KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A gritty battle favored Vanderbilt after the final buzzer struck leaving the No. 6 Vols to lose 66-65 to the Commodores.
Tennessee’s offense showed major improvements in Nashville with the Vols shooting 50 percent from the field at the half. The Vols finished slightly above their season average and connected on 46.7 percent of their attempts from the field.
The threes from Vanderbilt were falling, especially in the first. Scoring from beyond the arc accounted for over double of the Commodores’ 32 points at the break. Vanderbilt finished with 10 triples, going 40 percent from the three-point line.
Every Tennessee basket had an answer from Vanderbilt. The two teams went shot-for-shot the entire matchup, neither team ever finding themselves more than five points in front. The Vols and Commodores saw themselves tied nine different times throughout the contest.
Tennessee fought to a two-point lead as the teams headed to halftime with the score 34-32.
Out of the break, the Vols eventually put themselves on an 8-0 run that gave them a five-point edge. As they did in the first, Vanderbilt quickly erased the advantage with a 7-0 effort of their own.
An Olivier Nkamhoua jumper in the final minute put the Vols up by two. A defensive rebound from Zakai Zeigler cut down on Vanderbilt’s chances as time ran on the clock.
The first free throws of the second half for Tennessee did not come until the final eight seconds of the game, but they were the most crucial. Santiago Vescovi missed the first, putting the ball in the Commodores’ hand with under five seconds to go.
That was all Tyrin Lawrence needed, the Commodore lobbed up his third triple of the night as the clock hit zero with Vanderbilt finishing the upset in exhilarating fashion.
Tyreke Key was locked in for the Vols, tied with Vescovi, the two led Tennessee in scoring with 14 points each. Nkamhoua and Julian Phillips reached the double digits, each finding 10 points.
Demonstrating efficiency against Vanderbilt was Tobe Awaka. Recording eight points, the sophomore doubled his season average. Awaka topped the rebound charts for the Vols by coming away with nine.
With the win, Vanderbilt takes their first win over Tennessee since February 2017.