Monday, January 11, 2010

Vols’ McBee stings KU

Walk-on hits huge three to lift UT

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor drives around Tennessee guard Skylar McBee during the second half Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor drives around Tennessee guard Skylar McBee during the second half Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.


Kansas falls to Volunteers

Tennessee handed top-ranked Kansas its first loss of the season on Sunday.

Reader poll

With Big 12 play starting for Kansas this week, who do you believe is the best team in the conference?

  • Kansas 41% 1396 votes
  • Texas 52% 1801 votes
  • Other 3% 128 votes
  • Undecided 2% 77 votes

3402 total votes.

Audio clips

2010 KU-Tennessee

— Tennessee guard Skylar McBee heard the crowd growing louder, and he knew it was time to look up at the shot clock.

Three seconds remaining. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound freshman told himself there was only one option left in UT’s 76-68 victory over Kansas: shoot it.

He pump-faked to get KU’s Tyshawn Taylor in the air, then leaned forward to push a leaning shot toward the rim.

The circus shot swished through with 36 seconds left, giving UT a six-point lead.

And any chance of KU staging a comeback was buried by a freshman walk-on.

“You don’t get to play the No. 1 team in the country many times in your life,” McBee said, “so that definitely had to be the biggest shot of my career.”

UT coach Bruce Pearl would put it another way: “The stars have got to be aligned a little bit in order to beat the No. 1 team in the country.”

While the stars were aligned for McBee’s shot, the stars also were aligned for Pearl to have McBee at Tennessee in the first place.

The combo guard became a walk-on at Tennessee because he didn’t want any regrets.

He visited Santa Clara last year as a high school senior. He also had scholarship offers from East Carolina, Marshall and Winthrop.

But he’d always been a Tennessee basketball fan. He grew up just 34 minutes away in Rutledge, Tenn. — a straight shot to Knoxville by driving southwest on Highway 1.

A scholarship was nice. But the question was, if he went to those schools, would he regret not giving Tennessee a shot?

“It’s a lifelong dream,” Skylar’s father, Doug, said after the game. “For him to play on the floor (at Tennessee) continues to be a dream come true.”

McBee isn’t your typical walk-on, though. He averaged 24 points per game in high school. He was an all-state selection. He scored 2,362 points in his career.

After watching McBee play at Grainger County High School in Rutledge, Pearl came away with this impression: He wasn’t sure the guard even knew how to pass.

McBee had stepped right in as a contributor at Tennessee this season, averaging 4.5 points per game while also playing double-digit minutes in 12 of 13 contests.

He couldn’t help but feel nervous before the game against KU.

“It was definitely hard to sleep,” Skylar McBee said. “You couldn’t help but think about what could happen in the game and the different situations you could be in.”

But he still never pictured this situation: hitting the biggest shot of the game on national television in front of nearly 30 family members, including his parents, brother, aunts, uncle, cousins and his “papaw.”

Suddenly, the walk-on with just 185 minutes of college experience in his first 13 games became one of the top 50 Google searches in the United States late Sunday night.

“It’s an opportunity,” Skylar said, “and an opportunity that not many people get to have in their lifetime.”


Brad Avery 10 years, 4 months ago

Little effort defense on the part of Taylor. A kid with that much ability needs to grow up and lead the second half of the season.

Matt1958 10 years, 4 months ago

Reminds me of Beau Reed hitting an off balance 3 in Lincoln at the buzzer back in 19whatever. We really stunk it up. This 'L" has been chasing us around for awhile, in my opinion.

Steve Brown 10 years, 4 months ago

Holy smokes Batman, we got pistol whipped.

bradynsdad 10 years, 4 months ago

self said it best "a loss exposes your weakness". although i am not so quick to put it all on our bigs, our guards couldnt have put it through a hula hoop yesterday. cole had what sixteen boards sounds to me like he was doing something right. oh well as much as it sucked its a good loss going into conference play.

Steve Brown 10 years, 4 months ago

Slayr: hope you're wrong about TT & Twins, yet recall they said while in Philly they need to see their old pal the barber, even though they just had Larry town haircuts.

Start Brady. Anyone recall our walk on was it Moody as jr. getting his minutes over more athletic newbies as he knew what to do on the court. History repeats.

Auditions are over, opening night is wednesday. Conf. play is to begin. As a 'just a fan' I'd give BM more not less minutes, yet I do trust HCBS to make the right decisions about who and when to play the right combinations.

sdoyel 10 years, 4 months ago

We were going to lose anyway, but McBee double-dribbled prior to hoisting that prayer....

