Tennessee Vols morning report: Rick Barnes talks win, Kellie Harper talks loss

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Tennessee Volunteers fans cheer during the first half of the game against the Indiana State Sycamores at Neyland Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

It was a busy weekend again across the board for the Tennessee Vols, and with baseball and softball heating up, things are only about to get busier. Former Vols in football made huge news this weekend with three in the Senior Bowl, which we wrote about here, and then Alvin Kamara in the Pro Bowl followed by him getting arrested later in the night.

As for things happening at UT, our morning update on Rocky Top leads with continuing coverage of this past weekend’s basketball games. We’ve got postgame press conferences to bring you on both sides, with the men’s basketball team winning and the women’s basketball team losing.

Beyond basketball, though, men’s and women’s tennis both had events over the weekend, as did track and field. We’ll recap those as well, and it’ll become pretty clear that in a competitive sense, it just wasn’t a great weekend for UT. Let’s start with basketball, though.

Rick Barnes, players talk South Carolina win – Rob Lewis, VolQuest

Coming off an 81-57 win at the South Carolina Gamecocks, the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team improved to 16-6 and 7-3 in the SEC. Rick Barnes Zakai Zeigler and Josiah-Jordan James spoke after the game. Barnes noted that Olivier Nkamhoua, who left the game, has an ankle injury. He also discussed going small in the rotation. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“All year, that has been a good lineup for us, it really has been. I thought Josiah(-Jordan James) did a great job setting the tone for us both on the offensive end and defensive end at the very start. You go back and look at the first half, it was played the way we expected it to be played. It was going that same way in the second half. Zakai (Zeigler) hit those two big threes.”"

Zeigler, who had three steals and was second on the team in scoring with 18 points despite coming off the bench. At one point in the second half, he scored 10 straight points, and in the middle of that, he ran to throw up in the trash can before coming back to hit more three-pointers, which he hit four of on the day. Here’s how he described the situation.

"“First half, I kind of felt like my stomach was hurting. This had happened in practice too, this week, and I told my teammate, I said, ‘It’s coming up. I’m about to throw up. I don’t know when, but I’m just going to keep drinking water,’ and it almost came up. I had the towel waiting, and it didn’t come, so I was like, ‘alright, I just need some more water.’ I drank it, and it just spit out.”"

As for the starters, James led the team in scoring with 20 points while addind three steals and three blocks. Kennedy Chandler had 11 points, 10 assists and three steals. Santiago Vescovi had 13 points. Nkamhoua had seven points and two blocks before leaving. This is what James said about adding more offense to his game after being a defensive specialist for so long.

"“I think I’ve been a little bit more aggressive, especially to start the game the last couple games. Besides that it’s just that my shots have thankfully been falling.”"

Kellie Harper talks UConn loss – Maria M. Cornelius, GoVols247

Losing 75-56 to the UConn Huskies on the road marked the Tennessee Lady Vols’ second straight blowout loss and third straight loss overall as they fell to 19-4 and remain 8-2 in SEC play. After the game, Kellie Harper spoke about what went wrong. Here’s a bit of what she said.

"“Obviously we wanted to come in and compete better than we were able to do. I think obviously, you pick up a stat sheet, and you’re shooting 28 percent from the field, it’s not going to keep you in the game with Connecticut, and when your defense can hang tough, it’s just not tough enough.”"

Men’s tennis falls at Ohio State – UTSports

On Friday, the No. 1 ranked Tennessee Vols mens’ tennis team suffered its first loss of the year. UT fell 4-0 on the road to the No. 5 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

"The Buckeyes claimed a 1-0 advantage after winning the doubles point, before winning three first-set tiebreaks en route to taking the match. The Vols (6-1), dropped doubles matches on courts two and three, ahead of singles action. In singles, the Buckeyes (6-0) won on courts three and four, before clinching the match on court two."

Women’s tennis falls to N.C. State – UTSports

Less than a week after losing to the Ohio State Buckeyes themselves, the No. 21 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols tennis team dropped their second straight match. This time, they lost 5-2 at home to the No. 6 ranked N.C. State Wolfpack.

"The Lady Volunteers (3-2) battled to two singles wins. Eleonora Molinaro took care of business on court 6, downing Amelia Rajecki, 6-3, 6-1, for the first singles victory of the day on all courts. Elza Tomase picked up the second Big orange win. After splitting the first two sets, 6-3, 2-6, Tomase, already leading by a break, found another for the winner against Nell Miller. She took the taking the final stanza, 6-3."

Track and Field wraps up multi-weekend event – Zach Ball, UT Daily Beacon

The Tennessee Vols track and field program had a split weekend, sending some athletes to the Meyo Invitational hosted by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and others to the Doc Hale Elite Meet hosted by the Virginia Tech Hokies. As a program overall, they had 12 personal records set.

"Tennessee will split the team next weekend as it travels to Nashville for the Music City Invitational and Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the Tyson Invite. Both meets run Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11 and 12."