Vols lose critical game at Mizzou, 75-70

COLUMBIA, Mo. (release) --- Tennessee rallied from down by as many as 13 to lead in the second half, but Missouri outlasted the Vols to win, 75-70, on Saturday. Tennessee had two opportunities to tie the game in the final seconds, but couldn't.

The Vols fell to 15-10 overall and 6-6 in the SEC while the Tigers moved to 18-7 overall and are also 6-6 in the league.

Senior Jordan McRae led all scorers with 31 points, his fourth career 30-point game.

Juniors Josh Richardson (16) and Jarnell Stokes (13) combined for 29 points.

Missouri was led by Jabari Brown (24) and Earnest Ross (15).

McRae had tied the game at 62 on a 3-pointer with 5:40 left. But Brown's jumper seconds later recaptured the lead for Mizzou, 64-62. The Tigers would hold the lead for the rest of the way.

Jordan Clarkson, who had three points in the game's first 35 minutes, hit two jumpers late in the game. The second put the Tigers ahead, 70-65 with 2:12 left in the game. Those shots proved to be the final blows to the Vols' chances.

Richardson cut the deficit to one possession as he made all three free throws after being fouled on a trifecta with 34.2 left in the game, 71-68.

Tremendous pressure by the Vols' defense resulted in Derek Reese coming away up a steal with 27.2 left, giving Tennessee a chance to tie the game.

Richardson was fouled with 18.1 and made both free throws to get within one, 71-70. Brown answered with a pair of foul shots with 15.2 left in the game to put Mizzou up 73-70.

The Vols had a chance to tie the game, but McRae's 3-pointer hit the front rim with eight seconds left. The rebound went out of bounds off Missouri, giving Tennessee another chance to tie the game. But the Vols turned the ball over on the inbounds and Johnathan Williams made a pair of free throws to secure the five-point win, 75-70.

The Vols used an 8-0 run to take a 55-51 lead with 11 minutes left in the game -- that was the Vols' largest lead of the game. Missouri proceeded to score nine of the next 11 points in the game to regain the lead at 60-57 on a 3-point play and a jumper by Brown with just under eight minutes left in the game.

Tennessee trailed 41-37 at halftime, as the Vols chipped away to recover from a 13-point deficit early in the game. McRae (14) and Stokes (11) combined for 25 of the Vols' 37 points in the half.

A 3-point play by Stokes with 1:30 left, brought the Vols to within two at 37-35. But Missouri scored the next four points to regain a six-point advantage.

Missouri hit 8-of-9 to start the game as the Tigers jumped out to a 24-11 lead with 11 minutes left in the first half.

This was just the eighth meeting all-time between the new SEC foes, with the Tigers holding a 5-3 lead. It was Tennessee's first game in Columbia since 1984.

The Vols return to action on Tuesday at Georgia travels to Knoxville for a 9 p.m., tip-off. The game airs on ESPNU and can be heard on the Vol Network.

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