Vandy improves to 13-8 overall and 4-4 in SEC play. The Dores are 12-0 when they lead entering the final two minutes. Tennessee slips to 10-11 and 3-5.
Tennessee opened with a small lineup featuring 6-foot-7 Andre Patterson and four guards -- Lofton, McFadgon, C.J. Watson and Dane Bradshaw. This was partly due to the fact two big men were sidelined -- Brandon Crump because of a sprained ankle, Jemere Hendrix because of an academic-related suspension.
With Tennessee's superior quickness offsetting Vanderbilt's superior height, the Vols raced to an early lead. Lofton hit an 18-footer, a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws as Tennessee went up 9-4. Stanley Asumnu scored inside for an 11-4 lead. Moments later, Major Wingate scored on a layup and a 16-footer as the shot clock was dwindling, boosting the bulge to 15-6.
Buckets by Shan Foster, Mario Moore and Corey Smith enabled Vandy to pull within 15-12. Scooter McFadgon followed a missed foul shot by Wingate to put Tennessee up 18-12 moments later. However, the Vols only scoring the rest of the half would be three 3-pointers by Lofton.
Gordon was even hotter for Vandy, hitting three 3s, a two-pointer and three free throws as the Commodores went to the break ahead 32-27. Oddly, freshmen Lofton and Gordon had 14 points each to lead all scorers.
Gordon hit another 3 to open the second half, building Vandy's lead to 35-27. Yet another Gordon 3 pushed the Commodore bulge to nine points (42-33) moments later.
C.J. Watson hit a 3 to open Tennessee's rally. A follow by Patterson and an inside shot by Wingate closed the gap to four (44-40). Vandy surged briefly but McFadgon hit a 3 that pulled Tennessee within three points (54-51) with 5:20 to go.
Smith hit a pair of free throws with 4:39 left, boosting the Vandy lead to 56-51, but McFadgon answered with a nice inside move. Dane Bradshaw hit one of two free throws as the Vols closed to 56-54 but Gordon answered with two free throws for the Dores.
Fouled on a drive, Watson hit the basket and the ensuing free throw, pulling Tennessee within 58-57 with 2:25 to go. Smith answered with a 3-point bomb as the shot clock was about to expire, however, boosting Vandy's lead to 61-57 with 1:57 remaining.
Following a traveling call against Bradshaw, Gordon broke free for an uncontested layup, boosting the lead to 63-57 with 1:20 to go. Patterson hit one of two free throws, and it was 63-58 with 1:18 left.
After a traveling call against Watson, Gordon hit one of two free throws, boosting the lead to 64-58 with 37.7 seconds remaining. Watson nailed a pair of foul shots with 32.5 seconds left but Gordon hit one free throw for Vandy. Patterson scored inside, closing the gap to 65-62. But Gordon iced the win by hitting two free throws with 15 seconds left.
Tennessee returns to action Saturday night, hosting LSU at 7.