The Tennessee Volunteers kept their tournament hopes alive on Saturday with a 64-62 win over the Missouri Tigers.
Tennessee used a balanced all-around attack to take the down the Tigers. Jordan McRae led the charge for the Vols, scoring 15 points. Four Volunteers scored in double-figures. Jarnell Stokes had his 14th double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Trae Golden added 12 points and Josh Richardson scored 11 points.
The Tigers led by eight in the second half, but the Vols took the lead for good with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Laurence Bowers led the Tigers in scoring with 20 points.
Prior to Tennessee’s victory Joe Lunardi listed the Vols as one of the first four teams out, as a result of Kentucky’s win over Florida. After the Vol’s win Lunardi had Tennessee as the one of the last four in the tournament.
The Vols desperately needed a win today, a loss would have ended their tournament hopes.
Tennessee is still far from a lock for a tournament bid. The Vols will need a strong showing in the SEC tournament next week to solidify a spot. The Vols could also use some losses by some of the other bubble teams. The Virginia Cavaliers, one of Lunardi’s last four out, take on the Maryland Terrapins tomorrow. Both teams could be considered bubbles teams, but the Cavaliers are the bigger threat to Tennessee’s tournament hopes.
The Vols shouldn’t break out the dancing shoes quite yet, but there’s a very good chance, if they can win at least a game in the SEC tournament, that the Vols will be a part of the field of 68.