Last year's meeting featured Number 1 Memphis versus Number 2 Tennessee. In that game, Tennessee gave the Tigers their only regular-season loss, 66-62, knocking the U of M out of the top spot. This year, neither team is ranked among the top 10, but emotions were still high in the orange-soaked Summitt.
The teams traded baskets early, with neither squad able to draw ahead by more than 5 points in the first half. Memphis super-freshman Tyreke Evans got into early foul trouble and spent most of the opening period on the bench. Doneal Mack and Antonio Anderson kept the Tigers close in the low-scoring defensive struggle, with Anderson hitting a long, buzzer-beating three to close the halftime gap to 29-28.
After the intermission, Evans got hot and the Tigers led by eight midway through the half. The Vols rallied behind Wayne Chism's 11 points to cut that lead to one point, but Evans closed out the game by scoring the Tigers' last 7 points, including a free throw with one second left. A final desperation heave by Tennessee's Tyler Smith fell short.
Recap and box score here.