NASHVILLE - Abracadabra and alakazam.
Vanderbilt's storied "Memorial Magic'' home-court advantage made the importance of the first No. 1-ranking in Tennessee men's basketball history disappear.
The No. 18 Commodores (24-4 overall, 9-4 SEC) scored a 72-69 victory over the Vols (25-3, 11-2) Tuesday night, marking the fourth consecutive time Vanderbilt has beaten a No. 1-ranked opponent in Memorial Gymnasium.
UT's place in the national spotlight dimmed when JaJuan Smith's desperation heave from three-quater court sailed harmlessly over the backboard at the buzzer, and the Vols' nine-game win streak was snapped, to boot.
A sold-out crowd of 14,325 watched Shan Foster score 32 points for the Commodores as they ran their record to 18-0 at home this season and won their seventh straight.
Chris Lofton led the Vols with 25 points and Tyler Smith pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds.
Tennessee shot a season-low .328 from the floor, hit only 7-of-26 (.269) from beyond the 3-point arc and forced only eight turnovers.
"Our offense was pitiful," Vols coach Bruce Pearl said. "Chris Lofton scored 25 for us and Tyler played his heart out, but we play our best when everyone contributes, and tonight we didn't get a lot of contributions that we usually get."
Sophomore center Wayne Chism ran into early foul trouble and scored only four points, while point guard Ramar Smith scored eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and was 2-of-5 from the free throw line.
UT's loss gives Kentucky (15-10, 9-3) an opportunity to take over the top spot in the SEC with a win over the Vols at noon Sunday in Thompson-Boling Arena, assuming the Wildcats defeat Ole Miss tonight.
"I can promise you we'll be ready for that game," Tyler Smith said. "You can put that in the paper."
The Vols rallied from a 31-28 halftime deficit to lead by three points on two occasions, and held a 43-40 lead before Vandy's Alex Gordon hit three free throws to tie the game a 43-43 with 15:03 left.
After Chism missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw situation, Alan Metcalfe drained a three to put the Commodores up 46-43.
Vanderbilt didn't trail after that and went on to lead by as many as eight points when Foster backed down Lofton in the lane for a bucket that made it 61-53 with 6:50 left.
"Vanderbilt came out with great passion and played with more intensity than us," Lofton said. "They deserved to win."
The Commodores sealed the victory by hitting 8-of-10 free throws over the final 3:25.
Try as it might, a scrambling UT defense couldn't force a turnover to turn the tide as the final minutes and seconds ticked off the clock.
Vanderbilt's 31-28 half-time lead came after the Commodores had led by as many as 14 points in the early goings.
The Commodores raced out to a 23-9 lead, capping the early burst with a Foster dunk at the 10:42 mark.
At that point, Vanderbilt had connected on 8-of-11 shots (.727) while UT had struggled to make 3-of-16 (.188).
The Vols, however, tightened up on defense and Lofton got hot, scoring 11 of his 14 first-half point.
The Commodores proceeded to miss their next six shots and UT went on a 14-3 run, with Lofton scoring the first eight points before Tyler Smith ended the spurt with a free throw to pull the Vols within 26-23 at the 4:25 mark.
Foster's 3-pointer with 3:56 left in the half gave him 13 points and was Vanderbilt's first in more than 6 1/2 minutes.
"That was a weird game," Commodores coach Kevin Stallings said. "It was a hard-fought battle by both teams that lacked any rhythm because of all the fouls and trips to the line."
Vanderbilt connected on 25-of-37 (.676) from the free throw line, UT hit 22-of-32 (.688).