Date story was published: Thursday, February 18, 1988
KNOXVILLE -- Freshman Greg Bell leaned between Winston Bennett and Ed Davender to hit a double-clutching 12-footer with two seconds left to give Tennessee a 72-70 victory over Kentucky last night.
Bell's game-winner, which gave UK its fourth loss in 22 games, came after teammate Clarence Swearengen appeared to charge into Rex Chapman on a diagonal drive to the basket.
When no call was made, Swearengen passed back to Bell near the foul line.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The shot dropped UK to 10-4 in the Southeastern Conference. It was UK's 14th loss in its last 16 games here.
Tennessee, with embattled Coach Don DeVoe fighting to keep his job, improved to 13-9 overall and 6-7 in the SEC.
UK had the first opportunity to hit a game-winner. After Dyron Nix hit a free throw to tie it at 70-70 with 47 seconds left, the Cats worked 10 seconds off the clock before calling time.
"We wanted to work the clock down to 10 seconds, then give the ball to Rex and run what we call 'One-flat,' " UK coach Eddie Sutton said. "We wanted him to go one-one-one but he never got the ball back."
Instead, freshman Eric Manuel got caught along the baseline and dribbled out of bounds.
"One Tennessee guy grabbed my arm and knocked it loose," Manuel said. When Manuel attempted to regain control, the call was made that he dribbled it out of bounds with 10 seconds left.
Two Nix free throws put Tennessee ahead 69-67 with 2:29 left. The shots came after Doug Roth appeared to commit an over-and-back violation while catching a 47-foot inbounds pass.
Roth intentionally fouled Ed Davender on a breakaway drive. Davender hit one of the two free throws to cut the lead to 69-68 and cap a 27-point night.
Rob Lock's twisting left-handed layup on the ensuing possession put Kentucky ahead 70-69 with 1:16 left.
While the no-call on Swearengen's apparent charge and Bell's 12-footer beat UK, the Cats were guilty of putting themselves in a position to lose.
Tennessee got Kentucky down early by hitting 10 of its first 12 shots. UK trailed by 10 (16-6) less than five minutes into the game.
The Vols got Kentucky down by hitting three-pointers (five in the half) and exploiting UK's suddenly ineffective play.
Last Saturday at Rupp Arena against Alabama, the Cats were an efficient offensive machine. Crisp passing produced uncontested shots. Defensively, the Cats' man-to-man and press took Alabama out of the game early.
Neither quality was apparent in the first half last night. Tennessee's one-on-one forays and post-up moves by Nix and center Roth shot the Cats out of the man-to-man.
Tennessee went ahead 13-4 and it could have been worse. Two of UK's points came courtesy of the crowd, which threw rolls of toilet paper onto the court after Roth scored the game's first basket. Davender made two technical free throws.
Trailing 23-16, UK switched to a 1-2-2 zone with 11:41 left.
That moved helped cool off Tennessee.
Still Tennessee led 44-36 at the break. Only Georgia scored more points in a first half against UK this season. Georgia led UK 45-43 in Atlanta Jan. 2.
The Cats' offense couldn't take full advantage of Tennessee's cooled-off shooting. UK did cut the Vols' lead to as little as six (30-24). Davender led the way, scoring 16 in the half.
But too many one-on-one forced shots kept UK from getting closer.
One press row wag suggested Washington Redskins' quarterback Doug Williams completed more passes in the second quarter of the Super Bowl than the Cats did in the first half.
Mark Griffin, starting for only the second time, hit three three-pointers for Tennessee. Griffin, who was averaging 4.1 points per game, had only been seven of 24 from three-point territory going into the game.
Bell had two three-pointers, part of a 13-point half.
However, it was Bell's two free throws off an offensive rebound that gave Tennessee its largest lead of the half: 39-26.
A hope for a better second half came with 50 seconds left. Nix picked up his third foul. He was called for charging as he posted up away from the ball. A Lock specialty -- the flop when contact is made -- got Nix his third foul.
UK was trailing 50-42 when Tennessee evaporated in a mist of turnovers and missed shots.
Bell rushed and missed two shots in transition with five feet of the basket.
After Manuel, who started the second half in place of LeRon Ellis, hit a baseline jumper to make it 50-44, Tennessee had back-to-back turnovers.
A careless pass created an over-and-back violation. Then Swearengen drove Chapman into the lane, but charged into the waiting Lock.
Baskets by Manuel and Lock gave UK a 9-0 run that produced the Cats' first lead: 51-50 with 12:29 left.
The teams traded baskets over the next five minutes.
Tennessee had the best chance to break away. Ahead 60-59, Nix posted up Richard Madison for a basket.
Chapman got caught in the air and threw away a pass. In transition, Nix's one-hand slam pushed the lead to 64-59.
UK rallied. Lock got a loose ball and dunked.
After Travis Henry missed a jumper, Davender pulled up for a fastbreak jumper in the lane.
Two Chapman baskets completed an 8-0 run that gave UK a 67-64 lead.
But Griffin's fifth three-pointer tied it at 67-67 with 3:18 left, setting the stage for the finish.