Unfortunately, the Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball season is over. Thanks to a close loss at the hands of the Purdue Boilermakers in the Sweet Sixteen, we are now officially in “recap” mode.
Fortunately, there are plenty of great moments to look back on during a memorable season. I picked out the five most memorable moments in hopes to alleviate some depression that may still be hanging around.
What do you think Vols fans? What are your top five moments from the season? Let us know in the comments below!
5. Grant Williams goes for 43 against Vandy
This one is easy: if it weren’t for Grant Williams scoring 43 points - including making 23/23 shots from the charity stripe - then the Vols would’ve lost to the Vanderbilt Commodores a la the 2008 season.
Williams was an absolute monster that game, crashing through defenders in order to draw enough contact for the foul. He was 10 of 15 from the floor and led the team with 8 total rebounds.
Tennessee trailed 76-70 with 1:22 left but tied the game with just :38 left in regulation. Williams and co. would go on to win, 88-83 in overtime, starting a run that is the next best moment in line...
4. Tennessee holds the top spot for three weeks
The only other time the Vols held the number one ranking in the country was back in 2008 when Bruce Pearl was the head coach.
Tennessee could only hold on for one week though. The Vols lost in Nashville to Vandy just a few days after claiming the top spot in the country.
This time around, they were able to stay on top for three weeks. Tennessee went to Nashville on January 23rd and didn’t relinquish the spot until the day after the February 16th loss to the Kentucky Wildcats.
The Vols went 7-0 during those three weeks, outscoring opponents 83.7-69.8 on average. Six of the seven victories came against SEC opponents.
3. Revenge in Knoxville
They say revenge is a dish served best cold.
Or it could come in the form punking a rival in front of thousands of fans on your home court.
Regardless of methods of payback, Tennessee drilled the Kentucky Wildcats in Thompson-Boling Arena during the second meeting of the regular season. The Vols easily dispatched the Wildcats to the tune of a 71-52 victory in Knoxville.
P.J. Washington was the only player on Kentucky to score 10 points or more as the Vols held the Cats to 31.8% shooting from the floor, including just 26.3% from 3.
Jordan Bone and Grant Williams combined to score 51 of the team’s 71 points. Bone was sensational, scoring 27 points while shooting 5 of 5 from 3.
2. Schofield schools #1 ranked Gonzaga
Tennessee missed out on the chance to beat the second-ranked Kansas Jayhawks, but had another big opportunity against the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs earlier in the year.
But the Vols couldn’t do it without Admiral Schofield, who scored a career-high 30 points, including the game-winner with 24 seconds left in the game.
25 of Schofield’s 30 points came in the second half and none were more important than the final eight points as Grant Williams fouled out of the game with 2:30 remaining.
Schofield was responsible for all of Tennessee’s points over the final minutes of the game. Two of his last three shots gave the Vols the lead after they trailed. It truly was a herculean effort that will live forever in Tennessee lore.
1. Silencing the Cats in Nashville
Yea, Kentucky is in here twice. While it feels a bit overdone to have them this present, it’s hard to ignore the feeling that arose after Saturday night’s victory in the SEC Tournament.
The Vols avenged their loss in Lexington with a beatdown in Knoxville, but true bragging rights - and a trip to the SEC Tournament final - were on the line as both teams faced off in Nashville.
It was every bit of hard-fought, as expected. Tennessee led by two at halftime, but saw that lead quickly turn into an 8-point deficit with just 3:00 remaining in the game.
It took all but 74 seconds for the Vols to erase the deficit, as they would go on an 18-6 run over the final 2:45 to win 82-78 in what many consider one of the best SEC Tournament games of all time.
The emotion, the intensity, the environment - all of it played a central role in propping up this game and carrying the weight of heated rivalry.
Unfortunately, it didn’t result in a SEC Tournament championship, but it was arguably the Vols’ biggest win of their hated rival.