Vanderbilt's Tyrin Lawrence stuns No. 6 Tennessee with perfect buzzer-beater
Tyrin Lawrence and the Vanderbilt Commodores executed their final play perfectly Wednesday.
It resulted in by far their biggest win of the season.
Lawrence caught a pass from Ezra Manjon in the corner and expertly drilled a 3-pointer as time expired at Memorial Gymnasium to secure the Commodores’ 66-65 upset win over No. 6 Tennessee.
DORES WIN!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/JLG5f4Y4iv
— Vanderbilt Men's Basketball (@VandyMBB) February 9, 2023
The final play came after a tight game the entire way through, with neither team leading by more than five points. Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi hit a 3-pointer with about two minutes left to tie the game at 63, and Olivier Nkamhoua hit a jumper to put the Volunteers up in the final minute.
Tennessee had several chances in the final 15 seconds to seal the win as well, including what would have been a simple Julian Phillips dunk and a Vescovi free throw. Yet Phillips dribbled out what would've been a simple two points.
"I am not sure what was going through his head there," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said of Phillips' decision, via the Knoxville News Sentinel. "I don't think he will ever make that mistake again."
Vescovi's free throw was off the mark, too, which set up Lawrence's winning bucket.
Lawrence finished with a game-high 19 points after shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Liam Robbins added 14 points and 9 rebounds. The win marked Vanderbilt’s second straight after a three-game losing skid and brought the Commodores to 12-12 this season. The win was their first against their in-state rivals in 12 tries.
Vescovi led Tennessee with 14 points on the night, and Tyreke Key added 14 points off the bench. Nkamhoua and Phillips, who finished with 10 points each, were the only other Volunteers to hit double figures on the night.
The Volunteers have struggled since their win over Texas in the Big12/SEC Challenge last month. They fell to unranked Florida by 13 immediately after and then narrowly beat Auburn on Saturday despite putting up just 46 points as a team.
Tennessee will take on Missouri at home on Saturday before a matchup with No. 3 Alabama next week. If Barnes is going to lead Tennessee to the SEC title, he'll have to figure things out quickly.