Mizzou hits wild buzzer-beater to stun No. 6 Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — DeAndre Gholston hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Missouri a stunning 86-85 victory over No. 6 Tennessee on Saturday night.

With 4.2 seconds left in the game and the Volunteers (19-6, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) leading 85-83, Santiago Vescovi missed a free throw. His second attempt was waived off when Tobe Awaka committed a lane violation, setting up a final chance for the Tigers (19-6, 7-5).

Gholston took the inbounds pass and dribbled up the court before taking an off-balance contested 3-pointer from about 30 feet that swished through the net at the buzzer for the win. He was mobbed by his teammates after hitting the shot.

“I knew Dre wasn’t going to pass,” Missouri coach Dennis Gates said. Gholston hit a game-winning shot earlier in the season against Central Florida.

The end was similar to Tennessee’s Wednesday night loss to Vanderbilt. Vescovi missed a free throw then and a 3-pointer at the buzzer ended the game. The Vols have now lost three of the past four.

“This had a different feel than the other night,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “We all hurt for [Vescovi]. He’s hurting. He’s won a lot of games for us.”

Tennessee came back from a 17-point deficit early in the second half and led the last 7:11 of the game. Tyreke Key came off the bench to score 21 of his 23 points after intermission.

Key connected on five 3-pointers to help the Volunteers recover from the huge hole that happened early in the second half. Vescovi, who scored 16 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers that finally pulled Tennessee ahead with 7:15 to go in the game.

Zakai Zeigler had 11 points and 10 assists for the Vols.

“We almost panicked,” Gates said. “Our guys stayed with the game plan. We were able to move the ball and challenged ourselves on the 3-point line [the Tigers shot 54%, 14 of 26]. That’s our identity.”

Kobe Brown scored 21 to lead the Tigers. Gholston finished with 18 points, Sean East had 17 and D’Moi Hodge added 14.

“I’m proud we were able to execute under adverse situations,” Gates said.

Missouri, which shoots 34% from 3 on the season, hit 50% (8 of 16) of its long-range shots in the first half en route to a 44-32 lead. It was the fifth time Tennessee has trailed at halftime.

“[Missouri] shot the ball extremely well [in the first half],” Barnes said. “We gave a good effort. We needed to change the game.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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