Vols hang on to beat Missouri State, 60-56

Tennessee forward Tobias Harris shoots as Missouri State forward Kyle Weems defends during the second round of the Dick's Sporting Goods National Invitational Tournament Season Tip-Off at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, November 17, 2010.  Harris scored 15 points during the Vols 60-56 defeat of the Bears.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee forward Tobias Harris shoots as Missouri State forward Kyle Weems defends during the second round of the Dick's Sporting Goods National Invitational Tournament Season Tip-Off at Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Harris scored 15 points during the Vols 60-56 defeat of the Bears.

Bruce Pearl on the win over Missouri State

Start spreading the news . . .

Not only is the Tennessee men’s basketball team headed to New York City for the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off, but the Vols are proving to be a pretty clutch team.

UT held off veteran-laden Missouri State, 60-56, by hitting nine of 10 free throws over the final one minute, four seconds, before a crowd of 16,001 Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Freshman Tobias Harris scored a team-high 15 points, including six of UT’s final 13 over the final five minutes.

“I just wanted to make the right plays and do the things that help us get to New York,’’ said Harris, who’s from Dix Hills, N.Y., on Long Island. “It means a lot to play in Madison Square Garden.’’

The 24th-ranked Vols (3-0) will play Virginia Commonwealth (3-0) at 7 p.m. next Wednesday (TV: ESPN 2) in one of the semifinal matchups. UCLA (3-0) faces No. 6 Villanova (3-0) in the other semifinal at 9 p.m.

While Harris was clearly in a New York state of mind, fellow freshman Trae Golden was envisioning himself back home in suburban Atlanta when he stepped to the free-throw line in the clutch.

Golden, who started in place of injured senior team captain Melvin Goins at point guard, went to the line with 7.2 seconds left and hit two free throws after Missouri State had closed to 58-56 on a Adam Leonard 3-pointer.

“I just calm myself down mentally in that situation,’’ said Golden, who also hit two pressure-packed free throws with 20 seconds left to help the Vols seal Tuesday’s win over Belmont. “Every time, I think back to when me and my dad (Robert Golden) would be at the gym, and he’d make me make 10 free throws in a row before we could leave.

“I was only 4 or 5 (years old), and I remember I used to cry when I couldn’t make them.’’

Juniors Scotty Hopson and Cameron Tatum helped ensure there were no tears on this night, scoring 12 points apiece.

The Vols led by as many as 11 points in the first half en route to a 31-27 lead at intermission.

But the Bears, picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference, rallied to take a 36-33 lead in the second half when Kyle Weems scored two of his game-high 18 points on a bank shot with 15:12 remaining.

“Tennessee is a very talented, athletic team,’’ said Weems, who was matched up against Harris most of the game. “They’re definitely deserving of being in the top 25.’’

UT coach Bruce Pearl, who watched the Vols reclaim the lead for good when Hopson hit a jumper with 12:48 left to make it 40-38, isn’t so sure.

“Here’s the deal, we still aren’t playing very well offensively,’’ Pearl said. “It’s discombobulated, we turn it over too much; I have to find a way to open the lane up more.

“We have to drive, draw, dish a little more.’’

Pearl said he doesn’t expect Goins to be back to practice before Sunday. Goins injured his side against Chattanooga on Friday and re-aggravated it with 13 minutes left in Tuesday’s win over Belmont.

“He couldn’t bend, couldn’t squat, can’t turn,’’ Pearl said. “He’s got a pretty good bruise under his rib cage on his side.’’

Wednesday’s contest was the sort that left bruises on players from both teams.

Missouri State out-rebounded Tennessee 38-32, and if not for the Bears having an off-night shooting beyond the arc (6-of-26), the result could have easily been different.

The Vols continue to struggle shooting from the perimeter and scoring at the post.

UT made only four of 14 shots beyond the arc, and centers Brian Williams and John Fields were a combined 2-of-4 shooting.

Pearl said from the season’s onset this team would be a work in progress as he tries to replaces last season’s senior staples, Wayne Chism, J.P. Prince and Bobby Maze.

“You’ve just got to put guys out there,’’ Pearl said, “and find a way.’’

