NASHVILLE — Tyrin Lawrence knocked down a 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer as the Vanderbilt Commodores snapped an 11-game skid against its in-state rival by upsetting sixth-ranked Tennessee 66-65 Wednesday night.
Students rushed the court and joined the Commodores in celebrating easily the biggest win in coach Jerry Stackhouse’s fourth season. Then the Commodores (12-12, 5-6) celebrated by running along the courtside slapping high-fives.
Tennessee (19-5, 8-2) had a chance to finish off the win after Olivier Nkamhoua knocked down a 15-foot jumper with 50 seconds left for a 65-63 lead. Liam Robbins missed a turnaround jumper with 27 seconds for Vanderbilt, and Zakai Zeigler grabbed the rebound.
Vanderbilt kept fouling until Santiago Vescovi went to the line with 8 seconds left. He missed the first shot, and Lawrence grabbed the rebound. Stackhouse took a timeout with 4 seconds to go to set up the final play, and Ezra Manjon found Lawrence in the corner for the winning bucket.
Lawrence finished with a team-high 19 points. Robbins added 14 and nine rebounds, and Jordan Wright had 12.
Vescovi and Tyreke Key each had 14 to lead Tennessee. Olivier Nkamhoua and Julian Phillips added 10 apiece.
Tennessee led 34-32 at halftime setting up a thrilling finish. The teams swapping the lead 15 times with nine ties for the game.
Tennessee was shooting well over 55% before hitting the kind of scoring drought that usually plagues the Vols in their losses. The Vols went 4:27 without a bucket as Vandy scored six straight to stay close.
Vanderbilt improved to 100-259 all-time against Top 25 opponents, and the Commodores improved to 2-3 this season. They now are 4-16 against ranked opponents under Stackhouse.
The road is turning into a challenging issue for the Volunteers with a second straight loss away from home, and this won’t help them stay in the Top 10.
Tennessee hosts Missouri on Saturday night.
Vanderbilt visits Florida.