UT rallies, upsets No. 18 Vanderbilt 60-51

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl celebrates as he leaves the court after Tennessee upset No. 18 Vanderbilt 60-51 in Nashville.

Photo by Mark Humphrey / Associated Press, Associated Press

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl celebrates as he leaves the court after Tennessee upset No. 18 Vanderbilt 60-51 in Nashville.

Scotty Hopson on beating Vandy

NASHVILLE — Tennessee staged some so-called “Memorial Magic” of its own Tuesday night.

The Vols made an 11-point Vanderbilt lead disappear in the second half en route to a 60-51 victory before a crowd of 14,316 at Memorial Gymnasium.

Tennessee junior Scotty Hopson led the Vols with 19 points, Melvin Goins scored 15 and Tobias Harris had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The 18th-ranked Commodores (20-7, 8-5 SEC) took their largest lead of the game when Festus Ezeli (11 points) dunked with 13:03 left to make it 42-31 and bring the white-out crowd to its feet.

But Tennessee (17-11, 7-6) wasn’t finished. There was no sleight of hand in the Vols’ rally — just defense, rebounds and clutch drives to the basket.

“We didn’t want to lose,’’ Harris said matter-of-factly. “We knew we had to fight back.’’

And the fight off the court could start in earnest today. It’s expected UT will receive a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. Two sources told the News Sentinel on Tuesday night that the letter, which will outline UT’s major violations, is expected to be received this week.

“When we receive it, we will release it as soon as possible,’’ UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said in a Tuesday night text message.

A Goins drive at the 9:43 mark sparked a 12-3 run that ended with a Hopson drive and basket with 5:25 left that tied the score at 49-49.

“When they got up big like that (11 points) I felt we needed a quick score to quiet the crowd,’’ said Goins, who along with Hopson and Steven Pearl had three steals. “We were able to keep our composure and stay focused and dialed in.’’

Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor answered the UT run with a drive of his own that put the Commodores back on top at 51-49 with five minutes left.

But Hopson continued to assert himself, slicing and dicing through the lane, drawing contact and getting to the foul line where he hit six straight free throws as the Vols went up 55-51 with 1:14 left.

“I just tried to take my time at the line, get my breath, let the crowd quiet down a little,’’ Hopson said. “But they really didn’t quiet down much at all, so I just tried to stay poised.’’

In addition to scoring the pivotal points, Hopson’s drives served to get Vandy big men Ezeli and Steve Tchiengang fouled out.

Pearl said it’s obvious that Hopson has taken a big step in his ability to get to the rim this season.

“Those drives were all about Scotty not settling for a shot, and putting it on the floor,’’ Pearl said. “He’s always been able to get by the first guy, but now he’s able to get by his man and deal with the traffic.’’

While Hopson was driving, the Vols were defending; Taylor’s basket at the five-minute mark was the Commodores’ last in the game, as UT closed the night on an 11-0 run.

John Jenkins, who entered the game as the SEC’s leading scorer averaging 19.9 points per game, was held in check by Josh Bone.

Bone played 26 minutes in relief of Hopson and Cameron Tatum, harassing Jenkins into a 4-of-13 shooting night that led to only 11 points.

Bone also had five rebounds, as the Vols won the battle of the boards with a 37-31 rebounding advantage.

“Defense and rebounding is our identity,’’ UT coach Bruce Pearl said. “Mel Goins and Josh Bone played tremendous on defense.

“The bottom line is Vanderbilt shot only 30 percent in the second half, and we defended and hung in there.’’

Vanderbilt had won five straight entering the action and 14-1 at home.

The Commodores appeared on the verge of yet another win in Memorial Gym when they closed the first half on a 9-3 run to take a 31-27 lead into halftime.

The battle was furious from the onset, as the game featured four lead changes and five ties in the first half, with neither team leading by more than four points.

Tennessee returns to action at 6 p.m. Saturday against Mississippi State (14-12, 6-6).

UT Adjustments: The Vols opened the second half with a new-look lineup, as Harris slid from power forward to the post position and sophomore transfer Jeronne Maymon played at power forward.

Pearl also made the adjustment to return freshman Trae Golden to the back-up point guard duties in place of Skylar McBee, who handled that spot the previous two games.

State Champs: Pearl is 31-6 against in-state Division I teams in his five-plus years as the Vols’ head coach, and undefeated (8-0) this season.

UT’s wins this year include Chattanooga (82-62), Belmont, twice (85-76, 66-65), Middle Tennessee (86-56), UT Martin (68-62), Memphis (104-84), Vanderbilt (67-64, 60-51).

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 164

Down_The_Field writes:

i can't stand the peebody punks.

xliveitup writes:

Hopefully this will shutup the losers that are hating on pearl, and this team. What a great team effort by the vols...GBO!

LSG410EC83 writes:

Where are all of the Steven Pearl haters. Best game of the year for him. Sorry call on the steal he had. Hopson looking good. Good defense. GO BIG ORANGE.
.....

tennrich1 writes:

Oh my....what's this I see? NEVER count CBP out of any game any where any time....EVER!!!

xliveitup writes:

I am definitely stoked that Hopson had another big game. The team defense and end game free throw shooting are things all of you can be excited about for the SEC and NCAA tournaments.

volcycle writes:

Kudos to the team and Coach Pearl. They looked well prepared and hungry. Nice game! Keep it up!