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 Links

Comments » 88

rkastens writes:

Young team gaining experience. Go VOLS!

randyarnold writes:

How hard would it have been to have the score posted somewhere on the screen in the webcast? Listening to a UT radio basketball broadcast is the audio equivalent of water boarding.

rabidvol1998 writes:

in response to randyarnold:

How hard would it have been to have the score posted somewhere on the screen in the webcast? Listening to a UT radio basketball broadcast is the audio equivalent of water boarding.

lol. Agreed.

Orangeblood13 writes:

Good couple wins
Afraid might be long year though
But I will behind em all the way!
Go vols!

born2ride writes:

This team is terrible. We barely beat two crappy teams at home but we won and are heading to New York.

Harris is great, Hopson is not, no point play or inside game. UT is in trouble this year in SEC.

Go Vols!

FatElvis writes:

in response to born2ride:

This team is terrible. We barely beat two crappy teams at home but we won and are heading to New York.

Harris is great, Hopson is not, no point play or inside game. UT is in trouble this year in SEC.

Go Vols!

Harris is a Big Mac and Hopson is the kid meal.

lomas98 writes:

VCU will be another good challenge. Playing these small NCAA tourney caliber teams will really help. We need to play Villanova to not only really gauge what our team is but also help with the all important SOS at end of year. It would be a small victory to actually win one of these tournaments. Since Pearl has been here, we have played in finals of these things but never won one. Harris continues to impress, Golden getting good experience. That was a decent team tonight. Just waiting for all the negative comments now, who will be the first one to complain about the free throw percentage????

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

I will take the win just like everyone else. Am very disappointed with B. Williams and Hopson. I'm only 5'5" but I think I could jump higher than he does and I know I can hit layups. Hopson either makes a great play or a stupid one, seems there is no in-between. He shoots twice as many shots as Harris, can't dribble, etc. If he has been crowned the leader of the team, we're in trouble. Can't understand all the pre-season accolades he has gotten.

Tatum played a good game. Trae did a decent job and hit some much needed free throws. Would like to see Harris shoot and drive more. Thank God he came to play for TN!!!

We all remember all the near heart attacks we had watching them play last year, well, it's going to be the same way this year. Have your TNG and ASA ready!
VOLS......TCB.....SEE U IN NY....KOKO....GBO!!!!

volmeat writes:

Living in SW Missouri, it would have been rough for me if MO State would have won. Even though everyone down here cares more about Arkansas than MO St there would have been a lot of taunting.

TopTenn writes:

Golden will be better by January. A solid PG for the future. Harris is solid as any freshman. Fields needs more minutes on the floor. Scotty will continue to be inconsistent. Tatum seems hungry to play. Overall a solid performance by the Vols. Maymon will help out in January.

TopTenn writes:

Once we have an established PG, this team will live up to its expectations. I remember Bobby Maze being shaky his first games starting. He became a solid PG last year.

vol_4_fan writes:

The Vols will get better but they did what we all wanted, a trip to MSG. Winning ugly beats losing in every way. Go Vols!!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to born2ride:

This team is terrible. We barely beat two crappy teams at home but we won and are heading to New York.

Harris is great, Hopson is not, no point play or inside game. UT is in trouble this year in SEC.

Go Vols!

Nothing else left for you to do but end it all, man. Lighten up, Sally. Pay attention...learn something...THEN make a post. I enjoy reading most replies on here but I'm learning to ignore certain screen names when I see them post. I think yours has come into my eye now to avoid.

Two great wins with a really young group of players...and we usually improve quickly with CBP running things...After First 10 games usually the point where huge improvement is shown by freshman!

Laydbakvol writes:

Please, please BB, try to come up with another tag-line other than "MONEY!" It gets a little old after awhile.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to born2ride:

This team is terrible. We barely beat two crappy teams at home but we won and are heading to New York.

Harris is great, Hopson is not, no point play or inside game. UT is in trouble this year in SEC.

Go Vols!

Now, hold on there professor. Both of these teams were solid teams. We used to play teams like Wofford, Elon, and Western Carolina that were easy blowouts. Both could be potential Tourney Teams.

However, as far as the bad. I am right there with you on Hopson. I am down on him. Last year, we became a better team when Tyler Smith left the team. I truly believe we would be better without Hopson. He hasn't fixed ONE of his issues.

On the good, Harris is awesome and plays with a lot of passion. You can tell that he has no intention of losing. And, I know Golden is not polished, but he is a true freshman and shows some potential. And, this is 2 games in a row, he has shown he can ice free throws. When the game is on the line like this one and Mich St last year, you want the ball in the hands of someone who will hit both free throws, not 1-2.

