Vols beat Memphis, expect #1 ranking

Vols beat Memphis, expect #1 ranking


6 Sports Director

MEMPHIS (WATE) -- For the first time in UT history, the Vols will become the nation's #1 basketball team after beating previously undefeated Memphis 66-62 Saturday in Memphis.  

The Tigers entered the game ranked #1 and were riding a 47-game home winning streak.  

But the Vols carried their first-ever #2 national ranking into the highly-hyped event at the FedEx Forum.    

The Vols took an early 4-0 lead after a JaJuan Smith 3 point shot.  

But Memphis gained control, and led by seven after a Derrick Rose jump shot with 5:10 to play in the first half.  

Critical baskets by Wayne Chism helped the Vols close the gap to 35-34 at the half.  

Both teams exchanged the lead several times in the second half.  

The Vols led by seven with 11:48 to play, but the Tigers chipped away at the lead, and led by three with 2:29 to play.  

With an upset still possible, the Vols regrouped, and Tyler Smith powered his way inside to give Tennessee a 62-61 lead with 30-seconds left in the game.  

Memphis missed five shots down the stretch, while J.P. Prince and Chris Lofton hit critical free throws to give the Vols a 66-62 win.

Tyler Smith led the Vols in scoring with 16 points. Wayne Chism and J.P. Prince each scored 13.  

It was an historic night for Tennessee athletics, and UT basketball in particular. 

The Vols will move to the top of the college basketball polls for the first time in history, and in just the third year under head coach Bruce Pearl's leadership.  

Next up for the Vols, is a critical SEC game at Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

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