with 14/6)
  • “We’ve won games with different guys scoring. Those guys (Grant/Admiral) are going to have nights where they’re not scoring.
  • “I told Jalen (Johnson) last night in front of the whole team. You’re going to play tomorrow. He’s earned that in practice. He’s done it by just listening to what we need him to do. I thought he was really locked in.” (Finished with 1 rebound and 2 assists)
  • “I thought Jordan Bone did some really good things defensively. When he starts getting tired, he’s got to get himself out. Nobody on the team does it better than Jordan Bowden. He pushes himself to the max, but he gives us a heads up. Once Bone learns that he’ll be a more effective player.”
  • On Grant’s struggles. “You’ve got to give them credit. They’re big guys. They’re long. He missed some shots at the rim, but those aren’t easy shots. They did a good job of playing post defense. He wasn’t getting the deep post up that he wanted.”
  • “There’s too much basketball to be played to think that we’ve got it figured out, because we really don’t yet.”
  • “I do think guys are starting to figure out how we play, who we are and what we do. But there are still some other things that we have to do to get better.”

Tennessee has a trip to Missouri up next on Wednesday night. That means a game against their former coach, Cuonzo Martin. The game can be seen on SEC Network at 9 PM eastern.