Despite a cold night shooting behind the arc and an clear disparity in size, Tennessee had both the ball and a chance to win on the road against Georgia Tech in McCamish Pavilion Monday night.
With the buzzer sounding, Devon Baulkman's potential game-winning three clanked harmlessly off the backboard, giving the Yellow Jackets a 69-67 win over Rick Barnes' squad in its first road contest of the year.
In a matchup defined by big runs, Georgia Tech was able to snag a victory despite ending the game 1-for-8 from the field in its final nine shots. Armani Moore led the Vols with 17 points on 5-of-20 shooting, while Robert Hubbs notched 13 and Jabari McGhee 10 in the loss. Georgia Tech's Nick Jacobs led all scorers with 23 points, while Charles Mitchell recorded the game's only double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
After taking a 40-38 deficit into the break, Tennessee raced out to snag the lead with a 12-4 run to open the second half. The Vols built a nine-point advantage with 14:53 in the second half, but Georgia Tech was able to quickly whittle it away with a 10-0 run as Barnes' squad struggled mightily from behind the arc and at the free throw line. A smaller Tennessee roster outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 53-47 and controlled the paint with 44 points, but shot just 39 percent from the field and 11 percent from 3-point range. The Vols converted on just 9-of-17 from the free throw line and experienced a 1-of-14 drought in the second half until Devon Baulkman ended the skid with 5:28 to play.
By the time of Baulkman's bucket, Georgia Tech amassed a 62-57 lead and would never trail again in the contest. Tennessee stayed in the game down the stretch with two Detrick Mostella 3-pointers, but it wasn't enough to retake the lead. Mostella ended with a career-high six rebounds. Robert Hubbs knocked down a jumper to cut Tech's lead to 67-64 with 2:54 to play and point guard Kevin Punter, who ended the game with nine points, had a chance to tie things after being fouled with 1:19 to go before missing both of his free throws to preserve Georgia Tech's two-point lead.
The Vols will return home to face Marshall at Thompson-Boling Arena at 7 p.m ET Thursday.