No. 16 Tennessee Downs No. 24 Marquette, 80-68
Dec. 17, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Wayne Chism scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half, and No. 16 Tennessee beat No. 24 Marquette 80-68 on Tuesday night in the second game of the Southeastern Conference/Big East Invitational.
Tyler Smith had 14 points and Bobby Maze added 10 for the Volunteers (7-2), who came in as the SEC's only ranked team and off a big loss at Temple over the weekend.
Wesley Matthews had 30 points for Marquette (8-2), which had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Tennessee wore down the Golden Eagles, who had only eight players due to injuries. Five Marquette players had at least three fouls apiece midway through the second half.
Lazar Hayward added 14 points for Marquette and Jerel McNeal had 10.
Vanderbilt of the SEC beat South Florida 71-52 in the first game.
On a supposedly neutral court, the Volunteers had the Sommet Center painted orange thanks to the 9,498 fans who showed up to watch them take on one of the Big East's record eight teams ranked in the Top 25. Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl is 6-1 on this court.
The teams swapped the lead seven times with four ties over the first 10 minutes of the second half alone, and Tennessee couldn't lead by more than four. But the Vols used their deeper bench to wear down Marquette with a little help from officials calling the game tightly with 54 fouls.
Chism hit two free throws for the final tie at 48 with 10:08 to go. He added two more free throws 30 seconds later to put the Vols ahead to stay, and that got the junior forward going as he added two dunks. He brought the crowd to its feet by hitting a 3-pointer with 5:59 left for a 65-58 lead--Tennessee's biggest of the game to that point.
Hayward hit a 3 with 2:24 remaining to pull Marquette within 70-68. Josh Tabb answered with a 3 for Tennessee, and fans started chanting "S-E-C" as the final seconds ticked off.
Marquette looked ready to roll over Tennessee in the first half, taking a 15-6 lead on a free throw by Matthews with 13:14 to go. The Vols, who missed their first five 3-point attempts, started going inside and whittled away at the lead. Brian Williams gave Tennessee its first lead since the opening basket, 24-23 with 6:24 left.
Matthews hit another 3 with 19.5 seconds left to tie the score at 32 going into halftime.