Inspired Vols get big 3-pointer from Hopson for another big upset

Kentucky didn't want Scotty Hopson when he was coming out of high school, but Hopson wanted the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.

So did everyone wearing orange in the revved-up Thompson-Boling Arena crowd of 21,214.

The 19th-ranked Vols delivered with a 74-65 victory over second-ranked Kentucky, snapping a three-game losing streak to their border-state basketball rivals.

Hopson's 3-point shot with 38 seconds remaining gave Tennessee (21-7, 9-5 SEC) a 70-65 lead and sent the Wildcats (27-2, 12-2) into hurry-up mode.

Post Brian Williams was waiting on the defensive end, setting up to take a charge from a driving John Wall with 28.8 seconds remaining.

UT senior J.P. Prince closed out the game by hitting each of his four free-throw attempts over the final 25 seconds.

The win comes six weeks after the Vols upset No. 1 Kansas on the same court.

"We beat two number-one seeds,'' UT coach Bruce Pearl said, alluding to the upcoming NCAA tournament.

"Nobody else in the country has done that. Tennessee has done that.''

Said J.P. Prince, who led the Vols with 20 points, "These are the games you'll always remember. Even when I get older and stop playing basketball, the rivalries will never end.''

Prince put UT ahead for good when he converted inside off a Hopson drive-and-dish, spinning a reverse layup off the glass to give the Vols a 67-65 lead with 1:34 left.

The teams traded turnovers over the next minute before Hopson scored the final three of his 15 points, taking a pass from Bobby Maze on the wing and burying the back-breaking trey.

"I wanted to put Scotty in that situation,'' said Maze, who had nine points and five assists. "He's growing up so fast.''

Hopson, a McDonald's All-American from Hopkinsville, Ky., hadn't grown up enough to be coveted by the previous Wildcats coaching staff and was largely overlooked during the recruiting process.

"I felt that, and I want my home state to feel not getting me was a loss,'' said Hopson, who like former UT great and Kentucky native Chris Lofton came back to bite the Wildcats. "I wanted that shot so bad; I clapped my hands and prayed (Maze) would pass the ball to me.

"I knew I was so wide open, I couldn't have missed that shot.''

Hopson's confidence aside, nothing appeared to be a given at that point; the game had grown more hectic with each possession.

The Vols led by as many as 19 points when Cameron Tatum hit a 3-pointer with 14:02 left to give UT a 54-35 lead.

But the Wildcats battled back, tying the game at 65 with 2:09 left when strongman DeMarcus Cousins (15 points, 14 rebounds) went on a 6-0 run, hitting two free throws and slamming down back-to-back dunks.

"I told the team, 'how do you want this season to be remembered,' " said Pearl, who was visibly emotional in the postgame. "Our team - that's what was on display today. Our team, our family.''

The Vols pulled together during the final two minutes, avoiding turnovers and converting shots and free throws; Kentucky limped down the stretch.

The Wildcats committed three turnovers and missed three shots after Cousins' game-tying dunk, missing their opportunity to clinch a share of the SEC regular-season title in the process.

Pearl said he felt Kentucky, coming off a Thursday night game, got fatigued down the stretch.

"We had a couple of guys asleep,'' Wildcats coach John Calipari conceded.

The alarm bells should have sounded for Kentucky in the first half; The Vols spotted Kentucky a 4-0 lead before roaring back with an 18-0 run en route to a 40-29 halftime advantage.

"To beat the best teams on your schedule, you have to hit them in the mouth first and let them know you are there,'' Pearl said. "Defense and rebounding were obviously a huge factor for us today.''

Wall, the freshman sensation, finished with 19 points on 6-of-16 shooting. The Wildcats shot 35 percent from the floor and made just 2 of 22 (9.1 percent) shots beyond the 3-point arc - both season lows.

The Vols played a great deal of zone defense, just as they did in the teams' first meeting in Lexington, a 73-62 Kentucky win.

"But this time we played more of a match-up zone,'' Pearl said. "More man-to-man principles, not sagging quite as much.''

Calipari didn't attempt to sugarcoat the Wildcats' shooting woes.

"You are what your stats say you are, and you are what your record is,'' said Calipari, a cumulative 3-3 against Pearl in meetings at Memphis and Kentucky. "I thought Tennessee played great. To start the game they out-hustled us to every ball.''

Hopson said that's what he was counting on when he predicted the Vols would beat Kentucky after UT's 75-62 loss at Florida on Tuesday.

