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#7 Tennessee ruins Rebels’ upset bid late

The Pavilion at Ole Miss. Photo by News Mississippi

What was almost a major upset win for Ole Miss quickly turned into a heartbreaking 73-71 loss at the hands of #7 Tennessee in front of a sold-out crowd in the Pavilion last night. 

Holding onto a 71-70 lead with 17 seconds left, the Rebels sent Breein Tyree, an 83% free throw shooter, to the line with a chance to stretch their lead, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one. 

On Tennessee’s next possession, Grant Williams drove into the paint and hit a go-ahead layup with 4 seconds left, and the Rebels’ lead turned into a 72-71 deficit. With a timeout remaining, head coach Kermit Davis decided to let things play out. 

Devontae Shuler took the inbounds pass and was called for a charge after throwing up a desperation 3 from around half court. Davis wasn’t pleased with the call and was assessed a technical foul after throwing his jacket and screaming at the ref. 

After Tennessee hit one of their foul shots, the game was over, and Rebel fans erupted as they began throwing things onto the court, leading to Davis grabbing a microphone and asking them to stop. As for what he told his team, Davis said that they have to move forward. 

“It was a great environment,” he said. “Hats off to Tennessee. They made a tough shot at the end. Everyone is heartbroken in that locker room. We have to come back, put it away and get ready for Arkansas on Saturday.”

Tyree finished the game with 16 points, and while he hit several shots down the stretch, he put the loss on his shoulders after the game. 

Until Tyree’s miss, the Rebels were a perfect 14-14 from the line.

For Tennessee, Williams’ last 2 points were his biggest and he led all scorers with 21 points. Trailing by 5 at halftime, the Volunteers quickly grabbed the lead in the second half, leading to a back and forth fight the rest of the way with plenty of lead changes and momentum swinging moments. 

Ole Miss (19-9, 9-6) has three regular-season games left against Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri, and they’ll need at least one more win to feel confident about a return to the NCAA Tournament. 

While the Rebels came up short last night, Terence Davis’ dunk over a Tennessee defender made highlight reels across the country.

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