Top-ranked Tennessee rallies, beats Vanderbilt 88-83 in OT

Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT)-- In a nail biter of a game, Tennessee's basketball team managed to pull off an overtime win against rival Vanderbilt. The final score was 88-83.

The game started strong for Tennessee, the team jumped out to a 13 point, 15-2 lead, but watched Vandy rally on the strength of clutch outside shooting to pull to within one point at 38-37 at halftime.

The Commodores would continue their clutch shooting in the second half, while the Vols began to struggle from the floor. Vanderbilt, which came into the game winless in the SEC at 0-5, would take a 70-65 lead.

Tennessee would hang tough behind the inspired play of junior standout Grant Williams to pull to within two points at 72-70 with just over two minutes to play.

Regulation play ended with a tied score of 76-76 prompting the game to go into overtime, where the Vols finished with a hard fought win.

National Player of the Year candidate Grant Williamsposted one of the most dominant performances in program history to lift No. 1 Tennessee to an 88-83 victory in overtime against Vanderbilt in Memorial Gym Wednesday night.

Williams finished with a career-high 43 points and also tallied eight rebounds, four blocks, two assists and a key steal to carry the Vols (17-1, 6-0 SEC) to their 13th-consecutive win. It was the most points scored in a game by a Vol since all-time leading scorer Allan Houston also dropped 43 against LSU on Feb. 10, 1990. Williams' effort also tied for the fifth-most points in a single game in school history.

The junior forward was 10-of-15 from the field and a program-record 23-of-23 from the free-throw line. That mark broke the Tennessee records for most free throws in a game and consecutive free throws in a single game, surpassing Bill Justus' 22 total makes and 18 consecutive free throw makes vs. Ohio on March 17, 1969.

Tennessee rallied late in the second half, going on a 6-0 run during the final 1:22 of play. A jumper in the lane by Admiral Schofield with 38 seconds left tied things up at 76-76. UT got the final shot off with just under 3.3 seconds left in regulation, but it was blocked to send the game to overtime.

Williams was 8-of-10 from the field and 19-of-19 from the free-throw line for 38 points in the second half and overtime. He had 10 of UT's 12 points in overtime to outscore the Commodores (9-9, 0-6 SEC).

The other two overtime points came from a pair of free throws by Jordan Bone with five seconds remaining to put the game away. The Nashville native finished with 14 points and seven assists in the victory.

Vanderbilt had the hot hand in the second half, shooting 51 percent from the floor and 67 percent from beyond the arc. On several occasions, Tennessee forced the Commodores to a throw up a shot with less than five seconds on the shot clock, but VU was able to convert time and time again.

In overtime, Tennessee's defense locked down the Dores, holding Vanderbilt to 2-of-8 shooting from the field and 1-of-6 from 3-point range. A pair of 20-point performers in Aaron Nesmith (24) and Saben Lee (21) led Vanderbilt offensively.

Below is a photo gallery of Wednesday night's Tennessee win courtesy of WVLT's Jim Boofer.