DTvols118 writes:

great game by EVERYONE. GBO!

Realist writes:

Great game!

Now I know why the Vandy posters on here whine so much. Their fan base did not stop whining from the first whistle until the began to abandon ship with one minute remaining!

kyvol98 writes:

I so miss all our friend, cantstansaban, or whatever it's name is this week. Please, come on out and play.... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

Oh Vandy troll, "You got swept."

RaineyVol writes:

Another ranked team!!! I DONT GET IT???!

tennrich1 writes:

Agreed...best defense of the year....Playing defense like that and Scotty creating like he did down the stretch, I really believe we can play with anybody...Just gotta quit settling for those jump shots and take the ball to the hole....we rebound so well on the offensive end that we either score, get fouled or rebound...that's our game at this point this year...next year with two fast guards coming on board and possibly being down on bigs I think we run a lot more....

lomas98 writes:

I thought Vandy would see blood in the water and win this game. Great resiliency by TN when down 11. The lineup we had on the floor to get down that much was questionable and shouldn't have happened. Scotty decided they couldn't guard him and Bone played great d against Jenkins. This team still has a lot of flaws but you can't discredit their toughness when they are challenged. Made it possible to still finish 2nd in east, just hope the letter doesn't change things.

kyvol98 writes:

Vandy is Candy, that simple.....
The Comode Doors suck, that is fact!

LEXKYVOLS writes:

VOLS 2-13 from 3s. No way we should win this game but they won with D. Vandy 3-16. GREAT WIN! Now let's win out and maybe, just maybe, get a 2 seed in the SEC

Slystone writes:

SCOTTY!!!! Great game from Scotty who just put this team on his shoulder down the stretch and took them to victory. Finally a sound game from Goins. Template this game dude and bring it the next game out.

thetrollhunter writes:

Huge game very Melvin. Glad we showed up to play. Go Vols

MOOREVOLS writes:

Free throws. It's all about free throws. We would have 23 or 24 wins right now if we could just hit free throws consistently.

Still, it's hilarious to see our guys and coaches celebrating on the crappy piss ant floor at Vandy. Sweep!!! Just like football!!

vols1990 writes:

let the fair weather fans flock to the message boards.

Rocky_Top_Mama writes:

Great team effort!

Way to step up Scotty!

To all you SP bashers...very simple, we lose this game tonight without him!!!!

bigorangeyankees writes:

Looks like we need to only play road games against a ranked opponent, looking good for the big tourney...GO VOLS!

BigVolinCarolina writes:

Love the win, but wish this team would get consistent.

The roller coaster continues. Go Vols!

lomas98 writes:

in response to kyvol98:

I so miss all our friend, cantstansaban, or whatever it's name is this week. Please, come on out and play.... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

He will come on and say how cordial he has been the last 24 hours and how Vandy was poised for an upset. Don't buy it. As he would say Vandy is 0-2 against TN this year. We can seem to forget past games as well. Anytime he post now just say 0-2 as a reply.

smyrnavol writes:

guys, i finally got to watch a game tonight, and all i have to say is the boys came out late and did what they had to do to pull out the W! georgecantstandsabvandy you loose we sweep we win again.

dbc5361 writes:

Vandy fan here. Hopson is a man amongst boys and Jenkins laid down like a Vandy football team. I've never seen a team play with more "want to" than UT just did. Harris will be special and every guy that touches the floor should have Lil Pearl's intensity. Best of luck to Bruce and the witch hunt, the guys has paid the price, enough. Hope to play you guys again in the tourney.

tennrich1 writes:

Yeah, except for Scotty and an occasional Cam the three ball needs to be shelved for a while.....understand we have to keep um honest but we really struggle when that becomes our mantra....Maybe a Bone three once in a while too...

Titan writes:

Watching Vandy players foul out of a game at quirky Memorial and then have the nerve to complain - PRICELESS!

cantstandsaban and vandygrad - where are you?

VOLKING writes:

Poindexters pounded! 2-0 versus Vandy ths year. Gut check time, boys! If we play defense like this every game, we can play with anybody. Our offense frustrates me, however. If you have a heart condition, don't watch these games! At least we won't hear from Cantstandsaban for a while, or at least until the NCAA letter comes out tomorrow....or we lose another game.

eduardo writes:

Way to go Goins. Very nice game play that way with purpose and aggression and this team will be fine. Maintain that intensity!

kyvol98 writes:

in response to lomas98:

He will come on and say how cordial he has been the last 24 hours and how Vandy was poised for an upset. Don't buy it. As he would say Vandy is 0-2 against TN this year. We can seem to forget past games as well. Anytime he post now just say 0-2 as a reply.

