Brian Williams, the other critical part of the play, said it was the biggest shot he's ever made, and was "just glad it counted."
Georgia head coach Mark Fox, when asked whether a foul should have been called on Williams, gave a long pause before finally answering.
"I'll have to watch the tape," he said. "Sorry."
The tape may show that a foul could have been called on Williams before he made his game-winning layup to give Tennessee a 59-57 win.
But it would also show that in a game that was back-and-forth the whole way, Georgia (13-4, 2-2) didn't look as sharp as when it routed Mississippi and beat Kentucky in the past 10 days.
The last minute on Tuesday summed that up for Georgia.
The result of the set play was the Vols' Scotty Hopson missing a runner. But the rebound was tapped out and grabbed by the Vols, who called another timeout with 27.8 seconds left. The shot clock was off, and Tennessee held for the final shot.
As Tobias Harris went up for a 3 from the corner, Barnes and Williams collided under the basket. Barnes was in front of Williams, but as he pointed out later – "(Williams is) 6-10, big wingspan. I'm 6-8. So he had the advantage over me and got it."
Williams did it by reaching over Barnes, but the officials held their whistles. Williams frantically pushed in the game-winner - leading Tennessee to celebrate, but the Bulldogs hung around as the officials immediately went to the monitor.
After a minute, they signaled the shot good.
"I'm like Kobe … last shot, fadeaway … SportsCenter Top Ten," Williams said.
The Bulldogs' reactions were not as high-spirited.
"Shot clock off, you want to get a stop without falling. You want to force a miss. You want to block out," Fox said. "We did all those things – and you want to rebound. We just didn't get the rebound."
Barnes' description of the final play:
"When the shot went up, I went to box him out. He's a little bit taller than me. So he caught the ball, threw it up. The next thing I know it went in. It was a heart-breaking moment. … I feel like I let my team down by not getting the rebound at that time."
The loss was a missed opportunity for Georgia, especially with the SEC East Division so bunched up. Tennessee (12-6) is now 2-2 in the league also.
Even before the game, Fox sensed his team was fatigued. The Bulldogs were coming off a six-day, two-game road trip in which the weather forced them to bus across the Southeast.
When the game started on Tuesday night, Georgia didn't look sharp. Other than Gerald Robinson – who had eight of the team's first 10 points – the Bulldogs looked flat to start the first half.
Then the Bulldogs geared back up, perhaps too much, to start the second half. At one point Robinson tried for a tomahawk fast-break slam dunk, missed, and was yanked by Fox.
Still, the Bulldogs kept hitting enough bit shots to stay in it. The game saw 11 lead changes and nine ties.
In the end, however, the last lead change came when Barnes couldn't haul in the rebound – or the refs didn't make a call, depending on your outlook.
"It could've. But the ref didn't make that call," Barnes said. "So we're going to accept the loss and go into our next game with our heads held high because we still have a winning record."