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This Week in UT Sports History – Jan. 11th-17th

(Photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics)

This Week in UT Sports History is a weekly series written by RTI columnist Lexie Little

The Lady Vols (8-1) picked up their first two wins of conference play last week including a narrow victory against LSU (4-6) decided by one point, 64-63. Kellie Harper’s team had upset No. 13 Arkansas (10-4) to open Southeastern Conference play, 88-73, on Jan. 7 in Knoxville.

Meanwhile, the No.  9 men’s basketball team improved to 9-1 on the season following a 79-74 win against Arkansas at home and a 68-54 victory against Texas A&M on the road. Sophomore guard Santiago Vescovi led the way for the Vols (9-1) in the latter matchup, sinking six 3-pointers on his way to 23 total points, a career high.

As basketball seasons heat up this winter, Rocky Top Insider takes a look back at moments this week in UT sports history:

Jan. 14, 2004

Rick Barnes and the Vols will face Vanderbilt tomorrow night to continue SEC play in search of their 10th win. In 2004, Tennessee beat the in-state rivals from Nashville on a January night in Knoxville. The Vols entered the matchup with a 9-2 record, 1-1 in conference play. By game’s end, their record stood a 10-2 with a second conference win, 76-66, against the Commodores.

Five-point margins decided both the first and second halves. Tennessee led 31-26 at halftime before adding 45 more points to clinch the win, as Vanderbilt only picked up 40. The Vols got off to a hot start with two offensive rebounds in the first minute. They crashed the boards, outrebounding Vandy 44-30.

Forward Brandon Crump accounted for 20 of Tennessee’s points, as did guard Scooter McFadgon. Crump had earned Edamerica Athlete of the Month honors just three days prior following a breakout run in December. He averaged 18.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while leading the orange and white to a 5-1 record in the last month of 2003. The lone loss to Nebraska remained memorable for the junior, however, as he picked up a career-high 25 points in the game.

Tennessee struggled in the latter half of the 2003-04 season. Alabama dominated the men in orange and white in the first round of the SEC Tournament, 84-49, before the Vols faced elimination in the first round of the NIT. They fell to George Mason by three points, 58-55, to end the season. After starting 10-2, the Vols finished 17-14 with an abysmal road record of 1-10. They continued to struggle the following season with a losing 16-17 record, though they did improve to 3-11 on the road.

The 2020 -21 team faces the Commodores tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. as a result of COVID-19 scheduling adjustments following positive tests, contact tracing and quarantines in the South Carolina and Missouri programs. The broadcast will air on ESPN 2. The Vols will face the same Vanderbilt team again this Saturday in Knoxville at 6:00 p.m. That game will air on SEC Network.

Jan. 14, 1911

Long before the Vols beat the Dores, 93 years before to be exact, Tennessee’s men’s basketball program picked up a regional win against Maryville. The first win of the 1911 season came 110 years ago this week as the Vols outscored the team from just along the road, 36-28.

Program play began around 1909 with a 2-5 season from Jan. 22 to Feb. 4 of that year. The Vols earned a 7-8 record during the 1909-10 season, losing to perennial powerhouse Kentucky, 20-5, in an early matchup. They didn’t fare much better in the 1910-11 season with a record of 7-9. That season, Tennessee faced both Duke and North Carolina. The Vols lost to Duke, 48-25, before a loss to North Carolina the next day, 40-21, as they visited the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill triangle area.

The Vols improved the following season with a 5-5 season before their first winning season in 1912-13. The 1912-13 team won nine of 14 games, though they lost to eventual conference rival Georgia twice, 52-22 and 38-13 on Jan. 17 and Feb. 6, respectively. The 1913-14 season, however, gave the program one of its best winning percentages with a 15-2 overall record (0.882). Tennessee remained perfect at home and lost two games on the road, both losses to Kentucky (20-14 and 20-18).

The Vols currently hold a 0.900 win percentage for the 2020-21 season. They will hope to avoid the same fate as the 1914 team: consecutive losses to the same opponent in one week to spoil the record.

Jan. 14, 1989

A 67-59 loss to Auburn on Jan. 6, 1989, stung for Pat Summitt and her Lady Vol team. The game marked their first loss of the season after staring 11-0. Following a 30+ point win against Stetson, the Lady Vols set out to prove their prowess against the SEC West once again, this time facing Ole Miss at home. A seven-point decision ended in Tennessee’s favor as the Lady Vols downed Ole Miss, 68-61. Two days later, they would defeat the other Mississippi team –Mississippi State – by a final score of 79-54.

The win against Ole Miss seemed to reignite some passion for the Lady Vols as they realized close games remained a possibility on their slate if they failed to give their all for Tennessee. Just one week later, they beat Kentucky by 44 points, hanging 101 on the border state team. They continued down the conference slate with an 80-60 win against Vanderbilt and 78-64 win against Georgia to close out the first month of 1989.

However, only one SEC team mattered: Auburn.

Summitt’s team avenged their first loss in two key games: the SEC Tournament Championship and the NCAA title game. The Lady Vols beat the Tigers, 66-51, to win the conference tournament title before the national title victory. Tennessee won by a final score of 76-60 to clinch its second of eight program national championships on April 2, 1989.

The Lady Vols held a 35-2 record during the 1988-89 season with the second loss coming against Texas on Jan. 31. Traveling to Austin for the game, Tennessee fell by only two points, 69-67. Both season losses came on the road. However, following the second defeat, the Lady Vols rode a 17-game win streak.

The 2020-21 Lady Vols face Georgia this Jan. 14 (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. in Knoxville. The game will be televised on SEC Network.

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