I will, and also remind him what a POS he is too. Then Bit$% slap him all over his mom and dads driveway......

lomas98 writes:

We are right where we thought we would be after we lost to FL which is 7-6. This win got the GA loss back just like the GA win on the road got the Ark loss back at the time. Still a chance to get 2nd place in east. Eastern division wins are really important now for tiebreakers.

tennrich1 writes:

Vandy is still a great team and I think can go far in the NCAA...as usually...I will root for them in the tourney....

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I'm Happy.

Orangeblood13 writes:

vandyfan and dc are cryin somewhere in the blue oyster bar together

always show up to crow, but never show up when a big win happens

losers

LSG410EC83 writes:

in response to dbc5361:

Vandy fan here. Hopson is a man amongst boys and Jenkins laid down like a Vandy football team. I've never seen a team play with more "want to" than UT just did. Harris will be special and every guy that touches the floor should have Lil Pearl's intensity. Best of luck to Bruce and the witch hunt, the guys has paid the price, enough. Hope to play you guys again in the tourney.

Very classy post. Wish more could follow your lead. Great game to watch.

CCLC writes:

in response to lomas98:

I thought Vandy would see blood in the water and win this game. Great resiliency by TN when down 11. The lineup we had on the floor to get down that much was questionable and shouldn't have happened. Scotty decided they couldn't guard him and Bone played great d against Jenkins. This team still has a lot of flaws but you can't discredit their toughness when they are challenged. Made it possible to still finish 2nd in east, just hope the letter doesn't change things.

Hello Sunshine. Glad Vols won....Tennessee needed a lift.

The_Mayor writes:

Very proud of this team tonight. They finally played to the potential of their talent. Hopson in particular grew up tonight. Brian gutting it out with the flu. Harris playing like an upperclassman. Pearl using his genetic basketball IQ. Nice effort across the board for the guys in Orange.

SATCHMOE writes:

I am so thankful that we made some foul shots.I was impressed with Steven Pearls play,I just wished he would throw up a three and make the defense come out on him.Work on your jump shot Steven.It was also good to see this team get physical,get mad and go to the hoop. Finally,Vandy played dirty and got away with alot of trash,as calls seemed to be one sided.It was so good to beat them in their own house.Go Vols.

kyvol98 writes:

in response to LSG410EC83:

Very classy post. Wish more could follow your lead. Great game to watch.

Thanks to a Vandy fan, and yes, very classy.
A rare one.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to dbc5361:

Vandy fan here. Hopson is a man amongst boys and Jenkins laid down like a Vandy football team. I've never seen a team play with more "want to" than UT just did. Harris will be special and every guy that touches the floor should have Lil Pearl's intensity. Best of luck to Bruce and the witch hunt, the guys has paid the price, enough. Hope to play you guys again in the tourney.

Man ya'll got a great team and this win will help us immensely....Expect you too go deep in the tourney....

CCLC writes:

in response to lomas98:

He will come on and say how cordial he has been the last 24 hours and how Vandy was poised for an upset. Don't buy it. As he would say Vandy is 0-2 against TN this year. We can seem to forget past games as well. Anytime he post now just say 0-2 as a reply.

You kinda forgetting your earlier posts now arent you? This is an opp for you to show CSS how winners carry themselves......
just sayin'

zigvol writes:

Never know what to expect with these guys. When they want to they sure can play some ball though.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to SATCHMOE:

I am so thankful that we made some foul shots.I was impressed with Steven Pearls play,I just wished he would throw up a three and make the defense come out on him.Work on your jump shot Steven.It was also good to see this team get physical,get mad and go to the hoop. Finally,Vandy played dirty and got away with alot of trash,as calls seemed to be one sided.It was so good to beat them in their own house.Go Vols.

Did you see Lil Pearl coaching Tobias??? Steven probably has a better understanding of the game than anyone, just doesnt have the athletic ability to produce....Great game tonite for him with his usually intensity...

TNORANGEDOGDAD writes:

Finally we close it out at the line. A must if we are to make in any of the tourneys.

VolunteerLifer writes:

Well,I'm eating my words, and happy to do it. I thought no way would would win in that stupid gym of theirs, and twice in the second half when their lead was 9 I was about to give up on us. But this team showed some heart and guts and maybe this is the start of something. Pearl asked for someone else to step up, and Melvin Goins did just that. Scotty was fantastic, and the rebounding was very good. Great job and congrats to the coaches and players.

lomas98 writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

A win over KY at home would really help seeding. But if we lose to SC on the road will just cancel that out. Still think we are in as a 7 as of now.

dbc5361 writes:

Is it just me or does it seem like Brian Williams gets dissed by the refs more than any other player in NCAA history? I don't know how he keeps it together.

devo-evol writes:

where is that worm "cant stand saban"? what a great come back. finally hit some free throws! SP played great, I love his fire.

rockytopnation16 writes:

I forgot what winning feels like. I LOVE IT!!! GO VOLS!!!!

DroopyDrawers writes:

Steven Pearl, without a bink of the eye, has the best BB IQ. He rebounds, steals, takes abuse from fans, and plays great defense, etc. Steven Pearl is the best at playing his role than anybody. I know he only shoots lay-ups but that is just another part of his role.

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