With Manu Ginobili, Rudy Gay and Kawhi Leonard out with injuries, San Antonio made a last-minute lineup change, bringing Tony Parker off the bench for the 14th time in 1,165 career games.
Asked if Dejounte Murray would continue to start at point guard, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, “We’ll see.”
Murray had eight points, seven rebounds, four assists and four turnovers in 28 minutes.
After leading 41-21 with 14 1/2 minutes left, Tennessee barely survived.
Tennessee was clinging to a 60-58 advantage after Vanderbilt’s Jeff Roberson made one of two free-throw attempts with 1:19 remaining. Tennessee’s Lamonte’ Turner answered by sinking a 3-pointer with 1:03 left.
LaChance missed a 3-point attempt on Vanderbilt’s next possession to set up a layup by Bowden that extended Tennessee’s lead to 65-58 with 33 seconds remaining. The Vols’ advantage wouldn’t drop below five the rest of the way.
“They got back in the game, but at the end we found a way,” Barnes said. “Lamonte’ Turner’s shot was a big one.”
He made sure to break out in a big way on Tuesday night.
“We lost, so we’re all very disappointed,” LaChance said. “The way we played the first half was nowhere near how hard and how well we need to play.”
Roberson added 21 points for Vanderbilt. Grant Williams had 18 points for Tennessee.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores showed plenty of fight to get back into the game, but the first half also showed how hard it is for Vanderbilt to find offense when its 3-point shots aren’t falling. Promising freshman guard Saben Lee went scoreless in 20 minutes and wasn’t on the floor during the Commodores’ comeback.
Tennessee: Derrick Walker continues to show he could add some depth to Tennessee’s frontcourt the rest of the season. The freshman scored 10 points Saturday in a victory at South Carolina to double his previous career high. He followed that up Tuesday by collecting five points and six rebounds in just 17 minutes.