'Memorial Magic' dooms Tennessee

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 2:04am

Tennessee needed 99 years to achieve its first No. 1 basketball ranking.

It took less than two days to lose it.

Falling prey to another night of Memorial Magic, the top-ranked Vols were stunned 72-69 Tuesday by No. 18 Vanderbilt before 14,325 fans at a rocking Memorial Gym.

Four No. 1 teams have entered Memorial since 1987. Each has been defeated.

This time, the victim was archrival Tennessee, which received its first-ever top ranking Monday, two days after winning at previously top-ranked Memphis.

At Vanderbilt, such games are called Memorial Magic. On Tuesday, it was also about desire.

“Vanderbilt deserves all the credit,” UT guard Chris Lofton said. “They came out with passion and had more intensity in their eyes. They wanted it more than us tonight, and it showed.”

The Commodores beat a No. 1 foe for the second straight season after also knocking off Florida a year ago.

This one, they say, was equally memorable.

“Everybody was jumping around, happy, hugging each other,” VU guard Jermaine Beal said in describing his team’s post-game scene in the locker room.

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings, however, wasn’t in a nostalgic mood.

“Tonight is big,” he said. “I don’t know. I’ll let you know if it was special in a few days. Right now I’m tired.”

Shan Foster scored 32 points to lead the Commodores, who extended their winning streak to seven games and improved to 24-4 overall and 9-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

Tennessee [25-3, 11-2] was led by Lofton’s 25 points.

Beating the Vols required the Commodores to grind it out in the second half as both teams struggled to shoot from the field while one foul after another was called.

Vanderbilt didn’t score a basket in the final 5:26, instead relying on 8-for-10 shooting from the free throw line down the stretch to secure the victory.

The inspired Commodores, hoping to atone for last month’s 20-point loss at Tennessee, charged to a 23-9 lead and seemingly had the Vols on the ropes.

However, six points early in the second half by Lofton gave Tennessee a 36-33 lead.

In addition, Vanderbilt center A.J. Ogilvy, one of the team’s primary offensive weapons, was plagued by foul trouble and played only eight minutes in the second half and 12 for the game.

The Commodores turned to senior swingman Shan Foster, who poured in 19 of his game-high 32 points in the second half, including a key 3-pointer with 5:26 remaining to hand VU a 64-56 advantage.

“Your job as a team is to find ways to win,” Stallings said. “If our main guys are in foul trouble, someone has to come in and win it for you.”

Vanderbilt made 17 of its 25 free throws in the second half.

“I thought we put ourselves in a position there in the second half, on the road, to be able to gut one out again,” Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. “We fouled and sent them to the foul line a boatload of times. I thought that was a real difference because both teams were having a real hard time scoring.”

The Commodores led by eight two more times in the final 3:25 before Tennessee made its final charge, cutting the deficit to 69-64 with 2:09 left on two free throws by Ramar Smith.

Vanderbilt got the ball to Foster on the next two possessions, and he made three of four three throws.

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By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 6:00

All together now: OVERRATED!! OVERRATED!! OVERRATED!! OVERRATED!!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Hey Jeff, after ut beat Vandy in knoxville, you said NO WAY, Vandy would win in Nashville! Take that! HAHAHAHA! I never rub it in, but I am making an exception for you because you ran your mouth! Now with that out of the way, props to the Vols on a great game. WTG, VANDY!

By: UTHATERS on 12/31/69 at 6:00

WAY TO GO VANDY. YOUR FANS LOVE YOU!!.GREAT JOB. AND TO ALL YOU UT FANS EAT IT!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

LOL!! Any bets on how fast it will take this to become the official UT whine/excuse thread?Great win for Vandy.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Is it a requirement for a basketball scholarship at UT that a player has multiple tatoos? It looks repulsive!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gdiafante, there will be a flood warning issued by the National Weather Service from all the crying that ut fans are doing.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Leave it to passive fan Frank, to not celebrate the Vandy win!

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Now maybe Vandy can beat a decent team on the road.

By: mama on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Did anyone notice, it appeared Prince left the floor without shaking hands with Vandy?

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It's funny but Alex Gordon of Vanderbilt looked as if he also had MULTIPLE TATTOOS.

