Scotty Hopson on the Vols' 49-48 loss to Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The 49ers' fans rushed the floor, celebrating a golden moment in Charlotte men's basketball history Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.
The Charlotte 49ers (5-6) scored their first win over a top-10 ranked team in nearly seven years, upsetting No. 7 Tennessee 49-48 before a raucous crowd of 8,419.
It was a cold shooting night for the Vols (7-2), who also were upset Tuesday night in Thompson-Boling Arena by Oakland, 89-82.
Tennessee held a six-point lead over the 49ers with less than 2 1/2 minutes remaining on the strength of three consecutive baskets from Scotty Hopson, who led UT with 13 points.
Charlotte's Phil Jones scored the game-winning basket on a layup with 7.4 seconds left, and Vols senior Cameron Tatum missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to spark the Queen City celebration.
The 49ers pulled off the upset despite shooting 30 percent from the floor themselves and getting out-rebounded 41-36.
"This is not something that typically happens to us,'' said UT coach Bruce Pearl, 58-5 in games where the Vols hold opponents under 40-percent shooting. "You hold a team to 49 points, you should win. We're not playing well together offensively. It's frustrating when you shoot so poorly.''
In addition to Hopson's 13 points, Tobias Harris had 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Vols struggled against Charlotte's 2-3 zone.
UT was particularly poor from beyond the 3-point arc (2-of-17) and from the foul line (2-of-7).
The most costly missed free throw came when senior Melvin Goins misfired on the front end of a 1-and-1 with 19.5 seconds left and the Vols clinging to a 48-47 lead.
The 49ers scored on the ensuing possession when guard Derrio Green (13 points) came off a screen and found Jones open in the lane for the easy basket.
The Vols advanced the ball past midcourt before calling a timeout with 3.3 seconds left to set up the final play.
Tatum inbounded to Brian Williams, who fed it back to Tatum for a long shot that banked off the glass without drawing rim.
"I thought we could get two touches,'' Pearl said. "We looked for a down screen for Scotty or Tobias.
"I thought Cameron could have gotten a lot tighter on (the shot).''
UT sophomore transfer Jeronne Maymon made his debut for the Vols. Maymon, a 6-foot-7, 258-pound power forward, scored six points and pulled down eight rebounds in the 16 minutes he played behind Harris.
Maymon said it was an emotional locker room.
"It was kind of quiet in there, and then it was intense,'' Maymon said. "We were all wondering what the hell just happened.''
Hopson, who missed his first eight shots, appeared to redeem himself down the stretch when his three baskets gave UT a 48-42 lead with 2:25 remaining.
But Charlotte's Javarris Barnett hit a trey from the corner, however, to cut the lead to 48-45.
Jamar Briscoe (14 points) followed with a pair of free throws with 27.9 seconds left to cut the lead to one before Charlotte fouled Goins, sending him to the line.
"Coming into this game we led the nation in free throw attempts per field goal attempt,'' Pearl said. "Tonight we were 2-of-7. I don't think I've ever coached a game where we only made two free throws.''
The 48 points are the third lowest in Pearl's six-year tenure as head coach. The Vols scored 44 in a 12-point loss to Butler in 2006 and beat LSU, 47-45, in 2008.
"It was physical and fierce from the opening tip,'' Hopson said. "They didn't back down, and we didn't back down.
"We lost a rebound here, a loose ball there, and those little things got us.''
Charlotte first-year coach Alan Major dismissed senior Shamari Spears - the team's leading scorer - from the team two days ago.
"The thing I'm most proud of is we put a full 40-minute effort together,'' Major said. "What we've been through ... these guys deserve it.''
Prior to Friday, the 49ers most recent win against a top-10 opponent came on Feb. 12, 2004, by a 77-71 count over then-No. 9 Louisville.
UT returns to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Southern Cal at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Trojans (6-4), coached by former UT coach Kevin O'Neill, beat the Vols 77-55 in Los Angeles last season.