From the jump, it looked as though Tennessee was going to have its way with Vanderbilt. The Vols jumped out to a 15-2 lead at the first media timeout, and Vanderbilt fans certainly had reason to think they had seen this movie before.
But then, a funny thing happened: our Commodores didn’t die. Vanderbilt responded with a 12-2 run and pulled to within three near the midway point of the first half, powered by three-pointers from Saben Lee and Matt Ryan — both of whom had been struggling with their shot entering the game. For the rest of the half, whenever the Vols started to build a bit of a cushion, Vanderbilt responded — and a 9-0 run late in the half gave the Commodores their first lead of the game at 33-32. Tennessee went into the locker room with a 38-37 lead, and Vanderbilt feeling as though it had weathered the storm.
In the second half, Vanderbilt came out cold, but then got hot, and Tennessee had to be thinking it wasn’t their night when Saben Lee found Clevon Brown under the basket for a dunk to make it 74-70 with 2:04 left, and then, after Jordan Bowden missed at the other end, Lee added a pair of free throws to make it 76-70. Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield missed a three, and then this happened on the rebound:
pictured: the most successful play of Tennessee's night at Memorial Gym pic.twitter.com/bU9tXOWHvb— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) January 24, 2019
That, somehow, was determined to be a flagrant foul on Clevon Brown. Grant Williams made two of his 23 free throws on the night (yes, yes, a Tennessee player attempted 23 free throws and made all of them), then added a layup on the ensuing possession.
Since you’re a Vanderbilt fan (we’re assuming), you know what happened from here. Tennessee tied the game up (though their last-ditch effort, after the referees gave them 1.3 additional seconds on the final play of regulation for no particular reason, failed when Aaron Nesmith blocked Williams’ three-point attempt), and then won it in overtime, with Williams attempting six free throws in the extra frame.
Don’t tell us not to complain about the refs. That was horrendous.