Vols fall to Southern Cal, 65-64

Shot at buzzer bounces off rim

Tennessee's Scotty Hopson gets the whole court to shoot two free throws after a technical foul was called against USC.

Photo by Saul Young

Tennessee's Scotty Hopson gets the whole court to shoot two free throws after a technical foul was called against USC.

Tobias Harris on his final play against USC

Another last-second missed shot meant another heartbreaking loss for the Tennessee men’s basketball team Tuesday night.

Vols freshman Tobias Harris misfired on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer after UT came out of a timeout with 3.5 seconds remaining.

The Southern Cal Trojans marched out of Thompson-Boling Arena with their first road win of the season, 65-64, before a stunned crowd of 19,030.

“It was a very disappointing loss,’’ said Vols coach Bruce Pearl, who has lost three consecutive games for the second time in his six-year tenure and the first time in nearly four years.

Harris led UT with 14 points, Cameron Tatum had 12 and Melvin Goins added 10.

Tennessee (7-3) battled back from the largest deficit it has faced this season, down 10 points on two occasions, and had a chance to win after USC (7-5) missed a shot with nine seconds left.

Tatum rebounded a miss by USC’s Maurice Jones’ and brought the ball up the floor before dishing to Goins near midcourt.

Goins, however, was trapped, and fed it back to Tatum who also had nowhere to go. Tatum called a timeout with 3.5 seconds left.

Tatum said he got an eerie feeling when he looked at the clock: The Vols were down one at Charlotte on Friday when they called timeout before Tatum missed the potential game-winner at the buzzer in that 49-48 defeat.

“I looked at the clock, and I didn’t put my head down,’’ Tatum said, “but I saw déjà vu all over again.’’

Tatum’s vision came to fruition when USC coach Kevin O’Neill anticipated the Vols going to Harris for the last shot, and put one of his quickest defenders on the UT power forward.

“If we had another timeout, seeing how they guarded it,’’ Pearl said, “I probably would’ve called another timeout in that situation because of the quickness they had on Tobias.’’

The Vols used Scotty Hopson as a decoy, flaring him out with hopes Harris’ defender would leave him.

When that didn’t happen, Harris was forced to get the ball further away from the basket and settled for a 27-footer that went off the back of the rim.

“We wanted them to catch the ball going toward our bench, which we were fortunate enough to be able to do,’’ said O’Neill, whose Trojans handed UT a 77-55 beating in Los Angeles last season. “We just said, let’s make sure it’s got to be a contested shot.’’

O’Neill, a former Vols coach who was greeted with a smattering of boos, was impressed with UT’s effort.

“Their intensity tonight was on the highest level I’ve seen in (UT’s last) three games,’’ he said. “It looked like the way they played at Pittsburgh and against Villanova.’’

Defensively, perhaps; the Vols out-rebounded USC 38-23 and contained its leading scorer, Nikola Vucevic. UT held the 6-foot-10 Vucevic to four points and one rebound — well-below his season averages of 16.2 points and 10.4 rebounds.

The Vols struggled once again from the perimeter, making only 4-of-15 beyond the arc.

But UTs biggest problem Tuesday was its lack of offensive continuity. The Trojans forced 18 turnovers.

“They had 27 points off 18 turnovers, and that’s probably what killed us,’’ Pearl said. “When we went to the basket, they stripped and ripped us way too often. Too many passes to the post players got deflected. We need to work on making the pass either to feed the post or to get the ball on time or on target to somebody.’’

Southern Cal became the first team this season to lead the Vols at intermission, taking a 38-32 lead into the half.

Cameron Tatum on what the Vols need to do now after a loss to Southern Cal

The Trojans went up 46-36 in the second half on a Maurice Jones 3-pointer with 15:56 left, and he struck again with a trey at the 11:38 mark to make it 51-43 before the Vols made a run.

Scotty Hopson made his only field goal of a night with 11:04 left to spark an 8-0 run that Tatum capped with a drive to make it 51-51 with 8:20 remaining. The lead changes hands three times after that.

The Vols’ final lead came with 5:14 left when Harris drove for a basket, and the Trojans took the lead for good on an Alex Stepheson (13 points) basket with 3:44 left that made it 61-59.

UT drew to within one, 65-64, when Goins hit a pair of free throws with 47.2 seconds left.

The Trojans ran the clock down before Maurice Jones missed with nine seconds left, setting the final play into motion.

“We’re just down and disappointed in the way we finished, closing out games,’’ Harris said, unaware that the Vols dropped to 125-13 under Pearl when leading or tied with five minutes remaining. “The losing needs to stop right now.’’

