Tennessee (7-2) got off to a hot start against North Carolina (10-1) on Sunday afternoon, as it controlled the tempo and led for over 37 minutes of the game. The Tar Heels proved last year’s win was no fluke, as Kenny Williams put a dagger in the Vols with 35 seconds remaining. Tennessee struggled late, as it only made three baskets in the final 10 minutes of play.
The Vols played stingy defense in the first half, and looked to be in complete control as they exchanged blows with the defending national champions.
Grant Williams, the North Carolina native who didn’t receive a scholarship from his favorite team growing up, led the Vols with 15 points. Lamonte Turner was sluggish in the game for Tennessee, putting up only two points in 24 minutes off the bench.
With the loss, Tennessee snapped its streak of five-straight wins over defending national champions in Thompson-Boling. That list included Connecticut and both Florida and Kentucky, but hadn’t been touched since Kentucky put the streak on the line in 2013.
The Vols were off to a hot start both offensively and defensively, as Jordan Bowden opened the game with a dunk off of a steal to put the Vols up 2-0 and electrify the crowd. Tennessee carried a six point lead in to halftime.
Joel Berry II, who didn’t play in last season’s contest against Tennessee, proved to be the difference maker for North Carolina. Berry II led the way for North Carolina with 21 points. Williams and Luke Maye added 15 for the Heels.
After a hot start to the second half, Tennessee proved its defense couldn’t do all of the work. The Vols made four of five shots out of the locker room after halftime, including two 3-pointers by Admiral Schofield, but failed to produce any offense for the remainder of the contest, making only 7 of 31 shots the rest of the way.
Tennessee will host Furman, who has won five straight games, on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Edited by Ben McKee
Feature image courtesy of the NCAA