KNOXVILLE (WVLT) The war of words has lasted much longer than many expected.
Tennessee and Memphis' basketball rivalry, renewed Saturday, is now boiling over as coaches Rick Barnes and Penny Hardaway have traded comments about each other's teams.
Mostly Penny, though.
Per reports from Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal , Hardaway refused to back down from his comments about a scuffle involving both teams towards the end of Tennessee's 102-92 win.
Hardaway said Tennessee players had their "fists balled up" during an incident in Saturday's game, a claim that has no video evidence to support it.
When asked Tuesday if he regretted anything he'd said immediately after the game, Hardaway said:
“No, come on man, honestly, if you just watch the film I’m not making anything up. We even had it on the phone. I don’t know who Rick Barnes thinks I am but I’m not a dude that’s going to mess around about anything. I just call it like I see it. No matter how he’s trying to make things seem, and I think its kind of low class how he’s trying to downgrade my guys for flopping and all that. Man, come on, give me a break.”
The war of words continues between Penny Hardaway and Vols coach Rick Barnes. Today—it was Penny’s turn at the mic. pic.twitter.com/H8D9rLYgBd— Mike Ceide (@MCeide_WREG3) December 18, 2018
Penny Hardaway ended his chat with reporters like this ... "Rick Barnes ... Get the &*$% out of here."— Mark Giannotto (@mgiannotto) December 18, 2018
I've never heard a coach talk like Penny just did about Rick Barnes.
The Appeal reported on his way out of the interview room, Hardaway said, "Rick Barnes... get the [expletive] out of here."
Affiliate station WREG-TV in Memphis also confirmed Hardaway aimed an expletive at Barnes.
Hardaway was likely responding to Barnes' comments Monday night on Vol Calls. He reportedly joked with host Bob Kesling: "At any time Saturday did you ball your fist up and get ready to fight the other commentator?”
Barnes also expressed he was not happy with Hardaway singling out Jordan Bone on Saturday.
“Alex [Lomax] is a kid that’s not gonna talk trash, so obviously Jordan Bone said something to him disrespectfully,” Hardaway said of the scuffle Saturday.