With 2:58 to play in the game, Tennessee trailed Kentucky 72-64 in the SEC Tournament semi-final. The game was simply spectacular. Back and forth they went, fighting for a shot to play for a championship on Sunday.
Tennessee fell behind late in the second half, thanks to some — we’ll say inconsistencies — from the officiating. Kentucky had whatever they wanted on the inside there for a stretch, allowing some easy dunks and layups to establish their lead.
Grant Williams suddenly couldn’t buy a call, despite big contact at the rim. Tennessee struggled through this stretch of the ballgame and the offense seemed to have totally vanished.
Finally, with under three minutes to play, Williams got to the free throw stripe with a chance to eat into the lead. Grant cut it to 74-69 with just over two minutes to play.
Admiral Schofield, never one to shy away from a big moment, then drilled a three to bring the Vols to within two points.
On the very next possession, Tennessee went back to Grant Williams, who got free in the corner for three.
Tennessee "Strong Clear" pic.twitter.com/TDchfho6Ga— Half Court Hoops (@HalfCourtHoops) March 16, 2019
That’s a shot that Grant doesn’t even attempt last year. It’s a new wrinkle that he’s added this season and it’s really cool to see him have confidence in it in such a big spot. That jumper gave Tennessee the lead, capping off an 11-2 run.
P.J. Washington put Kentucky back on top with a tip-in, but that didn’t last long.
Tennessee tried to go back to Grant, but he was predictably covered up down low. Williams found Admiral, but Kentucky recovered and forced him to drive. With 30 seconds left and everything on the line, Schofield found Lamonte Turner.
Turner, who has been known as a clutch player for Tennessee, was in the midst of perhaps the worst shooting slump of his career. He was just 2-8 from the floor, but he was the guy who came free. Turner didn’t hesitate and promptly knocked it down — eerily similar to what he did in Rupp Arena a little over a year ago.
“I’m a big shot maker” - Lamonte Turner after the game pic.twitter.com/e9jM7xGsx7— JT Clifton (@TheJTClifton) March 16, 2019
Tennessee got a turnover after and Jordan Bone put this game on ice with two free throws. The Vols will play Auburn for the SEC title tomorrow, thanks to some heroics from Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams — but also because of their unwavering confidence in Lamonte Turner.