Vols fall hard again in loss to Virginia
Charlottesville, VA-Trae Golden scored 11 points and the Tennessee men’s basketball team came back from a 15-point deficit to pull within four points in the final minute, but Virginia made key free throws in the closing seconds to edge the Vols, 46-38, on Thursday in John Paul Jones Arena.
Despite playing good defense, Tennessee (4-3) struggled from the floor, shooting just 28.8 percent (15-of-52) in the loss. The Cavaliers (7-2) managed just 35.8 percent field-goal shooting (19-of-53) to improve their home record to 6-1.
Golden’s slashing offense in the paint and Jarnell Stokes’ game-high nine rebounds kept Tennessee in the game, but the Vols were not able to climb all the way back from their early deficit.
Trailing 25-16 at halftime, Tennessee came out of the break with a strong effort to pull within four points early on. Golden drained a pair of free throws just over a minute into the second period and Skylar McBee made a 3-pointer off a screen on the right side to bring Tennessee to within 25-21 with 18:11 remaining.
Virginia answered with an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to grow its lead to 36-21. Golden stepped up with a 3-pointer from top right side and Yemi Makanjuoula added a put-back layup to narrow UVa’s lead to 10 points with 11:50 left.
Looking to score in transition, UVa’s Teven Jones was barreled through the lane only to run into Kenny Hall, who drew his team-high fourth charge of the season with 9:19 remaining. On the ensuing UT possession, Jordan McRae hit a three from top left side of the arc to bring the Vols to within 38-31 with 8:58 on the clock. Hall made two free throws a minute later and Tennessee crept to within five.
With 1:30 left and Virginia ahead, 42-34, McRae drove into the paint from the left side and slammed one home to make it a six-point game. Stokes tipped in a put-back off a missed 3-pointer by McBee with 39 seconds left to pull UT to within 42-38.
McBee fouled Jones with 32 seconds left as Tennessee sent the game to the free-throw line. Jones made both free throws and Paul Jesperson made two more free throws with 20 seconds left to ice the win for the Cavaliers.