NEW YORK (AP) -- Scotty Hopson had 18 points when nobody else seemed able to score, and No. 24 Tennessee rallied behind embattled coach Bruce Pearl to beat Virginia Commonwealth 77-72 Wednesday night in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Tobias Harris added 15 points and Cameron Tatum had 11 for Tennessee (4-0), which was playing its first game since Pearl was punished by SEC commissioner Mike Slive last week for violating NCAA rules and misleading investigators.
The Volunteers will play No. 7 Villanova or UCLA for the championship Friday night.
Brandon Rozzell hit six 3-pointers in the second half, after missing all four attempts in the first half, and finished with 23 points to lead VCU (3-1). Ed Nixon added 16 points and Jamie Skeen finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
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