The Tennessee Vols advanced to the Sweet 16 after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 83-77 in overtime on Sunday.
But the win was far from pretty. The Volunteers led by 19 at the half, but they were outscored 43-22 in the second half, before pulling away in overtime.
A major storyline late in the game was Rick Barnes’ decision to leave guard Admiral Schofield on the bench for Tennessee’s final possession in regulation (and in overtime).
Barnes was crucified on social media for the decision to bench Schofield.
I’ve defended Rick Barnes all year, but win or lose, there better be a DAMN good explanation for not having Admiral Schofield on the floor for that final possession. What is he doing??
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) March 24, 2019
After the game, however, it was revealed that the decision to sit Schofield was actually Schofield’s choice. The senior guard felt Kyle Alexander was a better defensive matchup for the Vols.
Jordan Bone discusses how Admiral Schofield took himself out of the game to keep Kyle in. Says it was the “Play of the Game”
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) March 24, 2019
Admiral Schofield told Rick Barnes late in the game to keep Kyle Alexander on the floor instead of putting him back in. He knew Kyle was the better defensive matchup.
Lamonte Turner: “That’s our leader.”
— @GrantRamey (@GrantRamey) March 24, 2019
The move paid off, as the Volunteers kept their title hopes alive.
It was an incredibly selfless move by Schofield. Those moments could’ve been the final moments of his collegiate career. But he wasn’t thinking about that at all. Schofield was only thinking about what was best for Tennessee.
There’s no doubt Schofield is a true leader and his presence will certainly be missed on Rocky Top after this season.
Featured image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports