NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee lost in the SEC Tournament quarterfinal to Missouri 79-71 on Thursday afternoon in Bridgestone Arena.
The Vols scored their first six points off two Santiago Vescovi three-pointers. However, through the first media timeout, the team had five turnovers. The Tigers kept it even at 6-6 early.
UT was up 10-9 and then their defense started playing a part in the game. In about a two-minute stretch, Tennessee didn't allow any points and Tyreke Key came up with two steals that resulted in a layup scored by him and then one scored by Jahmai Mashack. The Vols went up 16-9 and forced a Missouri timeout.
However, nearly four minutes went by and Tennessee wasn't able to score after that. Missouri tied the game 16-16 with 8:08 left in the first half.
The game stayed close through the first half with some big shots from both teams at the end of the half.
Kobe Brown hit a three-pointer with nine seconds left to tie the game at 30-30. Mashack then heaved a three-pointer at the buzzer and sunk it to give the Vols a 33-30 lead going into halftime.
UT shot 46.4% from the field in the first half and 41.5% from three-point range.
Tennessee came out firing in the second half. Olivier Nkamhoua made a jump shot and then Vescovi made a three-pointer to put the Vols up 38-30.
D'Moi Hodge, Nick Honor and Brown hit triples after that though. They would tie the game at the score of 39-39 following a 9-1 run. Missouri would take the lead on an and-one layup from Noah Carter to make it 41-41.
Julian Phillips gave Tennessee the lead back with a corner three-pointer to put UT up 44-42.
Missouri would get up 50-46 and Phillips came up big for UT again with an and-one layup to cut the deficit to 50-49.
Carter made another three to put Missouri up 53-49. Key had two big responses for the Vols and they were both three-pointers. He hit one to pull them back within one and on the next possession another to take the 55-53 lead.
After Hodge tied the game for Missouri, Vescovi hit a three-pointer to put Tennessee up 58-55.
The game was tight late. Missouri was up 69-67 and the Vols hadn't made a field goal in nearly four minutes. Mashack scored on a layup to tie the game 69-69 with 2:06 left in regulation.
Honor hit a three-pointer to give Missouri a 72-69 lead with 1:45 remaining. Hodge hit a three-pointer for the Tigers to make it 75-69 with 1:25 to go.
The Vols got within 75-71 when Key scored on a layup. Brown scored a putback layup late to get Missouri up 77-71.
Tennessee would not recover. They now await their seeding and where they are headed in the NCAA Tournament. That will happen this weekend on Selection Sunday.