Despite a feverish comeback, the Tennessee Volunteers’ season came to an end Thursday night in Louisville.
Down by 15 points, Tennessee put the heat on the Purdue Boilermakers at the KFC Yum! Center. They marched all the way back to tie and eventually take the lead in regulation. But shotmaking from both sides and a few calls later, the game would be sent into overtime. And it was there that Purdue pulled away and sunk the Vols, 99-94, to advance to the Elite Eight and put an end to what was a brilliant season for Tennessee.
Purdue was able to walk away victorious thanks to the play of Matt Haarms, Nojel Eastern and Carsen Edwards in overtime. But they certainly wouldn’t have gotten there without the shooting of Ryan Cline. Cline was incredible from deep, making 3-pointer after 3-pointer when they needed him to. Cline scored 27 points and made seven threes in the game. BOth marks certainly displayed just how much of a factor he was down the stretch for the Boilermakers, and he certainly paid dividends.
Tennessee got what they wanted from their two best players on the night, as Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield each scored 21 points. Schofield hit some clutch long range shots himself as well, showing his versatility from the floor. Lamonte Turner was also excellent, all while playing with an injured toe. Turner scored 15 points and shot 6-for-10 from the floor in the process. Jordan Bowden dropped 16 points while Jordan Bone had 10 to give Tennessee five double figure scorers. They simply just seem to run out of gas at the end, because point production was certainly not hard to come by.
This was an unfortunate early end to what was one of the most successful seasons in program history. The Vols were projected to do big things, but a slump of a first half definitely put them in an unenviable position. They wiled their way to get the game to oT, but a costly foul down the stretch on Edwards and some miscues in the final seconds doomed them. In all, it’ll be a tough pill to swallow, especially after the run this team’s been on the last two seasons.