We have some issues, but look pretty much the same to me this year as last year. Harris replaces Chisum and it's the same ol thang. But, we eventually got better last year, so once the NCAA gets finished, we can work on doing the same this year.

allvollego writes:

Lets be honest here, this is arguably the youngest most inexperienced team that CBP has had at this level of play. The expectations behind this team are quite high, and you have to admit that the entire team could possibly be feeling the pressure. I hate to use him as an example but look at Calipari and how his young teams have played at the beginning of the year, they are not far behind where this young vols team stands today. Always on top at that end of the game (excuse the exhibition), but always things to work on. Every game, more and more clicked, and things dont really click with blowouts at first, they come together through struggle. Williams wasnt a full time starter last year, Tatum was not a starter, Golden and Harris are both new as we know, and then Hopson (who if he would realize that when he shoots 15 footers he makes them 90% of the time and no one can hang with his jumpshot). VERY inexperienced. This isnt scrimmaging against each other more, these are other players. Give them time and the basketball vols will be a very good team by the end of the year.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to UTVOLSRROCKN:

I will take the win just like everyone else. Am very disappointed with B. Williams and Hopson. I'm only 5'5" but I think I could jump higher than he does and I know I can hit layups. Hopson either makes a great play or a stupid one, seems there is no in-between. He shoots twice as many shots as Harris, can't dribble, etc. If he has been crowned the leader of the team, we're in trouble. Can't understand all the pre-season accolades he has gotten.

Tatum played a good game. Trae did a decent job and hit some much needed free throws. Would like to see Harris shoot and drive more. Thank God he came to play for TN!!!

We all remember all the near heart attacks we had watching them play last year, well, it's going to be the same way this year. Have your TNG and ASA ready!
VOLS......TCB.....SEE U IN NY....KOKO....GBO!!!!

You got Hopson right. I agree with you 100% and it is taking great restraint on my part to not completely go off. He plays the same brand of ball he did last year, only this year he has added that goofy hairdo.

dvols writes:

the free throw success represents the free beer at the pearl residence! sweeeet.......

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry, I just have to disagree with you on Hopson. I just don't like his game at all. Look at how composed and consistent - not perfect - Harris plays as a Freshman. Scotty hasn't gotten there and this is his 3rd season. Of course, he probably doesn't have quite the skills and polish that Harris, does, but after 3 years, you would think he could have learned to go to the basket strong. That is how he killed us against Mich St. He vowed to get better at that. He did not. He will not. He can not.

I just don't like his game at all. Cameron has shown improvement, why can't Scotty improve. And Brian Williams is a disaster. All that JUNK about the new look floats like the brick. Yeah, and Obamacare was going to reduce the deficit.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Ok it wasn't a perfect win. We had a good game to learn and I saw a lot of improvenent. Hopson did take charge a few times and kept control of the ball somewhat better going inside. Trae got a lot of playing time that he needed...especially if Goins is going to be great one game and sloppy the next. More control with ball every where except Williams. Go to the basket Williams. I think he might be afraid of hurting somebody!!! I don't know but he's got to play well long enough for Fields to learn our system...then he can have some rest with Maymon coming and Hall back some too. Woolridge!! I think theres' a player here if he doesn't shoot the 3 too much!!? Cam and Harris may be the glue that holds us together. Great job. I can't wait to see Harris against somebody really good...

VolunteerLifer writes:

I think I'll quit reading these posts. What a bunch of whiners.

james#216392 writes:

A win is a win. I remember when we would be happy beating a high school team. Enjoy and let the coaches work out the problems.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I thought I was positive. I thought several posts were. VolunteerLifer!Good handle.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to james#216392:

A win is a win. I remember when we would be happy beating a high school team. Enjoy and let the coaches work out the problems.

If we did that then who would post...Half the fun is armchair coaching! The fun part is we can be wrong and nobody cares!! You can tell by how friendly everyone is.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to lomas98:

VCU will be another good challenge. Playing these small NCAA tourney caliber teams will really help. We need to play Villanova to not only really gauge what our team is but also help with the all important SOS at end of year. It would be a small victory to actually win one of these tournaments. Since Pearl has been here, we have played in finals of these things but never won one. Harris continues to impress, Golden getting good experience. That was a decent team tonight. Just waiting for all the negative comments now, who will be the first one to complain about the free throw percentage????