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I'm a UT Fan and I'm not CRYING about the lost. Vandy beat us. At least it was a double digit blow-out like a lot of Vandy fans were saying it would be on the radio since last Thursday.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Please excuse Frank. He's a fanatic.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

jw, 1 point or 50 points, it is still a win and it was even sweeter since ut was favored.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Jw, you are truly a UT fan. No, you aren't crying about the "lost". I didn't realize "it was a double digit blow-out" though...

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It should have read "At least it wasn't a double digit lose" SMART A##.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

JWK6179, you are absolutely correct. Gordon does have multiple tatoos....That is the reason he was so voraciously recruited by the University of Tennessee. GDIAFANTE,you are incorrect. There is no room for fanaticism in the world that I live in. Check in at the Sommett Center for a look at "fanatics"
"14855

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yet you allude to Preds fans in a Vandy/UT thread. I'm not sure what world you live in, but it isn't reality.And it's "tattoos". If you're going to question the intelligence of those who are recruited by UT, at least spell correctly.

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

UT is not the only college team that has players with multiple tattoos. Just look at just about ANY NCAA basketball team and a VAST MAJORITY of the teams will have several players that have MULTIPLE TATTOOS, not just UT.

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 6:00

frank, um, you ever heard of the National Basketball Association or the National Football League? You should watch these 2 sports leagues, it's fascinating. A lot of the players in these 2 leagues (who avg. making 4-5 hundred thousand dollars a year) have, um, well, TATTOOS! (gasp!). I know, I know, I know, it's soooo gross. But you should check it out. And some of them have....earrings!!! Horrors!

By: theplantsman on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Bruce Pearl’s men’s basketball team may want to return “How to Shoot Free-Throws” by Shaquille O'Neal, and get their money back. All kidding aside; this and the Vols vs. Memphis game were awesome. GREAT GAME VOLS. GREAT GAME AND VICTORY DORES!

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Only hockey fans are fanatics, right Frank? Look it up. It's on Wikipedia. Not in any other sport. Not at all.

By: nwilkerson on 12/31/69 at 6:00

All this talk of tatoos is covering up the real issue which is this: 4 TEAMS HAVE COME INTO MEMORIAL RANKED #1 SINCE 1987, AND ALL 4 HAVE LEFT WITH ANOTHER NOTCH IN THE "L" COLUMN! I hope that UT enjoyed their 36 hour stint atop the college basketball world! B/C it's over now! BTW SHAN FOSTER LEFT LITTLE DOUBT THAT HE DESERVES TO BE PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN THE SEC!!! GO DORES!!!

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

But did you hear Jimmy Sykes, who was doing color on ESPN, state that Shan Foster was a ONE-DIMENSIONAL PLAYER that can't play defense, he can only shoot. He also said the same thing about Chris Lofton.

By: probert2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Go Dores! Really proud of them. They didnt turn the ball over which eliminated UT's cheap easy buckets and UT could'nt produce enough half court buckets to win. Vandy plays much better half court team ball. Keep it up Vandy!

By: probert2 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yeah, he said Foster could only shoot at home too. Well guess that settles it. Sykes is an idot.

By: doctormack on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I believe it is Jimmy Dykes, and yes he is a moron. He said foster had no mid-range game. Clearly, he did not watch any tape of Vandy's prior game(a victory over Georgia). Had he done this, he would have seen a vast array of fall away mid range jumpers. I believe he went 8 out of 8 on 2 point FG's in that game. What a 'tard that guy is. Also, Stallings reglarly puts foster on the oppositions best offensive player. And usually foster does an adequate job. I am a vandy guy, and this was a big win for the 'dores, but UT is good as well. Overall, go SEC!

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Jimmy Sykes said that Chris Lofton being a one deminsional player was the reason that Kentucky did not sign him....If that is true Kentucky fans should now be aware of why their great program is at the same level at that of Ole Miss,Auburn,South Carolina and Miss State. Jimmy Dykes gets my vote for his comments about Foster and Lofton for being the most arrogant dumb bell of the season.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Where is cocheese? He was running his mouth on how the vols were going to win! He said he would be here! I guess he or she is still drowning his sorrows!