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 4 months ago

Taylor is a total headcase and thinks more highly of himself than he is. He needs to be on the bench and start over from scratch. This last summer swelled his damn head bigger than a ballon. He is lazy, doesn't play good defense, mops around when a bad play happnes, and has no confidence yet gets a bucket and celebrates like it was the greatest thing ever. His continued lackidaisal play is deterimnetal to the team. Why he continues to play and not Elijah is most puzzling.

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago

I can't believe HCBS allows TT to do that saluting crap after shots.

I'd sit his butt on the bench.

TT is immature and mentally incapable of understanding the intensity of these games.

I think he's got great potential but CS needs to bench him and start EJ for about 2-4 games.

WilburNether 10 years, 4 months ago

"Start Brady," someone said? What a joke! He probably came down with a bad cold last night from the wind caused by the Tennessee players blowing by him. Between him and Henry, the 3-spot play yesterday was atrocious.

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago

slayr- I hope the rattle gives them something to think about. I hope they realize their vulnerability.

I don't want anymore bagge or rattling anytime soon!

I know some other teams that will get some head rattling over the next 1-2 games. I see some others getting their first loss soon.

This will all pass and we'll get back on track.

Brokebackvol 10 years, 4 months ago

Just a note to say "thank you" for coming to play in Knoxville. For a school that doesn't have a pedigree in men's basketball, it was quite a big deal for UT fans to get to see our beloved Volunteers play KU. All things considered, it was a huge win for the Vols, and really only another loss for you Jayhawks. We respect you and your program, and good luck the rest of the way. Ignore those hillbillies from Kentucky, they think they were born with the right to the title. Now you see what we have too listen to from the Wildcats ALL the time.

addlime 10 years, 4 months ago

I have to agree with alot of the posters here, TT and the Twins looked terrible to me. TT is so talented, but Self isn't doing a good enough job of getting the best out of him. The EJ start worked for about three games. I'm starting to come around to the negative side on TT. Terrible defense, poor decision making, showboating... As for the twins, I believe in their character a little more. The details surrounding the Philly trip, and their complete absence since, show immaturity, but not character defect. I believe they have heart, and if they are forced to look in the mirror, they will realize that they have to work every day and show up every game. Eventually, this team's success will be dictated by those sophomores, and I'm not too thrilled by that prospect.

RockCaCO3 10 years, 4 months ago

Brokeback - Our Hawks have some things to work out, but regardless, your Vols looked like a team to contend with come March. Congrats!

ABeesus 10 years, 4 months ago


Taylor/Collins = 8 turnovers. Tenn's team = 7 turnovers.

Aldrich took 5 shots. Collins/Taylor took 31 of the team's 60 shots.

Taylor: 4 of 11 Collins: 7 of 20 Aldrich: 3 of 5

jhokfan 10 years, 4 months ago

That may have been a prayer but even if he misses we were simply outplayed. KU looked like a team that thought they should win by virtue of showing up. Sometimes teams can be so good the only way they can lose is by beating themselves. Yesterday look like one of those days. We were sloppy with the ball and couldn't score in the paint. I'm not sure of the psychology behind it but I think it has something to do with fear of losing a game in which you have no business losing. I worry about this team in the early rounds of the tournament when they go up against a team with a nothing to lose mentality.

MIZNIT 10 years, 4 months ago

I have a hard time understanding why we didn't put more pressure on a team that was in foul trouble and playing walk-on's for the the majority of the game. And I would much rather see Aldrich toss up some ugly S*&T from 6 feet out than the garbage that Collins and Taylor were tossing up. Once again, Taylor needs to be on the bench. Johnson is more athletic, and has shown he is much more willing to play team basketball. Why did Brady look so incredibly slow?

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago


Whatever you do, beat Kensucky!!


Steve Brown 10 years, 4 months ago

BrokeVol: elevator elevator give calimari the shaft. twice. Jnation will have your back rooting for you.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 4 months ago

Tennessee fans....please don't consider this your great win for 2010. Consider this a lesson in what you can do game in and game out. UK has been trashing you since the news of the arrests. You've got to beat them.....twice, to show everyone you are real.

A spectacular effort yet I am concerned that you won't be able to duplicate the remainder of the season. Please prove me wrong and KUNation would love to meet you in a rematch in the NCAA's.

Good luck and thanks for being such gracious winners.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 4 months ago

KU1992's statement is a masterpiece of simplicity.

KU 10 years, 4 months ago

njjayhawk.......Are you lumping Cole into your "girly men" comment? At least be real when you make a comment like that. The kid had 18 rebounds. How often has a KU player had 18 rebounds in a game? That takes the heart of a warrior and a lot of effort against a Top 20 team with athletic players. Cole also had 4 blocks.

He didn't have the greatest (in terms of trying to get his shot) offensive game of his career, but don't call him soft. You would get your head kicked in on the court with the players that were out there yesterday, and you call Cole Aldrich with 18 boards and 4 blocks and 3-5 from the field SOFT?

