Buzz on UT's final shot

Tennessee basketball fans have a question: Why did a guy who made just one 3-point shot in the first 24 games (Dane Bradshaw) launch the game-deciding 3 in the final seconds of Saturday's 60-58 loss at Ole Miss?

Buzz Peterson has an answer: It wasn't supposed to happen that way.

''We came down with one of our set plays called -- one we've run a lot all year,'' the Vol coach said. ''We ran it a couple of times to start the second half but (Brandon Crump) short-armed some jump hooks. But we had the open looks, so that was the play I wanted.''

As Tennessee began running its play, point guard C.J. Watson collided with a Rebel defender.

''C.J. took a hard lick on a screen and nothing was called,'' Peterson said. ''He was knocked from his feet right onto his rear end. We were shocked nothing was called. He was the outlet to make the post feed (to Crump), so we got in a jam and had to call a timeout.''

During the timeout, Peterson set up a play with Watson driving toward the basket. If he found his path blocked, he would pass the ball to Chris Lofton in the corner. It was a nice plan. It just didn't work. Ole Miss reacted nicely to Tennessee's screen, blocking Watson's path to the bucket. Meanwhile, Lofton was no longer in the corner.

''I wish C.J. could've made a play for us,'' Peterson said. ''Chris was a little impatient. He has a bad habit of this; he doesn't like to sit in the corner. He wants to get out of it. He moved out of the corner and up to the wing, clogging it up a little more for C.J.''

Getting the ball in heavy traffic, Lofton decided against forcing a shot. Instead, he passed the ball.

''He started to drive to his right, then kicked it to Dane (Bradshaw),'' Peterson said. ''I think it surprised Dane and the rest of us. We wanted Chris to take it to the hole or pull up for a jump shot. But a freshman playing on the road ... sometimes that's going to happen.''

Peterson later comforted Lofton with these words: ''If it hadn't been for you, we probably wouldn't have been in that situation (chance to win) anyway because you made some big baskets during the second half when we needed them. I thought you had a nice game. But next time we're in (that situation) I want you knock that shot down for the game-winner for us.''

Peterson says the Vols wouldn't have needed a last-second prayer answered if they'd played better at the end of the first half and the start of the second, when they allowed Ole Miss to make a 12-0 spurt that turned a 31-19 Vol lead into a 31-31 deadlock.

''The frustrating thing is, we should've led by 14 at the half, instead of eight,'' he said. ''We had some slippage there at the end of the first half.''

That slippage continued at the start of the second half. After scoring the last four points of the first half, Ole Miss scored the first eight of the second half, forging a 31-all tie. The Rebels never allowed Tennessee's players to regain the momentum thereafter.

As Peterson recalls: ''In the locker room I told 'em, 'These first four minutes are very important to this game. If we can win these first four minutes, it'll be a little bit easier.'

''But we let 'em (Rebels) come out and deliver the punch to us in those first four minutes. That's what was frustrating about the Ole Miss game.''


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