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Tennessee falls to Missouri in SEC Tournament quarterfinal, 79-71

The Vols now await their seeding and destination for the NCAA Tournament, which will be determined this weekend on Selection Sunday.
Credit: AP
Missouri forward Mohamed Diarra grabs a rebound as Tennessee guard Jahmai Mashack (15) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the third round of the Southeastern Conference tournament, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)

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. 

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