Tennessee head basketball coach Rick Barnes gave credit where credit was due to FAU basketball after they pulled off an upset loss in the Sweet 16, 247Sports writer Ben McKee wrote in a Friday article.
“Congratulations to Florida Atlantic,” Rick Barnes said. “Good basketball team, played well. I thought they made shots at the right time. I thought they came up with some really big offensive rebounds at a time when we really needed to finish our defensive possession. Defensively they played hard.
“Again, I just really congratulate them. Certainly proud of the effort that these guys have given us all year, through tough times with injuries, but when it ends like this, it's always disappointing because we want it all and came up short. But proud of our team, too, for being in this position with a chance to move on. Again, tonight Florida Atlantic, they won, they played hard, and they deserve to move on.”
FAU earned a 62-55 victory over Tennessee on Thursday. Two Volunteers, guard Josiah-Jordan James and forward Jonas Aidoo, scored 10 points each. Aidoo led the team with seven rebounds off the bench.
Tennessee basketball, who defeated the Duke Blue Devils in the Round of 32, allowed an 18-2 run in the second half, a point Rick Barnes hit upon during his postgame press conference.
“Well, I thought, one, in the first half they had some shots; we dodged that,” Rick Barnes said. “But when they started scoring, our offense wasn't very good.
“We gave up too many drives. And then along with that, offensive rebounds where we let them get downhill, a couple situations where those — we did a better job in the second half staying down on shot fakes.
Florida Atlantic will face the Kansas State Wildcats in the Elite Eight at 6:09 p.m. EDT on Saturday in Madison Square Garden. The game will be broadcasted on TBS.