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Lawrence, Vandy shock Vols

 Brian Hartman   in Basketball

Vanderbilt snaps an 11-game losing streak to its in-state rival.

Tyrin Lawrence/Josiah-Jordan James photo courtesy of Tennessee athletics.

Vanderbilt snapped an 11-game losing streak to Tennessee, beating the Vols 66-65 on a 3 pointer at the buzzer by Tyrin Lawrence

Lawrence took a pass from Ezra Manjon and got off a shot with around one- or two-tenths of a second remaining. He led Vanderbilt in scoring with 19 points. He was 8-12 from the field, 3-4 from 3. His biggest shot was his last. 

Vandy (12-12, 5-6 Southeastern Conference) had to foul five times in a nine-second sequence to send the Vols' Santiago Vescovi to the line for a one-and-one chance with eighth seconds left. Vescovi missed the front end and Lawrence grabbed the rebound, setting up the game-ending heroics. 

After a time out with four seconds left, Liam Robbins (14 points, nine rebounds) handed the ball off to Manjon (seven points)  who drove to the basket, drawing a triple team. 

Lawrence was wide open in the right corner. He took the pass from Manjon and drained the shot.  

Vanderbilt students stormed the court and mobbed their players in a wild celebration. After a review, the officials confirmed that the shot got off in time. 

Lawrence said he knew he got the shot off in time. Vandy head coach Jerry Stackhouse said he wasn't so sure. 

"We said we got to make (Vanderbilt) make a tough shot at the rim. But under no circumstances can we give up a 3-point shot. And we did. And they made it, so give them credit," Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. 

The game had nine ties and 15 lead changes. The Vols (19-5, 8-3) took a 65-63 lead with 44 seconds left on a jumper by Olivier Nkamhoua. Vescovi  tied the game at 63 on a 3-pointer with 2:00 left. 

Vandy's Jordan Wright scored all 12 of his points in the second half for Vanderbilt. Wright didn't play against Ole Miss on Saturday due to concussion protocol.

Tyreke Key was Tennessee's co-leader in scoring, getting his 14 off the bench. It was Key's highest scoring output against SEC competition, bettering the 10 points he scored at LSU. 

Tennessee's Olivier Nkamhoua and Julian Phillips both scored 10 points. Tobe Awaka chipped in with eight points and a team-leading nine rebounds for the Vols. 

Vanderbilt won despite a solid shooting night by the Vols. Tennessee was 28-of-60 from the floor (46.7%). The Commodores shot 43.6% which included 10 made 3s. 

Vandy became the first team to make a double-digit number of 3-pointers against Tennessee all season. Ole Miss made eight 3-pointers against Tennessee back in December. 

Robbins made three 3-pointers in the first half. He came into the game with only six 3-pointers made all season. 

Tennessee's Josiah-Jordan James struggled, scoring only two points on a 1-of-7 shooting night for the Vols. James was helped off the floor with 16 seconds with what appeared to be ankle injury. 

Zakai Zeigler led the Vols in assists with seven, but only scored five points. His lone 3-pointer gave the Vols a 53-52 lead midway through the second half. 


Vanderbilt had only committed two second-half fouls when Tennessee had the ball with a 65-63 lead with 17 seconds to go in the game. Vanderbilt had to foul five times to get Tennessee into the bonus. Tennessee's Phillips had a wide open path to the rim after one inbounds play, but curiously decided not to take the easy basket, letting Vanderbilt foul him. 

Had Phillips taken the dunk, the Vols would have had a four-point lead with about seven seconds left, and would have likely won the game. 

"I told told him (Julian Phillips) you don't turn down a 100% shot," Barnes said. "He'll learn from it. But he's got to do that. When you have a wide-open dunk, you have to give it."

Vanderbilt's last win over Tennessee in Memorial Gym was in 2016. Tennessee had won its last in a row at Vanderbilt. 

Next up: 

Tennessee hosts Missouri  (18-6, 6-5 SEC) Saturday at 6 ET. 

Vanderbilt plays at Florida Saturday at 3:30 ET.