"We all felt leaving that locker room in Lexington that we should have beaten Kentucky,'' Hopson said. "I knew we'd prepare well and go hard this time.

"When I hit that shot, I looked at the clock and saw 35 seconds, and I said to myself, 'we got this one.' "

The Vols' close out their home schedule at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Arkansas (14-15, 7-7) before finishing the regular season on the road at Mississippi State (20-8, 8-5) next Saturday.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Comments » 148

rclarkfork#639958 writes:

Great job by all the Vols. Scotty has a chance to be a very special player and once he believes that himself, he is going to be very hard to handle.

TNisPeerless writes:

How sweet it is...

nocleats writes:

Kentucky got whooped.

TNPilgrim writes:

Great team effort and super coaching job.

bryanvolsfan writes:

Nobody prepares a team to play in BIG games better than Bruce! A GREAT WIN!!!

Tnbass7 writes:

I think Scotty setting on the pine last week and not starting ,has woke him up. Like new starting line up with Williams,

tennezz writes:

I wish there was some way to inspire Hopson all the time!

tgiles1944#654264 writes:

I enjoyed the hustle and play of our team. I am so proud of this team.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Best effort of the year. How many games the Vols can string together with a strong mental effort will be the theme from here on out. Kentucky is extremely athletic. Very visible and fantastic win today, guys. Enjoy it. The first time i saw us beat Kentucky at Stokely and they were #1. We beat them 47-45 and we stormed the court. I turned around and looking straight ahead and saw a uniform and a number. I looked up in the sky and saw the baby face of Sam Bowie at 7'1." See, you'll never forget today......Thanks....Neither will we. You have continued the legacy. We will always beat Kaintuck.......Go Vols......

jandjhome#228397 writes:

How sweet it is. I was there and only heard the Cats Fans chant go big blue for about 30 seconds. An observation, there is no way Vol Fans could ever get a seat in the first three rows a Rupp. Shame on you ticket holders that let them have them.

eduardo writes:

I sure wish he would play hard for 40 min instead of 10!!!

Smallmike4pres writes:

in response to bryanvolsfan:

Nobody prepares a team to play in BIG games better than Bruce! A GREAT WIN!!!

I agree & Jason Shay is one of, if not the best assistants in the country. The way he scouts a team & gets our game plan together is amazing.

RoadTrip writes:

Great effort Vols!!! Just one major issue with CBP - please sub only one or two at a time out of the starting rotation. You killed the momentum in the second half when you had 4 subs playing at the same time, which, of course included your son. Enough already. Outside of that you had a great game plan and the boys were focused.

Was it me or did the refs lose their eyesight a few times with Cousins in the second half?! He gets away with more shoves than Shaq.

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

SEC basketball. Just like SEC football. Brutal. Hats off to Kentucky. Big win for the good guys. It's ALWAYS great to be a Tennessee Vol.

crappieking writes:

To all you BP haters and you know who you are, blow m#. Great game by a team that wanted this game more. Yes, we play bad sometimes, but before Pearl came, we were nothing. He has put UT BB on the map. And another thing, you idiots that keep ragging Steven Pearl and Prince? THEY PLAY PLAY GREAT DEFENSE, STEAL, AND PASS TO THE SCORERS. LEARN THE GAME OF BB BEFORE YOU ARE SO CRITICAL. GO VOLS BABY!!!!!

tapeworm writes:

Typical response from Calipari - "You shoot 2 for 22 and it's 65-65? Wow," he said.

No reference to UT's "D," and no reference to UT's resolve at the end.

No question that UK and Calipari have superior talent. Perhaps if these two teams play five games on a neutral court, UK wins four. But, for God's sake man, today, UT was the better team. In every way. Just give it up and move on. Everybody in the country saw it. You can't spin it.

WAHOO writes:

Great team effort. Way to go Scotty. I think you can become one of the great Tennessee players if you want it bad enough. Coach Bruce is the man and we are blessed to have him on our side. It is always nice to beat uk. Good luck in the 64. GBO!

walt23tn writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Jordan left after his junior year, but I agree with what you are saying.

DebKY writes:

in response to AllVol2008#1353998:

SEC basketball. Just like SEC football. Brutal. Hats off to Kentucky. Big win for the good guys. It's ALWAYS great to be a Tennessee Vol.

AMEN Brother!!!!!!!!
Kentucky's #1 VOL FAN

LITTLEmelvinISmyHERO writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

stop tryin to act cool and talk in 3rd person

Bluesvol writes:

In my humble opinion, Tennessee missed Brian Williams more than they will ever miss Tyler Smith.

PoochPuntOn3rdDown writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A wrong Witch Doctor > A right TaterVol

doctorvol#211700 writes:

great in every way. survived refs in mid-2nd half who appeared determined to give it to uk. cousins showed lots of class fingering the crowd behind bench, then acting out as he left a loser. Very proud of players, coaches, and fans.

utfpmd writes:

in response to LITTLEmelvinISmyHERO:

stop tryin to act cool and talk in 3rd person

Hey fool -- don't miss with witchy. He is way too entertaining. Plus his wife abuses him, so he needs this outlet.

BubbaJ writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This team is a giant killer for sure. Pearl historically has been able to get the best of his team against highly rated and more tallented opponents. These kids are intimidated by no one!

hueypilot writes:

Hopson IS assuming the role of go-to guy

To all those ragging on Pearl, you're just plain wrong. Pearl can get an awful lot out of a few good players and some role players.

Cousins is a major head case for whomever in the NBA is stupid enough to want him.

This Calipari/Pearl thing will be fun to watch for as long as it lasts.

BubbaJ writes:

in response to crappieking:

To all you BP haters and you know who you are, blow m#. Great game by a team that wanted this game more. Yes, we play bad sometimes, but before Pearl came, we were nothing. He has put UT BB on the map. And another thing, you idiots that keep ragging Steven Pearl and Prince? THEY PLAY PLAY GREAT DEFENSE, STEAL, AND PASS TO THE SCORERS. LEARN THE GAME OF BB BEFORE YOU ARE SO CRITICAL. GO VOLS BABY!!!!!

Pearl is a good role player, and does some intangable things that help. He is not in the game for scoring.

Anyone who knocks JP, is really unfairly getting down on one heck of a basketball player. JP won't make any All conference teams, or play in the NBA, but don't be suprised if he gets a tryout. JP brings alot of game, usually plays very hard, defensively is better than average, and can be dangerous with the ball on offense.
Played like a senior leader should today when it mattered. JP will be missed next year.

TheDudeAbides writes:

It has been historically up to us to be the team that beats these blue b-words. Great Win! Just the way it should be!

abnermc writes:

Great, Great win. I can't believe Cal & refs actually let us win. Officiating is pathetic.What was foul count for each team?

tnaseevol writes:

in response to PoochPuntOn3rdDown:

A wrong Witch Doctor > A right TaterVol

Hey! You might be right! Just checked 'Little's' profile and he joined today, so we have another inept knucklehead on the boards!!

GBO

volballer writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Jordan left after his Jr. yr.
Lets just enjoy the win and see how much better Scotty gets.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witchy,
If we could have a starting lineup of those posting here, I want to put you in the starting 5. On a similar note, those who put "Vols" in their screen names, and resemble nothing like Tennessee fans, need to look for someone who can please them. On a day when U T scraps and claws to this win, there are some who want to critique every possible negative aspect of the game. For the legitimate Vol fans, congrats to all. Lots of great games today and this was definitely one of them.......Tennessee's big win over a great Kentucky team.

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I am fairly new to this forum but have truly enjoyed all of your post. Keep on keeping on Witch Doctor and GO BIG ORANGE.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How many teams will be in the tourney that wear blue and have Wildcats as their mascot?

volatil writes:

I'm thinking 3 to 5 seed, what do you think?

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to volatil:

I'm thinking 3 to 5 seed, what do you think?

Remember, we are UT and for some reason it seems hard to seed us worth a hoot. We win out and do fairly decent in the tourney, we may get there. I figure probably a number 5. Hopefully better though. GBO

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Were a 2 seed that could have been a one. I am just saying, seems like if it is close, others will win out in the seeding contest. Would have helped if we had won against Florida and then won out. Time will tell. Still proud of my Vols and whatever seed we get, if we play with heart and purpose as we did today, we can go deep into the tourney.

volatil writes:

Florida will lose at least one if not both of their remaining games. This will make us the three seed in Ky.'s bracket playing LSU on the first day. Day 2 we will play the 2 seed in the West, probably Miss. St. You all know who will be waiting on day 3. This should be fun if it pans out.

