COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In the longest game in Tennessee basketball history, the Vols extended their winning streak to five games with an epic 93-85 four-overtime win at Texas A&M on Saturday afternoon in the first game between the teams as conference foes.
Point guard Trae Golden tallied a career-high 32 points while Jarnell Stokes posted his 12th double-double of the season with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan McRae scored 23.
Tennessee (16-10, 8-6 SEC) outscored Texas A&M, 14-6, in the fourth overtime, including an 11-1 run to start the fourth extra session.
Golden had 15 of his 32 points in the four overtimes.
“That was a fun game to be a part of, I guess that is easier to say when you’re coming from the winning side but I thought both teams fought hard both teams competed,” said Tennessee oach Cuonzo Martin. “Guys showed a lot of grit and toughness to compete in an atmosphere like this against a physical team.”
Four Vols scored in double-figures, including three with 20 or more points as Skylar McBee added 12. The last time the Vols had three players score 20 or more in a game was Feb. 5, 2008 vs. Florida: Chris Lofton (26), JaJuan Smith (23) and Tyler Smith (23).
Elston Turner led the Aggies with a game-high 38 points. The Aggies are now 16-11 overall and 6-8 in the league.
“I am disappointed for our guys,” said Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy. “We obviously had some opportunities to win, but we didn’t get it done. We had some lay-ups early on that you have to make to beat a good Tennessee team. You got to give Tennessee credit, they made some plays and they drove the ball well late in the game and made a big 3-pointer to hurt us in the end.”
The five-game win streak is the Vols’ longest since a seven-game win streak to start the 2010-11 season. The last time the Vols win five or more SEC games in row was in 2007-08, when Tennessee ripped off eight conference wins in a row from Jan. 26-Feb. 20, 2008.
The win was also the Vols’ third in a row on the road, coming on the heels of an 0-6 start on the road. It is a similar situation as last season, when the Vols start 0-7 on the road before winning three of their last four away games.
The Vols are now 4-0 all-time in games that have gone three or four overtimes, winning the previous three-overtime games. The last time the Vols played a game that went three overtimes was Dec. 12, 1979, a 79-78 win over Alabama.
In the fourth overtime, Golden’s jumper with 2:39 left gave the Vols an 83-80 lead. Golden’s floater with 2:01 on the clock gave UT an 85-80 lead. Skylar McBee’s corner 3-pointer with 1:10 left sealed the game, putting the Vols ahead 88-80. McBee added two free throws with 52 seconds left for a 90-80 lead, finishing an 11-1 spurt.
In the third overtime, Stokes’ putback with two minutes left, put the Vols ahead, 79-77. That basket gave the Vols a lead for the first time in any of the extra sessions. Jarod Johns tied the game at 79 all with nine seconds left. The Aggies had the ball as time ran out in the third overtime, but weren’t able to get a shot off and the teams were headed to a fourth overtime.
Golden tied the game at 75, with a runner with 17.9 left in the second overtime. The Vols played great defense as Josh Richardson got a piece of Elston Turner’s jumper as time expired, sending the game to the third overtime.
Elston Turner hit two jumpers for the first four points of the second overtime, giving A&M a 73-69 lead. Golden knocked down a corner 3-pointer with 2:23 on the clock to bring UT within one at 73-72.
Elston Turner converted a 3-point play with 1:56 left in the first overtime putting A&M ahead 66-64. Fabyon Harris made two free throws with 25.1 on the clock for the game’s first two-possession lead in 12 minutes, 68-64. Golden drove for a quick layup with 17.7 left, bringing the Vols back within two, 68-66. J’Mychal Reese missed one of two free throws with 16.1 left making it 69-66.
McRae canned a 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds left to tie the game at 69 all. Elston Turner missed a jumper as time expired in the first overtime. That led to the second overtime.
A&M’s Reese missed a 3-pointer as the clock expired sending the teams to overtime.
Battling several Aggies, Stokes grabbed a rebound off a McRae 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left. He was fouled by Alex Caruso, sending him to the foul line, where he made the first shot and missed the second. That rebound gave Stokes his double-double.
“I’m tired but I am glad we won; that’s all that matters,” Stokes said. “I wasn’t worried about being fatigued. Trae (Golden) and Jordan (McRae) were going and we just wanted to get ball screens through them. It worked out for us.”
Golden rimmed in two free throws with 42.3 left in the second half to put Tennessee ahead, 61-60. Ray Turner responded with his first basket of the game on a layup with 26.5 seconds left to regain the Aggies’ lead at 62-61.
The lead changed hands four times in a minute span from 5:38 to 4:38 as the Aggies held a 56-55 lead after a pair of free throws by Turner. A&M took a 3-point lead (58-55) on a Harris jumper with 4:03 left in the second half.
The game was separated by one possession for the final 7:44 of regulation.
The Vols went more than eight minutes without a field goal before Golden knocked down a 3-pointer with 7:44 left in the second half, brining UT within one, 50-49. During that span, the Vols missed field goals in a row with the last basket being McBee’s second 3-pointer with 16:06 left. Despite the drought, the Vols were only outscored by five points during that period of time.
Tennessee started the first half in awful fashion, but they turned the tables at the start of in the second half. The Vols took their first lead of the game two minutes into the final frame as Skylar McBee hit his first 3-pointer of the game to put UT up 34-33. His second trifecta of the game put the Vols ahead 41-37 with 16 minutes left in regulation.
Down by as many as nine points early in the game, Tennessee rallied to within three at halftime on a Golden runner as time expired for a 31-28 Aggie lead at intermission. Golden and McRae each had nine in the first half. Turner led A&M’s charge with 12 first-half points.
Being down three at half was quite an accomplishment as the Vols had just two points in the first 7:23 of the game; shot just 32.1 from the floor and were outrebounded 21-14.
A Golden 3-pointer off a feed from McRae brought the Vols within one at 25-24 with 3:26 left in the half.
Tennessee started 0-of-8 from the floor and was scoreless until a McRae jumper with 5:38 elapsed in the first half. Texas A&M scored the game’s eight points.
The Vols return home to host No. 5 Florida on Tuesday night at 9 p.m.That game airs on ESPN and can be heard on the Vol Network.