Vols Trip at the Wire

Charity is supposed to begin at home but the Vols' failure to connect from the charity stripe at Thompson-Boling Arena Thursday night led to the latest in a series of heartbreaking defeats.

Holding a 61-57 advantage with only 41 seconds remaining in the game, UT missed four straight free throws including two front ends of the one-plus-one.

That opened the door for Nebraska to steal a victory as Marcus Neal was fouled by C.J. Watson on a three-point attempt with 1.2 seconds and calmly stepped to the line and sank all three free throws to give the Cornhuskers a 62-61 victory in Knoxville.

A dunk by Jason Dourisseau at the 34-second mark ended a 10-0 run by Tennessee and pulled the Huskers to within 61-59 to set the stage for Neal's free throw heroics. A half-court desperation attempt by Watson at buzzer was no good as Tennessee fell to 6-5 and Nebraska improved to 5-4 on the season.

The disappointing finish, which featured a pair of misses from the foul line by the normally reliable Scooter McFadgon with 9.8 seconds left, overshadowed an excellent night by UT center Brandon Crump who hit 9-of-12 from the field and finished with a game-high 19 points. Watson had a double-double for the Vols with 11 points and 10 assists, but Tennessee couldn't overcome a 6-of-17 performance from the free throw line.

The Cornhuskers, who led 31-26 at the half, connected 11-of-18 foul shots to seal the victory. Neal finished with a team-high 17 points while Joe McCray and Jake Muhleisen added 11 points each.

The Vols return to action Sunday with a home game against Coastal Carolina.


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