Tennessee got back in the winning column Wednesday night with a 78-67 victory over the Auburn Tigers. After a tough loss on Saturday in which they blew a 14 point halftime lead, UT did a good job of not breaking when Auburn trimmed an 11 point lead down to 4 in the second half.
Tennessee used a big 1st half from Josh Richardson to take a 33-28 lead into the locker room. Richardson paced the Vols with 13 points, 3 steals in the 1st 20 minutes of play, Jarnell Stokes had 8 points, 8 rebounds and Jordan McRae had 7 points.
Chris Denson had a big 2nd half for the Tigers, as he poured in 18 0f his 24 points in the final 20 minutes. KT Harrell finished with 15 points, as both he and Denson showed why they are at the top of the SEC scoring list. Tahj Shamsid-Deen also finished in double figures with 10 points for the Tigers.
McRae led 5 UT players in double figures with 21 points and 5 rebounds. Stokes had another double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Jeronne Maymon fouled out and finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Josh Richardson had a big first half with 13 points and 3 steals and finished with 15 points and 4 steals.
“It shows how much balance we have, how many weapons we have.” Richardson said about UT having 5 players in double figures.
Whenever Auburn would make runs in the 2nd half to trim the lead, Jordan McRae would string together a series of points. His scorers mentality was missing against Texas A&M, but it showed up tonight.
“When we’re struggling to score and Jeronne and Jarnell are getting doubled a lot, so I take upon myself.” McRae said of him taking over the scoring load when his team needs him to.
The Vols improve to 11-5 and 2-1 in the SEC, while Auburn falls to 8-6 and 0-3 in the SEC. Next up, UT will travel to Lexington to take on Kentucky on Saturday in Rupp Arena. Auburn will host Florida on Saturday.