KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee was down by a point with 25 seconds left when coach Bruce Pearl called a timeout to set up the Volunteers’ final play.
Scotty Hopson figured the ball would be in the hands of go-to post player Wayne Chism. Instead, Pearl made Chism the decoy this time and told Hopson to take the shot.
“I’ll get it if we’re maybe down two and need a 3,” Hopson said. “We obviously needed a big shot, and coach had the confidence to put it in my hands so I stepped up and knocked it down.
Well, first he had to shake Chandler Parsons, who didn’t fall for Chism’s decoy, and adjust the designed shot. He hit a fading jumper over Parsons’ head just in front of the 3-point line with 21 seconds left to give No. 14 Tennessee a 61-60 win over Florida on Sunday.
“I thought he would be more open. He did not get much of a look, but he made a play himself,” Pearl said. “It is a big shot.”
Perhaps the biggest of his short career.
The basket gave the Volunteers (16-4, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) their sixth straight win over their East Division rival and fifth straight victory in Knoxville. It also kept Tennessee from dropping a third game in the row, which the Vols have only done once under Pearl.
Alex Tyus, who led the Gators with 18 points, had a chance to grab the lead back for Florida (15-6, 4-3) but missed a jumper in the middle of a crowd under the basket with 5 seconds left, and Hopson came away with the defensive rebound.
After playing poorly in the first half, Chism led the Vols with 16 points and 11 rebounds and hit two key free throws with 42 seconds left. J.P. Prince scored 12, and Hopson finished with 10.
No. 10 Purdue 66, Penn State 46
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Robbie Hummel scored 23 points to help No. 10 Purdue to its fourth straight win. Hummel made four 3-pointers and had six rebounds.
South Florida 70, No. 17 Pittsburgh 61
TAMPA, Fla. — Dominique Jones scored 37 points and South Florida extended its school-best Big East winning streak to three games with a victory over sputtering Pittsburgh.
Jones made 10 of 20 shots from the field and 14 of 17 free throws. USF (14-7, 4-5) nearly squandered a 14-point lead down the stretch, but held on by making 11 of 14 free throws in the final three minutes.
Arkansas 80, No. 18 Mississippi 73
OXFORD, Miss. — Mike Washington had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Marshawn Powell added 19 and two key blocks in the final 1½ minutes to rally Arkansas.
No. 20 Ohio St. 85, Minnesota 63
COLUMBUS, Ohio (— William Buford scored a career-high 26 points, and Evan Turner and Jon Diebler each had 19 to lead Ohio State past Minnesota for its fifth win in six games.