You can make a case that the rest of our bigs were soft. They contributed little to the game on either end of the floor.

KU 10 years, 4 months ago

njjayhawk.......In case you're too lazy to do the work, in the KU rebounding record book, there is only ONE performance in the Top 13 since 1970--Nick Collison's 23 rebound masterpiece in 2003. Eighteen rebounds is a LOT of boards in a game unless you're playing Tennessee Tech instead of the University of Tennessee.

More importantly, Cole had 65% of the possible rebounds while he was on the floor! That is an amazing percentage. The kid owned the boards. Don't call him soft. Call him out for not shooting enough, but don't call him soft.

aerohawk 10 years, 4 months ago

I thought the Hawks played like crap. Vols played outstanding.

But I would still like to see us continue with home and away games against teams like Tennessee. I think a couple of those types of games each non-conference could really help our teams get ready for tournament (yes more than one, risk the losses and play tough big name opponents). That game is just how all the understaffed mid-majors play in the tournament. All the heart in the world and no quit.

Joe Baker 10 years, 4 months ago

aerohawk- We tried and HCBS thought some of those teams would be exactly what was needed. We were fooled and consequently our season will suffer a bit from it. The B12 will have to be our prep for the post season! Texas, mizzou and K-state will give us games like Tenn!!

UCLA Cal Michigan Memphis- not too bad of a game!

They were all suppose to be those non-con games this year. It just didn't happen and then we play Tenn away and got our pants yanked down!!

We'll truly find out just what kind of "student-athletes" we have. Who are the students willing to learn and grow to become better? Or will it be business as usual by going through the motions this season?

Travis Osier 10 years, 4 months ago

I can't help but get a 2005 vibe from this team. High expectations, then a trip to a team we should beat (Nova), good wins after that...but then an early exit from the tourney. I hope I'm wrong, I hope they take a long hard look in the mirror And realize, its about the "team". Where is Darnell when we need him! He understood.

David Howell 10 years, 4 months ago

I have always said a loss other then in the big dance doesn't hurt you. In our case it better serve as a hell of a wake up. We didn't get beat by a better team. We got embarassed by an inferior team or misfits who simply knew how to drive the ball to the bucket way better then KU shows the ability to do so !!

I simply don't get it. Are their heads so big that they feel in their minds we have already won the Big 12 and the Nat'l Championship.

The only one right now with any signs of ability is Sherron. But even SC isn't shooting the best % or choosing the smartest shots at time.

Cole seems to have NO offensive confidence. God I love him for his rebounding and shot blocking, but we need his offense. He has to command that they get the ball into him. I said into him and not forced into him.

The Morris Twins .............. My god how they have morphed back into their freshmen habits. Is it me or do they simply play best when in the Philly area or against inferior teams ??!

Xavier ............ He was in short quite lost yesterday. To me he didn't even look like he belonged on the court against the quickness of Tennessee. I hate to see how someone like Texas or Missouri embarasses him. One and done my butt ........

TT simply comes out average. Moments of brilliance mixed in with too many instances of stupidity. KU played 33 seconds of great defense in the last minute and then he quits on defense.

I love Tyrel, but if he can't hit a better % of shots then his butt will be on the bench.

Brady is the unknown right now. Probably not getting enough minutes to show what we saw from last year. But why isn't he put on the hot shooter for defense purposes. His shot seems to fine when he shoots it.

At this point I say give Elijah and TRob some more minutes. Sure they will make mistakes, but so is everyone else.

I honestly don't know how HCBS is handling this season. I know he will be looking for some magic foam or a hairpiece after the ride the boys are putting him through. Hopefully he doesn't have issues like Urban Meyer with Florida ...............

brooksmd 10 years, 4 months ago

Read a comment posted at that said prior to the shoot around and before the Vols took the court, our guys went to center court and stomped on Tennessee. I hope that isn't true as it shows complete dis-respect and lack of class. I would like to think it was somebody just trying to stir up some trouble on the board. But, if in fact they do this type of stuff I hope HCBS puts a stop to it.

Brokebackvol..Class posters are always welcome. Ya'll come on back now, ya hear?

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 4 months ago

Attn KY posters:

Take a lesson from the couple of UT fans who have come here to humbly and respectfully discuss the game. We haaven't played KY and aren't scheduled to play KY this year. But, all we see from these "coal-miners daughters brothers" is taunting and belittling. Even the North Carolina fans don't do this and they could have more of a tendency to throw stones. We expect Mizzouri fans to be obnoxious, and take it in stride.

My only issue with the UT fan posting to this story is his choice of usernames. All are welcome here, especially those who love the game of basketball, but, dude - do you use that name on the Vol boards?

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