Final - OT
  for this game

Bouldin, Gonzaga go the distance to top Tennessee again

Jan 8, 2009 - 6:49 AM KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Thanks in part to Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga ended its slump in a place where road teams rarely win.

Bouldin tied a career-high with 26 points as Gonzaga went into Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday and topped No. 25 Tennessee in overtime, 89-79.

Austin Daye added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs (9-4), who snapped the Volunteers' 37-game winning streak at home - the second-longest in the nation behind Notre Dame.

Tennessee had gone without a loss at Thompson-Boling since falling to Kentucky on March 1, 2006.

Losing its previous three games, Gonzaga was able to secure its second win over Tennessee this season, previously topping the Vols in the title game of the Old Spice Classic on November 30.

"We knew it was going to be a tough one, and this is exactly what we needed to do," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "All of our games have been like this, but we just have not finished them off. They have either been the last possession of the game, or in the final minute, and this one featured both of those aspects."

Gonzaga had a 73-71 lead with 68 seconds left in regulation when Josh Heytvelt split a pair of free throws. Although Jeremy Pargo rebounded Heytvelt's miss on the second attempt, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on an inbounds play after calling a timeout.

Tyler Smith quickly tied the score for Tennessee (9-4) with a scoop shot in the lane, and Bouldin could not connect on a last-second layup, forcing the game into overtime.

It was a controversial ending to regulation, as Smith put his hand through the rim attempting to defend the final shot but a goaltend was not called.

Despite the slight, the Bulldogs came out strong in the extra session, as Daye sandwiched a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer around a layup by Bouldin for a 80-73 lead with 2:53 to play.

Bobby Maze got the Vols within 82-77 with 2:02 left on a pair of free throws, but the Bulldogs salted the game away by converting 7-of-8 foul shots over the final 1:40.

"It was great to be able to do it, and I told the guys they had to dig even deeper to get it done in overtime," Few said. "I thought they showed a ton of character and willingness to just win and compete." We had pretty much thrown it all out there on the table in the second half.

"In the overtime, they got the lead and we did not get a lot of looks," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "I am disappointed."

Bouldin finished 11-of-20 from the field with two 3-pointers in matching his previous career best from a victory over Utah from December 31, 2007.

The junior guard also handed out five assists and grabbed four rebounds.

Heytvelt finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Steven Gray added 14 and six assists for the Bulldogs, who improved to 2-1 against ranked teams this season.

Freshman Cameron Tatum had a season-high 22 points - 19 in the first half - for Tennessee, which dropped its second straight game following a 92-85 loss at Kansas on Saturday.

Tatum, whose previous best was 19 points in his career debut, was the story early.

The 6-6 swingman scored the first 14 points for the Vols, including a four-point play for a 14-7 lead with 5:42 expired.

Tennessee would go on to extend the lead to 28-14 with 9:04 remaining before settling for a 40-33 advantage at the break.

"We trailed early and they are a team of runs, but we did not think they were as great a shooting team as they were last year," Few said. "We talked about personnel and Cameron Tatum was one guy we wanted to make sure did not get shots."

Tatum hit a wide-open 3-pointer and Smith added a fast-break dunk off a block by Wayne Chism in the opening moments of the second half, but Gonzaga would rally.

Bouldin scored eight straight points to start a 19-4 run that would enable the Bulldogs to take a 52-49 edge on a layup by Daye with 15:03 to play.

Overall, Gonzaga shot 55 percent (16-of-29) in the second half to set itself up for the slump--busting win.

"We had pretty much thrown it all out there on the table in the second half," Few said.

"Gonzaga's second-half shooting was the difference," Pearl said. "That was the difference in the game."

Daye played a huge role in the second-half push, scoring 10 points.

Smith finished with 17 points and Chism 15 and a career-high 19 rebounds for Tennessee, which will open up Southeastern Conference play at Georgia on Saturday.

"We have seen about everything we can look at now, so we will be ready for SEC competition," Pearl said.