Redshirt freshman Cameron Tatum scored 14 points over the final 5:57, sparking a mind-boggling finish that gave the 12th-ranked Vols a 90-78 victory over the 16th-ranked Hoyas.
Down 65-57 with nine minutes left, Tennessee outscored the weary Hoyas 33-13 the rest of the way to turn the eight-point deficit into a 12-point triumph. The win earns the Vols (5-0) a Sunday night shot at Gonzaga, which advanced with an 81-59 trouncing of Maryland.
Tatum, a 6-6 wing, finished with 17 points in a 16-minute relief stint. He made 6 of 8 shots from the field and 5 of 6 from 3-point range, with four of the treys coming during his late-game barrage.
“Cameron's been waiting two or three years for that stage,” Vol head coach Bruce Pearl said on the post-game show, noting that Tatum spent 2006-07 at prep school and 2007-08 redshirting due to injury.
Tatum nailed a 3 from the left corner to give Tennessee the lead for good at 67-66 with 5:57 remaining. Moments later he bagged another, boosting the lead to 73-69. He stole the ball on Georgetown's ensuing possession and drove for a dunk that widened the gap to 75-69 with 4:14 to go.
Moments later, with the shot-clock about to expire, he unloaded a 35-footer from straight away that banked in, widening the gap to 80-71 with 1:59 left.
“I guess the bank is open on holidays,” he quipped afterward.
Tatum then delivered the dagger – another 3 from the left wing – that gave Tennessee its biggest lead at 83-72 with 1:08 remaining.
“My goodness, they don't call him Killer for nothing,” Pearl noted. “That's how you finish games.”
Tatum wasn't the only Vol reserve who provided a huge lift vs. Georgetown. With Wayne Chism limited by foul trouble, freshman Emmanuel Negedu provided 20 quality minutes off the bench and sophomore Brian Williams contributed another nine. J.P. Prince scored 11 points in a 22-minute relief stint. Josh Tabb contributed 10 quality minutes as the backup point guard.
All-American Tyler Smith led the Vols with 21 points. Point guard Bobby Maze had another solid game, contributing 14 points and 9 assists in 33 minutes running the offense.
Chris Wright (18), DaJuan Summers (17) and Greg Monroe (15) were the scoring leaders for Georgetown, which slips to 3-1.
Tennessee shot 52.7 percent (29 of 55) from the field, including a sizzling 62.5 percent (10 of 16) from beyond the arc. The Vols won the backboards 33-26. Georgetown hit 53.1 from the floor and 38.9 from 3.