Vols Fall To West Virginia 65-62

It was tale of two halves without a Hollywood ending for Tennessee (4-2), as the Vols blew a 16-point second half lead and dropped a 65-62 decision to West Virginia in Morgantown Saturday.

The Vols enjoyed a 43-30 advantage at intermission and built the cushion to 16 points in the early stages of the second half, but Ron Slay picked up two quick fouls, including his fourth with 15:44 to go, forcing him to the bench and giving the Moutaineers the opportunity to seize momentum.

West Virginia (7-1) went on a rampage and took the lead at 63-60 late in the game on a 3-point shot by 6-10, forward Kevin Pittsnogle that banked off the glass and into the hoop as the shot clock expired. The Vols had three shots to tie the game in the final minute of play but couldn't get anything to go down. Slay and C.J. Watson both misfired on 3-point attempts that would have tied the game before the final buzzer. When these teams met last season in Knoxville, West Virginia pulled out a victory with a shot a the final horn.

The statistics reflected Tennessee's dropoff in the second stanza, as the Vols shot only 8-of-25 from the field (32 percent) aftering hitting 17-of-32 in the first half. UT only had six turnovers in the first half, but finished the game with 17 after committing 11 miscues in the second half. Tennessee finished the game shooting 43 percent while West Virginia connected on 25-of-50 from the the field.

The Vols were led by Brandon Crump with 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Slay added 10 points and five rebounds. Watson scored seven points and dished out a team-high five assists. Jon Higgins and Derek Stribling added eight points each while Elgrace Wilborn finished with six points and a game-high eight rebounds. The Vols held a decisive 41-to-23 edge on the boards.

West Virginia, which extended its winning streak to six straight, was led by sophomore guard Drew Schfino who hit 11-of-19 from the field for 28 points. Pittsnogle added 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting as the Mountaineer duo combined for 43 points on 16-of-26 shooting.

Tennessee, which saw its modest two-game winning streak stopped, returns to action Monday at home against Western Carolina.

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