South Carolina managed to defend its home court against Tennessee on Saturday, earning a hard-fought 63-61 victory.

Big man Maik Kotsar was solid down the stretch. He finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds, but his late free-throw shooting helped the Gamecocks seal the win.

After the game, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes had nothing but positive things to say about Kotsar (via 247Sports):

“I love him,” Barnes said. “I love him, I told him that. I don’t know if we’ll play against him again, but I’ve enjoyed competing against him as much as any player in my time at Tennessee — how much he’s developed and how hard he works.”

With the win, the Gamecocks are now back in the mix for an NCAA Tournament berth. Saturday was a huge game for both schools, and Kotsar’s late heroics gave his team the bump.

It’s easy to see why Barnes likes Kotsar’s game, and we’ll see if he’ll get another chance to coach against the South Carolina big man.