12th-seeded Tennessee upsets Vanderbilt 67-65 in SEC tourney
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee senior Armani Moore thought the shot counted. So did the Vanderbilt Commodores, excited they had forced overtime.
Then officials checked the replay and saw the ball still in Wade Baldwin IV's hand when the red light went on.
Derek Reese's two free throws with 13.3 seconds left proved the difference, and Tennessee upset No. 5 seed Vanderbilt 67-65 Thursday afternoon at the Southeastern Conference tournament.
After the buzzer, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes immediately protested to officials. After huddling over a monitor, officials ruled the shot did not count and starting a big celebration as the Vols won their second game within 24 hours with Moore dropping to his knees with his face in his hands after hearing the officials' decision.
''I didn't know the shot didn't count at the time, but I was just thinking about it like, `Man, we got to play another five minutes,''' Moore said. ''But I was just glad that it didn't count.''
The 12th-seeded Vols (15-18) were coming off the biggest SEC tournament win in the program's history over Auburn on Wednesday night and had injured star Kevin Punter's No. 0 jersey hanging in the locker room.
''I'm just so excited for these guys, our seniors,'' Barnes said. ''They played their hearts out. ... I don't know what else you could ask from these guys here coming in.''
Tennessee, which lost four straight to end the regular season, will play No. 4 seed LSU in the quarterfinals Friday after its second straight win. The Vols still have yet to lose three times in a season to Vandy and may have seriously hurt its in-state rivals' NCAA Tournament hopes.
''It came down to who wanted to compete, who wanted it more,'' Reese said.
Detrick Mostella led the Vols with 18 points, Moore added 14, Admiral Schofield 12 and Robert Hubbs III 10.
Vanderbilt (19-13) now has lost two straight and falls to 1-8 against Tennessee in this tournament.
Baldwin finished with 13 points, Matthew Fisher-Davis and Damian Jones each had 12 and Joe Toye 10.
Vanderbilt shot 60 percent (15 of 25) in the final 20 minutes. It just wasn't enough to erase the Commodores' poor shooting and sloppy play in the first half. Tennessee led by as much as 15 in the first half and 34-22 at halftime.
''It's a case of wanting to play well, almost wanting to play well too badly,'' Vandy coach Kevin Stallings said.
A 3-pointer by Toye with 4:19 left put Vandy up 57-56, setting up the frantic finish. Jones' dunk with 2:43 gave them their last lead at 59-58.
Fisher-Davis knocked down his fourth 3 with 8.6 seconds left to pull Vandy within 67-65. Mostella missed a free throw and got the rebound. He missed his next free throw with 4.5 seconds left, Luke Kornet got the rebound and passed to Baldwin who drove to the basket for the layup that wouldn't count.
Tennessee: Reese's free throws came on his only attempts of the game. He came in 16 of 33 at the line this season. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. ... The Vols had six steals - all in the first half - and outscored Vandy 17-5 for the game off turnovers. ... The Vols beat LSU Feb. 20 81-65 in Knoxville.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores were 1 of 13 outside the arc in the first half. .. This marked the Commodores' biggest halftime deficit in SEC play. They trailed by 10 in a loss at Kentucky on Jan. 23.
Tennessee: LSU on Friday.
Vanderbilt: Hoping for an NCAA Tournament at-large berth.