No UT-C replay

In addition to knowing a lot about basketball, Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl knows a little bit about history. For instance, he knows the Vols suffered a humiliating 69-68 home-floor loss to UT-Chattanooga on Dec. 5, 2004 in a game that proved to be the beginning of the end for predecessor Buzz Peterson.

Thus, Pearl was a little leery as his team took the floor exactly one year and one day later – Dec. 6, 2005 – to face Appalachian State. The circumstances, you see, were eerily similar.

Like the 2004 UT-C game, the Appy State game featured a lightly regarded mid-major opponent from the Southern Conference. Like the 2004 UT-C game, this one was held at Thompson-Boling Arena. Like the 2004 UT-C game, Tennessee was supposed to win handily but lacked the overall talent to do so.

So, when the visiting Mountaineers raced to a 41-29 first-half lead, Pearl must've been wondering if he was destined to suffer the same sort of home-floor humiliation that befell Peterson 366 days earlier. Fortunately for Tennessee, the crisis passed. The Vols rallied to win 89-81, extending their unbeaten record to 5-0 and enabling Pearl to avoid an embarrassing home-court setback.

"This was sort of reminiscent of a year ago yesterday, when Chattanooga came in and beat us," a relieved Pearl noted moments after the game. "It was a similar kind of game, a similar kind of team.

"Fortunately for us, it was a different result."


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