"who will be the first one to complain about the free throw percentage????"

I think it was you, but I was on the way.

RoadTrip writes:

If ever there was a game we needed the toughness, quickness and leadership of Melvin Goins, this was it. I saw good and bad, however, I saw good potential that needs to be coached up. When Maymon gets to play, who comes out of the rotation? You know it won't be Steven P.

The go to guy is Harris without a doubt. The other strong contributors are Goins, Tatum and Hopson on occasion. Williams and Fields need to stay in the low block on offense, play strong defense and rebound. Golden is going to be very good and I hate to think about where we would be without him at this point. The FT shooting of the core guys was very good - much improved over past teams. The fact that they kept working hard when the game was on the line against tough to play half court offense teams, with some really questionable officiating, helps me to believe in this team a little more.

iowavol writes:

There were a lot of positives in this game: defense was solid, passing was better, free throws in the end were good, intensity was good. Referees were even better than last night. Guard play is a problem but could be remedied by January. I'm thinking that by February, Harris will be our best ball handler, post player, jump shooter and dribble driver - oh yeah, best three baller as well.

bigdisbig writes:

I'm 57 years old and could school Hopson. He is the most overrated player UT has ever had. He would be on Pat Summitts bench. Steve Pearl would be the water boy on the Lady Vols team.

Coach Pearl has lost his coaching abilities no doubt for we have struggled with Belmont and now SW Missouri. Va. Commonwealth will have their way with us no doubt. Its gonna look bad once we get to the SEC calibur teams.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to iowavol:

There were a lot of positives in this game: defense was solid, passing was better, free throws in the end were good, intensity was good. Referees were even better than last night. Guard play is a problem but could be remedied by January. I'm thinking that by February, Harris will be our best ball handler, post player, jump shooter and dribble driver - oh yeah, best three baller as well.

I respect your optimism, but if that was solid defense then the former VP is Dead Eye Dick.

CincyOhVol writes:

Easy ole' man.

Step away from the crack pipe and exhale.

CincyOhVol writes:

Anyone hear anything about Deandre Daniels lately? We need a big player like him along side Harris.

crutch1966 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

lose. not loose. sorry, it is my most hated spelling mistake.

crutch1966 writes:

can somebody just beat the uconn girls? i really hate them. well really.. i hate gino.

username writes:

in response to born2ride:

This team is terrible. We barely beat two crappy teams at home but we won and are heading to New York.

Harris is great, Hopson is not, no point play or inside game. UT is in trouble this year in SEC.

Go Vols!

Visit back in March when both those teams we just played are in the Big Dance. Those are not bad teams. But to your point, we have a lot of work to do ourselves.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

BIG this big you idiot. Can't you spchpell?

I really REALLY want to see you school Hopson!! I would reallly like to see you school Pearl. Coach Pearl on the floor one on one!! Put your dunks where your mouth is! COACH PEARL would beat your little hiny-eth!

username writes:

Personally, I'd pay big bucks to see the posters on here "school" Hopson, and elevate better than Williams.

It's nice to be whining about a team that beat 2 tough mid-majors with a young team whose starting point guard was out with an injury.

Sheesh... does anyone remember the Wade Houston days? Yeah, I do. I'd rather be here than back there any day.

newtonrail writes:

in response to randyarnold:

How hard would it have been to have the score posted somewhere on the screen in the webcast? Listening to a UT radio basketball broadcast is the audio equivalent of water boarding.

Why didn't you watch the live streaming on UT site? All home games are steamed if not on TV. They all may be. I only watch the not telecast ones, complete with "Kiss Cam". It is free for those who haven't found it.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Tobias Harris is a first round draft pick, an all american. Steven Pearl SUCKS! How can some of you justify playing him, then turn around and down Hopson. Personally, I don't thinlk Pearl should have his job, but since he does let's ride it out. I can't wait to play in NY so all we hear is how Bruce cheated. They will continue to smear us on national TV. But for the most part, feed Harris, Tatum, and Hopson and by March we should be fine. Brian Williams should have never been given a UT scholly , IMO.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to dvols:

the free throw success represents the free beer at the pearl residence! sweeeet.......

