Basketball

Rui Hachimura, No. 1 Gonzaga fall against Tennessee

AP, Kyodo

Rui Hachimura had another 20-point performance for Gonzaga, but it wasn’t enough for the nation’s top-ranked team this time.

Admiral Schofield hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left and scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half, helping No. 7 Tennessee knock off No. 1 Gonzaga 76-73 in the Colangelo Classic on Sunday.

“They had the advantage, in height and physique,” Hachimura said. “We’ll just have to focus again and keep going.”

Tennessee (7-1) jumped on Gonzaga early and fought back from a nine-point, second-half deficit.

“Our team really executed in the second half,” Schofield said. “A lot of good looks for a lot of guys and anyone could have knocked down those shots, we have so many talented people on this team.”

Reigning SEC player of the year Grant Williams fouled out with 2:30 left, but the Vols went up two when Schofield banked in a 3-pointer with 80 seconds remaining in regulation.

After Hachimura tied it with two free throws, Schofield hit a long 3 and Tennessee held on for its first win over a No. 1 team — fifth overall — since beating Kansas in 2010.

“We knew it would have a March kind of feel to it,” said Tennessee coach Rick Barnes, who moved into a tie with Gary Williams for 25th in Division I with 668 victories. “When you play against a No. 1 team, you’re going to play 40 minutes and we probably did that better today than we had any other game this season.”

Gonzaga (9-1) had two shots at a tying 3-pointer, but Zach Norvell Jr. and Hachimura each missed.

Hachimura and Brandon Clarke had 21 points each for the Bulldogs. Hachimura has now scored at least 20 points in six of Gonzaga’s last seven games. He didn’t have any trouble early on Sunday against one of the nation’s best defensive frontcourts, effectively using his mid-range jumper to score 14 points by halftime.

The Japanese star also pulled down eight rebounds and had two assists during the contest. He’s now averaging 22.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

“It was heck of a basketball game,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We just ended up on the short end. They made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t.”

The Zags passed every previous test despite playing without injured forward Kevin Tillie.

Gonzaga blew out Texas A&M in Spokane, then knocked off Illinois, Arizona and then-top-ranked Duke to win the Maui Invitational. The Bulldogs beat Washington in their last game on Hachimura’s last-second jumper.

Tennessee, a popular preseason Final Four pick, took No. 2 Kansas to overtime before losing and beat Louisville by 11 in its closest win of the season.

Gonzaga built a quick seven-point lead in the second half, let Tennessee claw back, then went up 58-50 on a pair of Norvell 3-pointers as he traded baskets and trash talk with Schofield.

Schofield brought the Vols back, tying it at 68 with a 3-pointer from the wing with just over three minutes left. He kept pouring in big shots, leading the Vols to a win over the nation’s top-ranked team and, most likely, a higher spot in the AP Top 25.

“That’s easily the most physical team we’ve played so far,” Few said. “We did fairly well.”

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