Grant Williams scored a career-high 43 points and top-ranked Tennessee survived a valiant effort from Vanderbilt in Nashville 88-83 in overtime Wednesday night.
It is the 13th straight win for the Volunteers who improved to 17-1, 6-0 in the SEC.
Tennessee raced out to a 15-4 lead, but then saw that lead completely disappear. The Dores took a 33-32 lead on a layup by Aaron Nesmith who led the Commodores with 24 points.
The 9-9 Dores did not go away and led by 5 late at 70-65, but they had no answer for Williams who scored at will and dominated on the free throw line hitting an amazing 23 of 23.
In overtime, Williams scored the Vols first 10 points. When asked the last time he scored 43 points in a game Williams said, “never”.
Jordan Bone added 14 for the Vols.
Tennessee trailed 76-70 before Williams rallied the Vols in the final 1:22 of regulation. He hit two free throws off a flagrant foul on Clevon Brown with 1:22 left. Williams then scored off an inbounds play to pull the Vols to 76-74, and Admiral Schofield hit a jumper with 38.1 seconds left to tie it at 76.
Williams blocked Lee’s layup, then Aaron Nesmith blocked Jordan Bowden’s layup try for the Vols. After a scramble for the ball, Williams came up with the steal and called timeout with 3.3 seconds to go. Brown blocked Williams’ 3-point try, and the Vols couldn’t get another shot off.
Nesmith had a career-high 24 points, Saban Lee added 21, and Simisola Shittu 10.