That's original
4th grade even

desfpvol13 writes:

in response to UTVOLSRROCKN:

I will take the win just like everyone else. Am very disappointed with B. Williams and Hopson. I'm only 5'5" but I think I could jump higher than he does and I know I can hit layups. Hopson either makes a great play or a stupid one, seems there is no in-between. He shoots twice as many shots as Harris, can't dribble, etc. If he has been crowned the leader of the team, we're in trouble. Can't understand all the pre-season accolades he has gotten.

Tatum played a good game. Trae did a decent job and hit some much needed free throws. Would like to see Harris shoot and drive more. Thank God he came to play for TN!!!

We all remember all the near heart attacks we had watching them play last year, well, it's going to be the same way this year. Have your TNG and ASA ready!
VOLS......TCB.....SEE U IN NY....KOKO....GBO!!!!

Wasn't able to watch the game (Internet went out), but stat sheet shows Brian Williams had twice as many rebounds as anyone else on our team. So, I would say that's a pretty big contribution in a very important area. Also hit 3 of 4 free throws, which is not awful for a big man.

As someone who not only watched but also even remembers our postseason run last year (unlike some Vol "fans" apparently), I think we better not write off Brian Williams quite yet.

desfpvol13 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Tobias Harris is a first round draft pick, an all american. Steven Pearl SUCKS! How can some of you justify playing him, then turn around and down Hopson. Personally, I don't thinlk Pearl should have his job, but since he does let's ride it out. I can't wait to play in NY so all we hear is how Bruce cheated. They will continue to smear us on national TV. But for the most part, feed Harris, Tatum, and Hopson and by March we should be fine. Brian Williams should have never been given a UT scholly , IMO.

RickJames, see above comment regarding Brian Williams. Also, fair weather fans with short memories are awesome. Congrats.

Futurecoach16 writes:

How is this team "young"? Got 5 seniors: Bone, Fields, Goins, Pearl, and Williams. 3 juniors: Hopson, Tatum, and Woolridge. Haven't heard much (if any) of Bone, but the others get a lot of minutes, when not getting in foul trouble for stupid stuff that upperclassmen shouldn't make.

Great to see this team get to NYC, but this team is definitely not young.

utvolsbill#453059 writes:

If the Vols can development some decent guard play and start to limit the number of turnovers this team could be very good. There are not very many teams that go 3 deep at the center position with very little drop off, and have the kind of forward play this team has. Its all about the guards this year they will carry us as far as they go. Feeling real good.

volfan2002 writes:

Team can't rebound, but they do play good defense, letting Missouri State get all those second chance points made this a close game. Hopefully when Maymon becomes eligible he can help with the rebounding and on the offensive game.

MidTennVol writes:

Tobias needs to teach Hopson how to play basketball.

usnavyvolfaninva_still_getting_paid writes:

I think it's easy to forget that the season just started.

This team has a history of starting slow, but I don't think it means they're going to get skunked come SEC time. These guys will play to the level of their competition. I think we all saw just how valuable Melvin Goins is to the team; PG play needs to improve, no doubt, but let's also remember that we just played two NCAA tournament caliber teams.
No, they're not young, but they're also not used to playing together. There's a lot that goes into success on the floor, and they will get better as the season goes on. Sky is still not falling.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Had 'em all the way...

Geezsus!

OldVols68 writes:

This team is young and I hope that is all that is wrong....after all look what several games and switching to Tyler Bray have done for the football team. But methinks all is not bliss for this team. So far I like what I see in Tobias: he seems to be the real deal. But I am holding judgment on the rest of the players until they actually beat a good team away from Knoxville. Until then this team does not belong in the top 25.

And yes I know the football team with Tyler has not beaten anyone of consequence, plus them even having a shot at a bowl game is ludicrous (the one really good team they came close to was LSU). But they are playing much better.....and give me hope for the future (which they did not do with Matt Simms as the QB).

kevin151 writes:

in response to bigorangegoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree.... Why Tobias Harris doesn't play in the post more is mind boggeling. Hopson will NEVER be a pro player

auggievol writes:

in response to born2ride:

This team is terrible. We barely beat two crappy teams at home but we won and are heading to New York.

Harris is great, Hopson is not, no point play or inside game. UT is in trouble this year in SEC.

Go Vols!

Last time I checked, there wasn't a "barely" section in the record, just a "W" and an "L". Headlines like "Vols escape" and "Vols hang on" only prove toughness and the ability to find a way to win. Its kind of like the Miami Heat and their lack of dominance...might be a little disappointment early, but down the stretch this team will gel and be a force when it counts.

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