Vols shock Miss. State

Tennessee's basketball season just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.

Four days after playing their worst game of the season -- a 25-point homefloor loss to unranked Vanderbilt -- the Vols played their best game of the season, stunning No. 11 Mississippi State 64-63 Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena..

The game ended the NCAA's longest road winning streak at 16 games. Oddly enough, the Bulldogs' previous road loss occurred in Knoxville two years ago.

Tennessee improved to 9-6 overall and 2-1 in SEC play, while State dropped to 14-3 and 2-1.

Scooter McFadgon hit his first six shots and scored 14 first-half points as the Vols took a 16-point lead (42-26) to the break. Tennessee then scored the first bucket of the second stanza, building its biggest lead of the gam= e (18 points).

Nothing ever seems to come easily for the Vols, however, and this game was no exception. Mississippi State came roaring back and sliced the deficit to 62-60 on a Shane Power 3-pointer and a Lawrence bucket with 1:54 left. Andr e Patterson scored for UT with 1:12 remaining but Power nailed another 3, trimming the lead to 64-63 with 50 seconds to go.

Tennessee got the ball to 6-10 Brandon Crump on its final possession but hi s shot missed, and MSU rebounded with 7.4 seconds remaining. State's Ontario Harper missed a jump shot but Dane Bradshaw fumbled the rebound out of bounds with two seconds left. Lawrence Roberts missed a potential game-winning jump shot at the buzzer, enabling Tennessee to escape.

After hitting his first six shots, McFadgon never connected again, finishin g with 14 points. Crump added 12. C.J. Watson contributed nine points and nin e assists, while running the offense quite well.

Roberts led Mississippi State with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Power chipped in 17 points.

The Vols return to action Saturday, visiting South Carolina.


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