Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tennessee's Barnes Stays on Message; by Phillip Heilman

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tennessee's Barnes Stays on Message; by Phillip Heilman

Article excerpt


SEC Basketball Notebook

Amid the program's longest winning streak in five seasons, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes refuses to change the message to his team.

He also refuses to apologize for it.

"We're not talking about being on a roll; we talk about getting better," Barnes said. "I know people get tired of hearing it, but we're not going to get off that message. That's what we think: Can we get better today? Capitalize every single day."

The Volunteers capitalized on a late mistake Tuesday night to emerge with an important 61-59 victory at Kentucky.

Trailing 58-56 with under a minute to play, the Volunteers let the shot clock tick down before guard Lamonte Turner connected on a 3-pointer with 26 seconds remaining to give his team a one-point lead.

Wildcats coach John Calipari opted to let his team bring the ball up the court quickly rather than call a timeout to set up a play. The result was a steal by Tennessee's Jordan Bowden and a game-sealing dunk by Admiral Schofield.

"I made mistakes at the end and cost them the game," Calipari said, referring to his players. "I don't ever like to [take a timeout] in those situations, but this is a different team. They're just too young to know what's there and if they get in trouble, just call a timeout."

This also appears to be a different Volunteers team, which has now won six straight for the first time since a similar run late in the 2012-13 season.

With seven games remaining, Tennessee is one game back of Auburn for the top spot in the SEC.

"We just try to focus on doing our job," Barnes said. "That's what we harp on. That's what we talk about."

Super Bowl message

With his team on its second two-game losing skid this season, Calipari said he hopes his young players took something from Philadelphia's 41-33 victory over New England in the Super Bowl.

More specifically, he wanted them to pay attention to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, who was named MVP of the game but took a bumpy road to get there.

"He doesn't blame the coaches, he doesn't blame anything," Calipari said of Foles, who started the game because starter Carson Wentz was injured late in the regular season. …

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