KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Rick Barnes says he didn’t like how his players celebrated their victory at Florida on Saturday.
As soon as the final horn sounded in the third-ranked Volunteers’ 78-67 triumph, all five Tennessee players on the floor performed a “Gator chomp” with their arms in a mock version of a Florida cheer.
“When someone told me that happened, that’s the first thing I addressed after the game,” Barnes said Monday. “I don’t like it simply because I want total focus on the main thing. I think when those things happen, it’s going to be talked about.”
Video of Tennessee’s postgame celebration circulated on social media late Saturday night.
“I thought it was kind of low, but whatever,” Florida’s Kevarrius Hayes said after the game.
Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield said the Vols performed the Gator chomp in response to what he termed as “disrespectful” and “inhumane” comments from Florida fans.
“It was one of those things where it just kept building up over the game,” Schofield said. “Their fans were chirping a lot, even behind the bench.”
Barnes said Monday that he still would like his players to refrain from these types of postgame outbursts.
“I also understand that I’m not out there an hour before the game with the student body,” Barnes said. “I’m sure there are some things that are being said, but we tell our guys we need them to control their emotions throughout the game. I think they did that. Sometimes when the game’s over like that, you let it out.
“It happens, but do I like that? When I was a kid, I probably would have, but I’m not a kid anymore. As a coach, I’m older now. I just want to play the game. I want our guys to learn from it.”
Tennessee (14-1, 3-0 SEC) carries a 10-game winning streak into a home game Tuesday with Arkansas (10-5, 1-2).
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