Losing is never easy, but it’s especially tough when the loss ends your season.
Tennessee (31-6) stormed back after trailing by 18 points in the second half to take a lead late against Purdue (26-9) in the Sweet Sixteen. The Vols were down 51-33 in the first four minutes of the second half, but they roared back to life and grabbed a 70-67 lead with 5:25 to go in the game.
The two teams exchanged blows for the remaining five minutes and change, and thanks to a controversial foul call on Lamonte Turner with 1.7 seconds left in the second half, the game ended up going to overtime.
In the extra period, Tennessee just didn’t have enough left in the tank after their comeback.
Purdue gutted out a 99-94 victory in overtime, squashing the Vols’ great second half effort. The loss ends Tennessee’s season earlier than the team and fans wanted it to, and the scene in UT’s locker room was understandably very emotional after the game.
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes spoke with the team, telling them how proud he was of them for what they accomplished not only this season, but over the last three and four years. He specifically mentioned Admiral Schofield and Kyle Alexander, the Vols’ two scholarship seniors, and pointed out junior Grant Williams as well.
After a pause, Barnes himself got teared up and called for his team to do one last group prayer. He then embraced all four of Tennessee’s seniors one-by-one, including walk-ons Lucas Campbell and Brad Woodson.
You can watch the entire emotional scene here:
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) March 29, 2019