The Vols led by 12 (31-19) late in the first half and seemed to have the game in hand. Ole Miss scored the last four points of the first half and the first eight of the second half, however, to pull even at 31-31. The game was a nip-and-tuck affair thereafter.
Eddie exploited Crump time after time as Ole Miss surged ahead 48-43 with 6:18 to go. A Crump tip-in closed the gap to 52-51 with 3:13 left but Eddie hit a layup and it was 54-51. Watson hit four consecutive free throws to put Tennessee on top 55-54 with 2:14 to go but the Vols couldn't hold on.
Todd Abernathy nailed an 18-footer to put Ole Miss on top 56-55, then Londrick Nolen hit a free throw for a 57-55 lead with 1:18 to play. Lofton hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to give Tennessee a 58-57 lead with 1:00 remaining but Eddie's free throws put Ole Miss up 59-58 moments later.
Bradshaw missed from 23 feet with around 4 seconds left. Ole Miss got the loose ball and Kevanis Nunnery added a free throw with 1.1 seconds left to secure the final margin.
Tennessee was killed by 22 turnovers. Bradshaw (6) and Watson (5) were the most mistake-prone Vols.
The Big Orange got off to an awful start, committing turnovers on its first two possessions. Lofton finally broke the ice with a 3-pointer and Watson added another try moments later, giving the Vols a 6-5 lead.
Ole Miss rallied on an 18-footer by Johnson, a dunk by Fox and a layup by Eddie to go up 11-8. Patterson drained a couple of free throws to tie the score at 12-12 and Bradshaw popped a 3 to give Tennessee a 15-12 lead with 10:58 remaining. The trey was only Bradshaw's second of the season.
Leading 15-14 moments later, Tennessee picked up the pace, got its transition game going and went on a 12-2 run that produced a 27-16 lead with 4:21 left in the half. Patterson had a free throw and a putback to open the burst. Watson scored on a nifty drive, then Lofton nailed a 3, giving Tennessee a 23-16 lead with 5:50 to go. Watson made a tip-in, then Crump scored inside on a goaltend call to cap the scoring burst.
A steal and drive by Watson boosted the lead to 12 points (31-19) with 1:53 to go but Fox and Justin Johnson scored baskets to pull Ole Miss within 31-23 at the break. Two 3s by Fox highlighted an 8-0 spurt to open the second half that pulled the Rebels even at 31-all.
The Vols had lost their lead and their momentum. Ultimately, they would lose the game, as well.
Tennessee hosts South Carolina Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tipoff is 7:30.