Down two points with 30 seconds left in the game, redshirt sophomore Lamonte Turner held the ball, looking into the eyes of Kentucky's Quade Green. Both teams had fought back and forth for the past 39 minutes and 30 seconds. Neither gave an inch, that is, until this shot.
Turner pulled up, Green's hand flew to his face, but it was too late.
Swish. Tennessee led by one.
The Vols ended things in the same way the team has played most of the season. Tight defense forced an errant pass, Jordan Bowden stole the ball, he found a streaking Admiral Schofield for the dunk, an exclamation point on one of the biggest wins of the season for the Basketball Vols. Final score, 61-59.
The Wildcats weren't the only opponents Tennessee had to battle Tuesday night. History was working against the Vols. The last time Tennessee basketball won in Rupp Arena was 2006. The last time the Vols swept Kentucky was 1999. In fact, this is only the third time Tennessee has swept Kentucky basketball in the past 40 years (1979, 1999, 2018).
The game can't really be described as "a thing of beatuy." Both teams struggled for most of the first half. After 10 minutes of play, the Vols were on pace to score just 36 points in the contest. The defense of both squads dominated the game. Tennessee netted nine steals, while the Wildcats held one of the best three-point shooting teams in the SEC to just 23.8% from downtown.
The difference came from the free throw line and the bench. Only two players wearing orange stepped to the charity stripe Tuesday night: Grant Williams and Jordan Bowden. Bowden went 4/4 and Williams, who struggled from the field shooting just three shots, made eight of his ten free throws. Two of them came with less than two minutes left in the game, down by two points.
But the biggest difference in this contest comes off the bench and wears the number 1 on his jersey. Lamonte Turner led the Vols in scoring with 16 points against Kentucky. He made his presence known from behind the arc, going 4/7 from three. He made all but one of Tennessee's shots from long range.
Tennessee has now won six straight games, sitting at 18-5 overall, 8-3 in conference. The Vols will take another road trip on Saturday, this time to Tuscaloosa to play the Alabama Crimson Tide (15-9, 6-5).