UT returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Thompson-Boling Arena against Belmont (9-2) (TV: SportSouth, MyVLT).

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 234

thevoice writes:

Can't wait for the Music City Bowl, then will be wondering when football season starts again.

TopTenn writes:

We are the laughingstock of college basketball at this moment. Someone please kidnap lil Pearl and Mcbee. They are killing this team.

Voluvr writes:

Time to take em to the wood shed CP.

ratkins589#246270 writes:

Curses FOILED Again!!!!!!

volcycle writes:

I would say 4th in the East is about right for THIS team. Not sure where the other team went. This is what everyone expected this year...no leaders on the floor. Will Scotty ever be aggressive and play to his potential?

howdydude writes:

Pathetic. Three losses in a row to three mediocre teams. What is the record for being ranked 7th in the nation to not being ranked at all?

PEYDAY writes:

Out played and out coached from the opening tip... Where did Hopson go?

kantanuuv writes:

Overrated Voles as usual.

O'Neill (and 4 or 5 other coaches) will turn down Pearl's former job at the end of the season.

Ring a bell?

CUSA_NEWS writes:

3 in a row..... for me?!

I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift.

Thanks!

PEYDAY writes:

in response to TopTenn:

We are the laughingstock of college basketball at this moment. Someone please kidnap lil Pearl and Mcbee. They are killing this team.

dumb post. If the rest of the team had half the heart of Mcbee we would be unbeatable.

JBruce writes:

Went from being on top the world to completely irrelevant in 1 1/2 weeks. How the heck did this team beat Pitt?

Gart5 writes:

in response to PEYDAY:

dumb post. If the rest of the team had half the heart of Mcbee we would be unbeatable.

I hope this is a joke.

TopTenn writes:

in response to PEYDAY:

dumb post. If the rest of the team had half the heart of Mcbee we would be unbeatable.

Get lost, you are a troll.

pennvols writes:

maybe Geno A. will be available next season

PEYDAY writes:

in response to Gart5:

I hope this is a joke.

No gart, you are the joke.

malcolmvolfan writes:

Scotty Hopson can't dribble much less carry a team no one to go to when the game is on the line. Sure do miss Chris Lofton in crunch time.

PEYDAY writes:

in response to TopTenn:

Get lost, you are a troll.

who you calling a troll, troll? You the one wanting to get rid of some of the players. You get lost, troll...

rudy123 writes:

Okay guys, I predict that we lose to Belmont & to Memphis before we hit S.E.C. schedule. We will beat U.T. Martin & Charleston though.
At the end of the regular season, we will not have enough wins to qualify for the NCAA.
We will need to win a couple of S.E.C. tourney games, in order; to get in the NCAA.
Once in the NCAA, we will lose our first game to a smaller school.
Pearl will be gone. We won't be able to recruit well due to the upcoming penalities.
Tony Jones is the coach next year. We have virtually no big men playing next season, so we will not even qualify for the NCAA, next season.
After next season, Harris goes pro! U.T. returns to 12 & 14 win seasons on a regular basis.
Pearl is gone and he knows it, so he is just going through the motions.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

We just looked lethargic in the first half and were lazy passing the ball which was picked off time and time again.
To repeat the 1st half comments we know what to expect from now on. Teams will pack in their zones and put Williams on the line. Poor guy is a liability at the line.

I hoped Tatum would take the last shot but it never came down to that. The Pearl bashers ( Steven ) are going to have fun with this one too. Poor guy is unable to help us on offense.

We couldn't hit 3's and wouldn't contest theirs, and Jones just made a difference out there.

USC just came in and took over the place and I never thought I'd see that happen. Our 19,000 had to feel really let down.

teedub writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree, Cat. You either call a timeout as soon as you secure the rebound, or let them play.

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

I'm going to be just like Hopson..I GOT NOTHING!

JBruce writes:

I can't think of a more disappointing player in the history of UT basketball than Scotty Hopson. He is pothetic!

TopTenn writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fontan, is the freshman PG Pearl recruited. I wish we had got Fontan.

HtownVol writes:

OK to recap my comments.

Steven Pearl has NO PLACE on the floor in a 2 point game with under 5 to go. Because we needed Offense and with 22 on the floor USC did not guard SP at all and it killed our Offense.

That said, SP did not lose this game.

UT was So sloppy! NO CONFIDENCE at all! And this team is just plain scared.

