/Heartbreak at Oxford No 7 Vols pull out difficult victory over Rebels

Heartbreak at Oxford No 7 Vols pull out difficult victory over Rebels

The main event was next. It was a great game. The seventh-ranked Tennessee beat Ole Miss in a fierce battle and returned to Knoxville with a hard-earned victory of 73-71. This was before an announced crowd of 9,500. Rick Barnes, Tennessee coach, said that it was “like a Sweet 16 game or Elite 8 game”. He is accustomed to these types of battles. “Ole Miss is able to play with anyone in the country,” thus the 25-3 Vols are tied for first in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss falls to 19-9 overall, and 9-6 in SEC. The Rebels missed out on a chance at a NCAA Tournament berth, and also a chance for a better seeding. When asked about the NCAA Tournament, Kermit Davis, Jr. of Ole Miss, said that “we still have work to do”. He wouldn’t have said that if he had not won Wednesday night. The Rebels came within touching distance of beating a team Davis said. Ole Miss was leading 71-70 when Breein Tyee, one the most skilled foul shooters in SEC, took to the foul line to score a one-plus one situation. This is what Ole Miss had done in its 14 previous free throw attempts. Tyree, a shooter who shot 83 percent on the season had made all four free throws. Kermit Davis had already planned to call timeout with a three-point lead as soon as Tyree made both of his freebies. Of course, he missed. The Vols did what great teams do: Tennessee. The Vols paid the Rebels. Grant Williams drove the lane and, with only three seconds remaining and two Rebels guarding him, put up a hard layup that bounced around and was in. Kermit Davis would tell you that Williams made a difficult shot. “I thought that we defended it as best as we could.” Tennessee came out just a bit better, although Ole Miss fans believed the Vols had some help in the end. Still, the Rebels had plenty of time to make a desperate shot. Devontae Shuler ran, dribbling on the floor as Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield came in front of him. Shuler was about launch that desperation shot. Official Pat Adams whistled. Barnes was forced to hold his breath. In that situation, you don’t want your player trying to force contact. Schofield had already done that. Adams then signaled for Schofield to be charged. Kermit Davis Jr., in the heat of the moment, ripped his coat off and threw it. This earned him a technical foul. Ole Miss fans poured cups and ice onto each other. It was not a pretty sight. Williams made one of the two free throws that gave him two more points. Davis later apologized and stated that he had thrown his coat. He would need to review the tape. Davis stated, “Pat Adams has an excellent record.” Davis will look at the document and see that it was a charge. Adams did a bang-bang job. It was a game full of spurts. At the beginning, Tennessee was up 8-0. At halftime, the Rebels led. Tennessee fought back to start the second half. Ole Miss held on to the lead until the end. It was an exciting, well-played match between a potentially great team and another very good one. Many national reporters wanted to discuss Saturday’s controversy in which several Rebels kneeled for the national anthem prior to a Georgia game. Davis, the coach, said that it was only a once-in-a-lifetime incident and that he stands behind his players. Bruce Stevens and Terence Davis, who played brilliantly against Tennessee, also said the same. Someone asked if the events of last week caused any division or made it more difficult to focus. Kermit Davis smiled, shrugged and replied. Kermit Davis smiled, shook his head and said.