Tennessee shook off some rust and sloppiness to beat Mississippi State 62-59 this evening and advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament.
It wasn’t pretty.
The Vols had 17 turnovers, shot 33.3% from the field, 25% from the arc, and 60.7% from the free throw line. Grant Williams had only 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting, and Admiral Schofield managed only 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
But it was enough.
Despite not shooting well, Tennessee did turn in a good performance on the boards and on defense. They had a 50-33 total rebound advantage over the Bulldogs, 22-10 on the offensive glass. And Lamonte Turner nearly had a double-double, scoring a team-high 15 points and pulling down 8 rebounds to go along with 4 steals.
Tennessee was mostly in control for much of the game, although both teams seemed to be (understandably) rattled for an extended period of time after a scary injury to Nick Weatherspoon, who was carted off on a stretcher early in the second half. He’d landed hard underneath the basket and stayed there while play continued. When his brother and teammate Quindarry Weatherspoon drove toward the basket on a fastbreak after a steal, no official stopped the play, and both Quindarry and Kyle Alexander (who was defending and in pursuit) landed on Nick. Alexander appeared to inadvertently land with a foot on Weatherspoon’s head and neck area, and Weatherspoon remained motionless for several minutes before being secured to a stretcher and taken to the hospital. Prayers for him and his family. The latest report:
— MSU Men’s Basketball 🏀 (@HailStateMBK) March 10, 2018
When both teams had regained their footing, Mississippi State continued to threaten, but the Vols managed to stay ahead of each threat. The Bulldogs had an excellent chance to take the lead on their last possession of the game:
It was a good shot, but they missed, and so the Vols advance. They’ll play the winner of the Arkansas-Florida game that is being played right now. The tip for that game is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET.