Sunday, January 10, 2010
Instant analysis: Tennessee 76, Kansas 68
By Brian Bennett
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Instant analysis of No. 15 Tennessee's 76-68 upset of No. 1 Kansas at Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday:
How the game was won: Tennessee had only six scholarship players available against the nation's No. 1 team because of the arrests of four Volunteers on New Year's Day. Bruce Pearl's squad was further thinned by foul trouble, as starters Wayne Chism and J.P. Prince each picked up his fourth foul within seconds of each other early in the second half. But thanks to key contributions from walk-ons and just plain outhustling the disjointed Jayhawks, the Volunteers somehow patched enough together to score one of the season's big upsets. Kansas was never in rhythm offensively and got less-than-usual production from stars Cole Aldrich (seven points) and Xavier Henry (10 points, one field goal attempt in the second half).
Turning point: After Kansas used a 7-0 run to tie the game at 64 with 4:21 left, Tennessee's Bobby Maze used a crossover dribble and swished a jumper with the shot clock dwindling. On the other end, Prince stole a pass and fed Scotty Hopson for a dunk to make it 68-64 and reverse the momentum. Tennessee answered with its own 7-0 run for a 71-64 edge with under two minutes to play.
Player of the game: Maze finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, made several big plays down the stretch and held things together when Chism and Prince were glued to the bench with fouls.
Unsung hero: Tennessee's Renaldo Woolridge hit four 3-pointers -- including three straight difficult ones in a first-half stretch -- and tied his career high with 14 points. Woolridge had made only seven 3-point field goals on the season coming into the game.
Play of the game: Kansas had edged back to within three points in the final minute when walk-on Skylar McBee was forced into taking a leaning 3-pointer with one second left on the shot clock. He drained it, giving the Volunteers the last lift they'd need to win the game.
Stat of the game: Kansas had 16 turnovers, to only seven by the Volunteers.
What it means: There will be a new No. 1 come Monday, as Kansas suffered its first defeat after a 14-0 start. The Jayhawks have some re-evaluating to do going into Big 12 play after a tough two-game stretch that included a close shave at home against Cornell. Tennessee proved it could beat a big-time opponent without its missing four contributors. Time will tell if the Volunteers can continue this level of play with a depleted roster.