CBP has a tough task to fix this. I dont know how he can. Harris is the only player who had any confidence in his game. Every other player was just disorganized and made bad decision one after another. Namely Hopson!

Williams cant shoot a free throw for nothing! Even Goins is horrible right now at the line. Maymon has energy but he is sloppy and if he ever shoots another three he better sit for a long time.

McBee is not developing. He is not a threat to score and he is slow on D.

I dont know if I will stop finding issues so I have to quit now.

Sorry to say but I dont see us in the top 25 again this year. If we lost these 3 we are in for a long SEC season.

I will hope that CBP will find a way to get this team to gel and stop making the horrible mistakes that are killing them.

Please BP...FIX THIS!

Oh, and that was the oldest 19K fans in attendance ever! They got loud at points but that lasted about 15 seconds each time. They need our support during games.

GO VOLS!!

Orangeblood13 writes:

no creativity at all

sub par coaching I have to say

depressin

TommyJack writes:

in response to TopTenn:

We are the laughingstock of college basketball at this moment. Someone please kidnap lil Pearl and Mcbee. They are killing this team.

Yeah, they're the reason we've lost 3 straight. You dolt.

lomas98 writes:

in response to volcycle:

I would say 4th in the East is about right for THIS team. Not sure where the other team went. This is what everyone expected this year...no leaders on the floor. Will Scotty ever be aggressive and play to his potential?

After 2 years and another 1/4 of a season, I am tired of hearing about Scotty's potential. Maybe his potential was overated? He has had a lot more games where he didn't make a difference compared to when he is the difference maker. He makes the same mistakes now as when he was a freshman. I think all of our expectations were too high for him when the words "one and done" were said about him. Lets face it he is just another average player and unfortunately has NBA player label.

ACWLY writes:

I watched the game very closely and what I saw was a very determined Coach Pearl and tremendous fan support. But it appeared this game was just another game to the UT Players... BUT NOT TO ME,THIS WAS A DAGER IN MY HEART and no matter what they do in the future they will always be the losers that let USC come into our house and embarrass us so.

PEYDAY writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yeah, they're the reason we've lost 3 straight. You dolt.

I'll second that TJ.

HtownVol writes:

in response to PEYDAY:

dumb post. If the rest of the team had half the heart of Mcbee we would be unbeatable.

What are you talking about??? WHEN has McBee shown heart in a game? Kansas maybe, but that wasnt heart.

Please explain your comment. Usually I get the Pearl - heart comment but not McBee. Interesting.

TopTenn writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yeah, they're the reason we've lost 3 straight. You dolt.

Nobody would pay.

bigdisbig writes:

in response to CatScratchFever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I totally agree. When they called timeout with 3.5 seconds to go I went crazy! What is up with Pearl??? Take the ball to the hoop with Tobias or Tatum for God's sake. They will score or pull a foul for sure.
Pearl is out coached ONCE AGAIN and Kevin ONeil owns him. I HATE losing to a mediocre USC team. Unless Pearl wakes up we are going to be the laughing stock of the SEC.
He has talent but can't coach it for some reason. Evidently these guys tasted defeat 3 games ago and like the taste.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Have to agree with Catscratch on this one. I like Steven, but we just can't have him out there when the game is on the line. Why didn't we have Maymon out there instead? We really beat on the sportscasters preseason when they predicted us 4th in the East. Seems they know more than we do after all. Who was the poster that said we may not lose a game this year (he posted right after the Pitt win)?

midnite__VOL writes:

How sweet of a victory for Kevin O'Neill.

volsoutwest writes:

in response to PEYDAY:

dumb post. If the rest of the team had half the heart of Mcbee we would be unbeatable.

Heart? Perhaps. Div.1 BB skills? Questionable, indeed. Doesn't seem to be a good shooter but certainly isn't alone. Can Summitt shoot? Can McCrae shoot? Heck, I'm in my 50's now and I think I could outshoot anybody they put on the floor. Disappointed in the last 3 games for sure but there will be better days because this team actually does have talent and athleticism. Desperately need a leader, someone to take charge and ownership. Thought Hopson might rise to the occasion but don't seem to be in him. Anyway, I've vented and will get ready, as I hope they do, for Belmont. Go Vols.

huntined#565710 writes:

Pearl just don't get it!!! When you are down 1 point and you have the ball and 3 sec. you pass the ball in and the player drives to the basket...get a foul or make a easy shot..you shoot a 3 when you are down 3 not when you are down 1...oh well!!!

lomas98 writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The freshman pg looked just like the Charlotte pg and the Indianapolis pg in the exhibition and the Oakland pg. Can't understand how he looked so good against Villanova and Pitt. Maybe that is the success of this team, how Goins plays defensively? If the NCAA suspends Pearl for postseason play and they don't qualify for the NCAA tournament, would that mean his suspension would wait until they do qualify? If not go ahead and suspend him this year.