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to volatil:

Florida will lose at least one if not both of their remaining games. This will make us the three seed in Ky.'s bracket playing LSU on the first day. Day 2 we will play the 2 seed in the West, probably Miss. St. You all know who will be waiting on day 3. This should be fun if it pans out.

Would be interesting and a knock down drag out. Florida is one of those teams that seem like they are coming into their game late in the season. The way the SEC is this year, no game is a gimme. Just hope our guys keep playing like they did today and great things will come.

alvol3460 writes:

Enjoy your posts Witchy.
Say good night Melvie.

UTByrd writes:

I was on pins and needles when JP went to the line in the waning seconds. I just knew we were going to lose. Thenk you very much, JP, for proving me wrong. I've always liked your hustle, it's just the FT's that bother me.
Great game for the team, fans, and university.
Go VOLS!!!!!

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Hopson, I'm proud of you! I'm proud of the team and the coach! You all played with great effort and as a team. What I am most proud of is that the team rose to the occasion in a game which Chism needed help to carry the team. Special props to Prince, well props to all of you with an outstanding job again by CBP! You have ALL made the Vol Nation so very proud!!!!!!!!
VOLS....TCB........KOKO.....GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

volatil writes:

Anyone out there old enough to remember John Ward's BBall sayings, for example when Dyron Nix was at the foul line Ward would say "Nix, clicks". "He guns, bang". "You walked sir", "Bottom". He was the best.

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to UTVOLSRROCKN:

Hopson, I'm proud of you! I'm proud of the team and the coach! You all played with great effort and as a team. What I am most proud of is that the team rose to the occasion in a game which Chism needed help to carry the team. Special props to Prince, well props to all of you with an outstanding job again by CBP! You have ALL made the Vol Nation so very proud!!!!!!!!
VOLS....TCB........KOKO.....GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I totally agree. The whole team stepped up. Was there and did not want to leave. Getting ready to watch the highlights on local news and then off to bed. What a great win by a great coach and a great team that was backed by a bunch of great fans. Did I say great enough. GO BIG ORANGE.

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to volatil:

Anyone out there old enough to remember John Ward's BBall sayings, for example when Dyron Nix was at the foul line Ward would say "Nix, clicks". "He guns, bang". "You walked sir", "Bottom". He was the best.

Yes, greatest commentator of all times. I attended UT from 79 to 83 and when they played on tv I always turned the volume off and listened to John.

alvol3460 writes:

in response to volatil:

Anyone out there old enough to remember John Ward's BBall sayings, for example when Dyron Nix was at the foul line Ward would say "Nix, clicks". "He guns, bang". "You walked sir", "Bottom". He was the best.

I'm sure most of us non-newbies are very thankful for the persoanality and color that John provided for all football & basketball broadcasts. He could bring tears to your eyes with the way he (and John Anderson) captured each moment of every game. I'm so glad I was fortunate enough to grow up listening to them... I'm afraid we'll not hear another vol broadcaster in the same league, in our lifetime. Fortunately for Bob K & Co, it's not as critical now due to the new TV contracts.

dvols writes:

all good, ky, tn, fla, miss st, vandy....should be locks for ncaa.....throw in ole miss as a six whats so great bout the big east thinkin they should get ten with same records? oh my bad....ESPN...hey youngsters ESPN is well....my mom always said if u aint got nuthin nice to say dont say it at all....

witchy..i got ur back!

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I realize this is about an hour-and-a half later, but there actually is an article up now.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

in response to UTVOLSRROCKN:

Hopson, I'm proud of you! I'm proud of the team and the coach! You all played with great effort and as a team. What I am most proud of is that the team rose to the occasion in a game which Chism needed help to carry the team. Special props to Prince, well props to all of you with an outstanding job again by CBP! You have ALL made the Vol Nation so very proud!!!!!!!!
VOLS....TCB........KOKO.....GBO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey, I checked the news, and the tsunami didn't actually hit HI, it hit Japan... the warning in HI was cancelled... you had me worried, because I have a CG friend stationed there.

Sithdaddy writes:

Great game. Hopson is coming along... albeit slower than I thought when he came in as a Freshman. He's learning how to be a better triple-threat; shooter, driver and passer. Best effort for loose balls & rebounds I've seen all season. They're gonna need that tenacity for this last stretch. We're not capable of pulling off great shooting for every outing. Rebounding, ball control, and hustle can give this team a shot for a tourney run.

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