‘Dores stun Vols at the buzzer

Published 5:24 pm Thursday, February 9, 2023

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No. 6 Tennessee fell to Vanderbilt at the buzzer on the road Wednesday night, 66-65.

With Vanderbilt trailing by two points with 4.8 seconds remaining, the Commodores inbounded the ball near midcourt. Ezra Manjon drove toward the basket and kicked out to an open Tyrin Lawrence in the corner, who hit a 3-pointer as time expired to give Vanderbilt the one-point win.

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Vanderbilt was 10-for-25 (.400) from 3-point range in the victory—the most made threes and highest 3-point percentage by a Tennessee opponent this season.

Tennessee (19-5, 8-3 SEC) had four double-figure scorers in the loss, led by Santiago Vescovi and Tyreke Key, who had 14 apiece. Key’s 14 points were his career-high against an SEC opponent, while Vescovi’s four threes were tied for his most in SEC play this season.

Olivier Nkamhoua and Julian Phillips each had 10 points for the Vols, while freshman forward Tobe Awaka scored eight points and had nine rebounds in a career-high 22 minutes.

Wednesday’s game featured 15 lead changes and nine ties on a night where neither team led by more than five points—or more than three points in the final 13:21.

Vanderbilt extended its lead to three points twice in the final six minutes, but Vescovi answered both times with a 3-pointer from the left wing to tie up the game.

The latter came with 1:37 remaining and tied the game at 63 and was followed by a defensive stop by the Vols and then a 15-foot jumper from Nkamhoua with 50 seconds to go.

After Tennessee got another stop on the defensive end, Vanderbilt fouled five straight times to put the Vols in the bonus. After a Tennessee missed free throw, the Commodores hit the game winner on the other end.

Tennessee led 34-32 at halftime after a back-and-forth first half that featured four ties and eight lead changes. The Vols shot 50 percent from the field during the first half, but Vanderbilt shot a nearly equal 48 percent in the opening period.

Key got off to a hot start offensively for Tennessee, leading the Vols with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. In just 12 first-half minutes, Zakai Zeigler—who was saddled with two fouls before the break—recorded six assists.

Lawrence and Liam Robbins combined for 23 of Vanderbilt’s 32 first-half points with 12 and 11 points in the opening period, respectively.

Lawrence and Robbins, who entered Wednesday’s game shooting a combined 20-of-85 (.235) from 3-point range on the season, combined to shoot 5-of-7 (.714) in the first half. As a team, the Commodores made six of their first 10 3-point attempts.