Jan. 7, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- After watching Gonzaga fall behind Tennessee in the second half, coach Mark Few thought, 'Here we go again.'
His team seemed on the verge of losing its fourth straight game for only the second time in Few's 10-year career with the Zags.
"It's human nature," Few said. "I just told the guys we've got to get back to savoring the moment and savoring the competition. It's the last couple of minutes. It's time."
That's just what Gonzaga did. Matt Bouldin tied a career high with 26 points to help the Zags upset the 15th-ranked Vols 89-79 in overtime on Wednesday night.
With 26 seconds left in regulation, Tyler Smith hit a layup for Tennessee to tie the game at 73. Bouldin missed a shot at the other end of the floor, and Wayne Chism came up with the ball in the ensuing scramble, but couldn't get it to the Vols' end of the floor before time expired.
It was all Gonzaga (9-4) in the extra period, as Austin Daye hit a 3-pointer and four free throws to help the Zags grab their second win over the Vols for the season. Gonzaga won 83-74 on Nov. 30 in the Old Spice Classic championship in Orlando, Fla.
"It was great to be able to do it and I told the guys we probably had to dig deeper than they've dug to get it done in overtime," Few said. "That showed a ton of character and a ton of will to win."
Daye had 20 points, and Josh Heytvelt added 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Gonzaga lost an overtime match against Connecticut on Dec. 20 and dropped subsequent games to Portland State and Utah.
"We just got our swagger back," Daye said.
Gonzaga's victory broke a 37-game home winning streak for Tennessee (9-4), the second longest such streak among Division I programs behind Notre Dame's 43-game streak.
Gonzaga jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but Cameron Tatum answered with 14-straight points for the Vols.
Tennessee led by 15 points in the first half off a 3-point shot with 8:17 left by Cameron Tatum. Tatum scored a career-high 22 points, tying his previous high of 19 points by halftime.
Smith added 17 points and Chism had 15 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds.
Gonzaga retook the lead with four straight 3-point baskets by Bouldin, Daye and Steven Gray, grabbing a 50-49 lead with 15:33 to go. The teams traded leads until overtime.
The Zags hit 52.5 percent from the floor and 10 3-pointers. Tennessee made only 36. 3 percent of its field goals and hit only six 3s.
"Gonzaga's second-half shooting was the difference," said Vols coach Bruce Pearl, who lost his first non-conference home game. "Once we got into overtime, we missed two layups and started forcing shots."
The Zags host Portland on Saturday in their first West Coast Conference play of the season, while the Vols travel to Georgia for their first Southeastern Conference match.
"This is our season now. This is what we've been working for," Tatum said of SEC play. We just need to get back up in the good graces of coach and the rest of the world and show them what we can do."