WASHINGTON D.C. – It was either a gritty defensive battle or a rotten offensive clash.
Either way, an ugly game led to an ugly 37-36 Tennessee loss against No. 20 Georgetown at the Verizon Center in the SEC/Big East Challenge on Friday night.
Neither team scored in the final 4 minutes, 10 seconds.
No player finished in double figures.
Neither team shot better than 37 percent.
Somehow UT managed to be worse. The Vols finished 15-for-46 from the field, 3-for-11 from the foul line, committed 13 turnovers and fell to 4-2 on the young season.
After committing three turnovers and shooting an airball on four possessions with an opportunity to take a lead, the Vols had one last chance.
A Georgetown (5-1) turnover with 22.6 seconds led to a Tennessee timeout with 20.9 to go.
More of the same. UT’s Skylar McBee airballed a 3-pointer with just over three seconds remaining that deflected off a Hoya and out of bounds.
A desperation heave by Jordan McRae out of the in-bounds clanged off the rim and the misery ended.
After watching Georgetown open the second half with an 8-2 run to take a 27-20 lead, the Vols found a response. A 3-pointer by McBee with 8:14 left capped a 9-0 UT run and flipped the scoreboard.
Tennessee’s 32-31 lead sent both teams bobbing back and forth, trading the lead for the remainder of the game. No team led by more than one point after McBee’s trey.
Both teams will burn the game film from the first half. They combined to shoot 13-for-48 from the field. The Vols made one more shot than the Hoyas, though, and stole an unlikely 18-16 lead at the break.
It took a banked-in floater from UT’s Trae Golden at the first-half horn to give the Vols their first lead of the game since the 16:50 mark.
Georgetown finished 16-44 from the field and made just one 3-pointer.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn