DOWN GOES GONZAGA

Three weeks ago, Gonzaga beat undefeated Duke. The Bulldogs rolled to the number one ranked team in the country and were looking unstoppable on both sides of the ball. With just two ranked opponents left on the schedule and conference play ahead, the Zags looked primed to remain number one for a long time.

But Tennessee had other thoughts.

The Volunteers knocked off the best team in the nation by a final score of 76-73 on Sunday afternoon at a neutral location. The win will move No. 7 Tennessee up further in the rankings that will come out on Monday.

The Tennessee defense was the story of the game. The Volunteers forced Gonzaga point guard Josh Perkins into bad shots all game long and he produced a goose egg in the scoring column. Zach Norvell Jr only went 5-13 from the floor and Rui Hachimura was unable to get an uncontested look for much of the game as he missed 10 of his 18 shots as well.

Tennessee was led by their senior leader Admiral Schofield. The guard hit six shots from beyond the arch and beat the Zags at their own game, dropping 30 points on the Gonzaga defense. Grant Williams added 16 points of his own, grabbing 12 boards and dropping seven assists as well.

Tennessee led by one at the end of the half after opening up the game on a 12-3 run. The Volunteers offense was then outscored by high powered Gonzaga, 30-22, but it found its way again in the second half.

A Norvell Jr. three made the score 58-50 in favor of Gonzaga, and it looked like with just 9:10 left that Gonzaga was going to break away. Schofield then scored the next five points to put the Volunteers back in the game.

Tied at 73 with just 24 seconds remaining, Schofield hit a shot from beyond the arch to put Tennessee up for good. Gonzaga had two chances to tie the game up with a three, but both Norvell Jr and Hachimura missed in the final 10 seconds.

Tennessee should move up in the rankings after a solid win over Gonzaga, likely improving to the six spot. Gonzaga should fall out of the one spot, potentially as far as five or six depending on how the committee handles Michigan, Tennessee, Nevada, Virginia and Duke. Expect Kansas to be the No. 1 in the rankings on Monday afternoon.

photo: Rocky Top Talk

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