Bristol writes:

According to Barry Booker, USC was totally exhausted at toward the end. So how could they continue to shoot the three and UT could not do anything? Scotty and little Pearl cost us three games in a row.

ACWLY writes:

in response to CUSA_NEWS:

3 in a row..... for me?!

I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift.

Thanks!

You are a sickening and CURSED individual.

PEYDAY writes:

in response to HtownVol:

What are you talking about??? WHEN has McBee shown heart in a game? Kansas maybe, but that wasnt heart.

Please explain your comment. Usually I get the Pearl - heart comment but not McBee. Interesting.

No heart against Kansas??? OK...

Your a troll - not sure why but that seems to be the cool thing to call someone on here when they dont agree with you...

For a player like Mcbee to even be on the court, much less have a scholarship - there has to be heart.

raoucubs writes:

Maybe the worst half-court offense in the NCAA!
Why not press a team that has a short bench, especially when your team is 10 deep (10 1/4 with Steven Pearl)?
Why is Steven Pearl playing when we have Williams, Harris, Maymon, Fields, Hall? He is the most non-athletic player!
And lets put in a line-up that cannot score. Need to start experimenting with new rotations!

proud2btnvol (Inactive) writes:

Most of the first half looked like the vols were just walking through the plays. I wonder if they have already started the suspension. Disappointing.

dwa7#337691 writes:

really sad..............let Pearl go..............he did lie you know. Think about it! Why keep him?
Predict Ut 70
Belmont 64 (I hope)

midnite__VOL writes:

in response to raoucubs:

Maybe the worst half-court offense in the NCAA!
Why not press a team that has a short bench, especially when your team is 10 deep (10 1/4 with Steven Pearl)?
Why is Steven Pearl playing when we have Williams, Harris, Maymon, Fields, Hall? He is the most non-athletic player!
And lets put in a line-up that cannot score. Need to start experimenting with new rotations!

Don't forget Swiperboy!!!!

PEYDAY writes:

in response to unleashedslimsmokey:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That makes two of us.

Southland writes:

take your hand off the panic button this is the same coach that has taken us to the elite 8 and the the tournament and gave us lots of wins. He will fix this and will fix it soon. Hopson and his son on the bench will be a good start. Something isn't just right with the team. My guess is players all want to be stars and don't have team work worked out just yet. Hopson will not get that part. Pearl isnt going anywhere. No he is not just going through the motions. No, the little idiot ONeil will not be offered the job because the job will not be open. This team will be an elite 8 or a final four team at the end of the year

lomas98 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

I totally agree. When they called timeout with 3.5 seconds to go I went crazy! What is up with Pearl??? Take the ball to the hoop with Tobias or Tatum for God's sake. They will score or pull a foul for sure.
Pearl is out coached ONCE AGAIN and Kevin ONeil owns him. I HATE losing to a mediocre USC team. Unless Pearl wakes up we are going to be the laughing stock of the SEC.
He has talent but can't coach it for some reason. Evidently these guys tasted defeat 3 games ago and like the taste.

They got the ball with 9 seconds left and pushed up court but USC got back defensively and Cam was about to get trapped near mid court. Too helter skelter to not call a timeout. Wish they set up a better play. I remember in NCAA tournament against Ohio St. a few years back we took it to the rim without calling a timeout and everyone wondered whey Pearl didn't call one to set up a play. Calling a timeout or not calling one and the play not working is just like going for it on 4th down and not getting it. Then everyone wonders why didn't they punt.

Volunteerfan writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Yeah, they're the reason we've lost 3 straight. You dolt.

I agree completely with you TJ. When we lose, "fans" want to blame Pearl and McBee for the loss. They do not want to mention miss free throws or bad defense or getting out rebounded especially when it matters the most, it is always that Pearl or McBee has to much playing time.

crmcm44#321757 writes:

Hopson made more bad plays than good and as long as he does that UT will lose.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

There is a time and place for everything. The hustle, desire, heart, etc. is for the first half. The second half belongs to the energetic, strong, athletic types that have bb knowledge - especially if they have a hot hand. The last 5 minutes of the game belong to Goins, Tobias, Maymon (or Fields), Tatum, and Hopson. Those are the players that will ultimately win it for you.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features