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Ole Miss 59 Tennessee 57 - Just Missed, Again

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Another road trip to a team in the bracket, another heartbreaking finish.

No pictures from the Ole Miss game, but this look from the end of the Arkansas game is familiar.
No pictures from the Ole Miss game, but this look from the end of the Arkansas game is familiar.
Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

At Arkansas, Robert Hubbs rimmed out a tying three with three seconds left.  At Georgia, Josh Richardson missed a tying three after an offensive rebound in the final seconds.  And tonight, Richardson hit every inch of the rim on a tying two at the buzzer, but the ball just wouldn't drop.  Unbelievably, if those three shots drop, the Vols go to overtime thrice with a chance to be 7-0 on the road in the SEC.

Instead, Tennessee drops to 6-8 overall in league play after an exceptional basketball game in Oxford, won by the Rebels 59-57.  A shooting bonanza turned into a free throw contest in the final four minutes, cooling off some of the final numbers.  The Vols shot 43.1% from the floor and 9 of 23 from the arc; 39.1% is significantly better than we've seen from Tennessee from deep in a skid that is now seven losses in nine games.  Ole Miss clearly loved playing against Tennessee's zone:  they took 31 threes and made 11 of them, including a 6 of 11 performance from Stefan Moody.  Tennessee got great performances from Josh Richardson (3 of 6 from the arc, 13 points) and Kevin Punter (4 of 8 from the arc, 12 points), and Armani Moore filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

The Vols went eight and a half minutes without scoring in the first half, yet still led at halftime.  Their defense kept them in it and once again gave them a chance to win on the road at a potential NCAA Tournament team.  It's hard to ask for much more from this team right now.  The Vols will return to Knoxville to play Vanderbilt Thursday night, looking at a three-way tie for seventh in the SEC at 6-8 with Alabama and Florida, who we'll see next Saturday in Gainesville.  Perhaps the Dores will be the cure for what ails Tennessee's win column again.  Hats off to Donnie Tyndall and these players for giving themselves a chance to win yet again.  Let's get the next one.