Lightning strikes twice for Tennessee as Vols loses consecutive games on buzzer-beating 3 pointers

Published 3:59 pm Monday, February 13, 2023

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For the second time in four days, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer defeated sixth-ranked Tennessee, as Missouri edged the Vols, 86-85, Saturday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee (19-6, 8-4 SEC) mounted a 17-point second-half comeback and had the lead for the final third of the second half, but off a late inbound, DeAndre Gholston chucked up a 3-point shot from just inside the halfcourt line that found the bottom of the net with 0.0 remaining on the clock, giving Missouri (19-6, 7-5 SEC) a one-point victory.

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Despite the loss, Tyreke Key starred in the second half, dropping 21 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting. He also knocked down all six attempts from the free-throw line. Aiding Key with a big second half was Santiago Vescovi, who drained 13 points and a trio of 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes. Vescovi sank 4-of-5 free throws as well. Together the pairing combined for 64 percent of Tennessee’s second-half scoring.

The second-half scoring total of 53 marked the Vols’ largest scoring effort in any half this season. The Big Orange connected on half of its 3-pointers, hitting 9-of-18 after halftime.

Missouri shot lights-out all game long, hitting 30-of-57 (52.6 percent) from the field and an impressive 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc. In both the first and second halves, Mizzou made more than half of its threes, and four players combined to contribute 70 of the Tigers’ 86 points.

Kobe Brown led MU in scoring, posting 21 points. He was complemented by Gholston’s 18 points, and 4-of-5 3-point shooting, Sean East II’s 17 points and D’moi Hodge’s 14 points.

Zakai Zeigler provided the offensive spark for Tennessee early and finished the game with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The effort marked his fourth career double-double. Zeigler is just one points/assists double-double away from tying the program record of five, held by Rodney Woods (1972-75).

Tennessee hosts No. 3 Alabama on Wednesday.

Tennessee fell to Vanderbilt at the buzzer on the road Wednesday night, 66-65.