OXFORD, Miss. — No. 7 Tennessee hit a last-second shot to hang on for a 73-71 win over Ole Miss on Wednesday night, but Rebels fans were enraged by a offensive foul called in the final second and threw garbage onto the court in protest.
Tennessee’s Grant Williams hit a driving layup with four seconds remaining to give the Vols a 72-71 lead.
Ole Miss got the ball and guard Devontae Shuler got set for a deep 3 with 1.1 seconds remaining, but he was called for a charge on Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield.
Eight Ole Miss players protested pro-Confederate rallies on Saturday by kneeling during the anthem before a game. Prior to Wednesday’s game, all of the players stood.
Rebels head coach Kermit Davis threw his jacket on the ground in protest and was given a technical foul. Williams hit one of two free throws for the final margin.
Ole Miss fans then began showering the floor with drinks, shirts and other trash.
Tennessee forward D.J. Burns and guard Lamonte Turner were both hit by thrown objects. Burns got hit in the face with a red shirt as he walked off. He unfolded it and held it up to the crowd as he walked into the tunnel, as fans yelled at him.
“It was close. Our fans were unbelievable and I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did,” Davis said after the game. “I threw my jacket and I think that might have enticed the crowd, so I apologize for that. I was just being competitive in the moment.”
Tennessee coach Rick Barnes lauded the Rebels’ effort, saying, “Nobody will look forward to playing Ole Miss. That is like a Sweet 16, Elite Eight-type game. It gets down to one possession, two possessions, both teams played so hard. … Kermit has done a great job with his team.”
After surviving a hard-fought game with Ole Miss, the Vols next face No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats in Knoxville on Saturday. Barnes didn’t want to think about that yet.
“I’m just eager to get home right now, to be honest with you,” Barnes said. “We’ll start talking about them tomorrow.”