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Last-second basket lifts Tennessee past Oklahoma State

Dec 19, 2006 - 5:29 AM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Oklahoma State's inability to take care of the ball knocked it from the ranks of the unbeatens.

Dane Bradshaw's follow shot with 1.9 seconds to play lifted Tennessee to a 79-77 victory over No. 14 Oklahoma State.

The winning basket came after the Cowboys (11-1) lost the ball on their final possession - their 14th turnover of the second half.

Bradshaw slipped a pass along the baseline to Ramar Smith at the other end, but his layup spun out. The 6-4 Bradshaw slapped at the rebound and knocked it in.

Due to an ailing shoulder that will require an MRI on Tuesday, Bradshaw barely reached the rim on a pair of free-throw attempts with 2:54 to play, making him an unlikely hero.

"The irony is that he (Bradshaw) tipped it with his right hand, and he cannot even get the ball up to the rim for a free-throw," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "Bradshaw is so good for college athletics. He is so smart, and so heady. For him to fight for rebounds against guys twice his size - if he does not symbolize the `T' on the uniform, nobody does"

Oklahoma State had a chance to tie, but a last-second 20-foot turnaround jumper by Mario Boggan bounced off the back of the rim.

"That was a tough loss," Cowboys coach Sean Sutton said. "I thought we competed hard, but we turned the ball over too many times, and gave up too many offensive rebounds - two things that we really emphasized going into this game. We made too many mistakes."

Chris Lofton scored 20 points and freshman Duke Crews added a career-high 17 and nine rebounds to lead the Volunteers (8-2), who survived a a 41 percent shooting night (28-of-69) to win their fifth straight game.

JaJuan Smith scored 14 points and had six of Tennessee's 14 steals, helping to overcome dreadful 4-of-23 shooting from 3-point range and 19-of-32 at the foul line.

The combination of Tennessee's pressure defense and the foul trouble of Oklahoma State's top two players, Boggan and JamesOn Curry, narrowed the list of undefeated Division I teams to five.

"The fact that Oklahoma State only had 15 shots in the second half speaks volumes about our defense," Pearl said. "Our guards are getting the feel for defense. Oklahoma State shot well, but they had 23 turnovers."

Boggan, the Cowboys' leading scorer at 19.5 points coming in, picked up his fourth foul with 14:19 to play and had to sit for over six minutes. He finished with 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting, but had just three points after returning.

A 6-7, 260-pounder, Boggan converted a three-point play to tie it at 77-77 with 1:35 to play.

But Crews stole the ball on the Cowboys' final possession, helping to set up Bradshaw's winning bucket at the other end that avenged an 89-73 loss to Oklahoma State last year.

We tried to recruit Crews out of high school; we love the way he plays, with a warrior mentality," Sutton said. "He played well tonight. I think Tennessee is a team that, come March, can really do a lot of damage in the NCAA Tournament."

Curry picked up his final two fouls, including one with 2:48 to play after a steal by Lofton, to knock him from the game. He finished with 13 points.