Down 2 with the final possession, the Vols came up the court.
Turner passed to Bone, who passed back to Turner. Williams came to set a screen and ended up with the ball. Williams passed to Bone who found Schofield open for a potential game winner. The shot went up...and it wasn’t particularly close.
A tough finishing stretch to the season concluded with an even, back-and-forth affair that the Vols ended up losing 59-57, their 4th straight to UGA. Neither team led by more than 6 points throughout the contest.
The Vols got off to a slow start, missing their first 6 shots as UGA forged a 5-0 lead. They came back to tie it on the strength of a hot start from Lamonte Turner, who had 9 early points in pacing the Vols to a 15-12 advantage. He then handed the baton off to Jordan Bone who had 8 points in a 2 minute stretch at the end of the half, nailing a step back 3 in J.J. Frazier’s grill to give the Vols a 27-26 lead at the break.
It wasn’t a particularly aesthetically pleasing half of basketball as 10 UGA turnovers kept UT in the game despite 32.3% shooting.
If you were hoping for a better start to the second half from UT, you didn’t get it. Tennessee missed their first 5 shots as UGA got back out to a 32-27 advantage. The Vols came back to tie it at 37 on a Schofield 3, but UGA scored the next 6 to put UT back in a hole.
From 47-46, J.J. Frazier, who had been quiet up to that point, asserted his will yet again. He scored or assisted on 10 of the Bulldogs’ final 12 points, with his last 2 free throws putting UGA up 59-56 with 95 seconds to go.
UT had several golden opportunities in their last 3 possessions, but they could not convert. A passive possession ended with Bone taking an off balance leaner that was blocked by Frazier, and then Bone was called out of bounds (which he wasn’t) for a turnover. The Vols forced a miss by Frazier, oddly drained 20 seconds off the clock before getting Williams to the line, but he only made 1 of 2. Lew Evans fouled on that 2nd shot setting up the final possession.
Jordan Bone led the Vols with 14 points on only 8 shots. Lamonte Turner was next with 13, but he took 13 shots to get there. Williams had no points and no shots until there were 7 minutes left in the game. Hubbs finished with 6 on 3/11 shooting and did not play the final 5 minutes.
With that loss, that’s probably it for UT basketball until November, though I suppose an outside shot at the NIT still exists (depending on how that D-II win over Chaminade is viewed).
The plan, as Will and I discussed, is that the core progresses while injuries are overcome and new pieces are added. UT should find themselves in the NCAA conversation next season. Even if today stings, Tennessee seems to be on better footing than they were 3 years ago...and for that, I am thankful and hopeful.