Knoxville (WATE) – Just over a month ago, sophomore Detrick Mostella played three minutes in a 94-86 loss to Butler.
Monday, coming off a career game, Mostella said what Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said to him after that loss, provided him the boost he needed.
“Coach was talking in the locker room, [saying] there’s a lot of people on our team stealing money,” Mostella said. “He said we’re on scholarship, so we should do things much harder. ‘Am I stealing money?’ So I started questioning myself and questioning myself, and one day I asked him [about it] and he said, ‘You’ve been stealing money a little bit,” Mostella said, pausing to chuckle. “Basically. that gave me the opportunity to take it to another level, and I feel like I’ve done that the last couple games.”
Mostella’s improved play went a long way toward helping Tennessee seal their first road win of the season.
After averaging 3.4 points a game over his first nine games this season (including scoring zero points on four occasions), the sophomore guard has scored in double digits in seven of his last eight games, averaging 14 points a game over that span.
His 24 points at Mississippi State on Saturday set a new career-high.
Mostella and the Vols host in-state rival Vanderbilt Wednesday night, looking to even up their record in conference play at 3-3.
Tip time is set for 9 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.