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Jan. 8, 2012

The opening weekend of the new year brought spectacular results for Tennessee basketball thanks to a pair of impressive victories.

UT opened its men's SEC schedule with a 67-56 upset of 13th-ranked Florida on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols outplayed the visitors throughout, stretching a four-point halftime lead to as many as 16 points thanks to a defensive effort that limited the Gators to less than 36-percent shooting from the field.

"I thought it was a great atmosphere," said UT head coach Cuonzo Martin, whose Vols improved their overall record to 8-7. "It was fun to watch our guys really compete and battle. I don't think there have been too many times like that this year that we've played like that from a passion standpoint, playing for each other and defending the way we did."

The Lady Vols on Sunday won their 36th consecutive SEC game, a 69-38 thrashing of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Tennessee improved to 12-3 overall this year and 3-0 in conference play. UT hasn't lost in the SEC since falling at Georgia on Jan. 21, 2010.

"Our defense was just outstanding," Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick said of Sunday's effort. "We were swarming, and that's the type of defense that a Tennessee team should always play."

Women's Basketball (1-0 for the weekend)
Lady Vols 69, Arkansas 38
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Shekinna Stricklen made sure she went out in style in her last performance in her home state.

Stricklen scored 19 points, and Glory Johnson recorded her fifth straight double-double, as sixth-ranked Tennessee routed Arkansas 69-38 on Sunday.

The win was the 36th straight in Southeastern Conference play for the Lady Volunteers (12-3, 3-0 SEC), who opened the game with a 25-3 run and never looked back.

Tennessee hasn't lost an SEC game since a 53-50 loss at Georgia on Jan. 21, 2010, and it was in no jeopardy of doing so while holding the Razorbacks to a season-low point total.

"Our defense was just outstanding," Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick said. "We were swarming, and that's the type of defense that a Tennessee team should always play."

Next: Thursday at Kentucky, 7 p.m.; Sunday vs. Vanderbilt, 2 p.m. // FULL SCHEDULE

Men's Basketball (1-0 for the weekend)
Vols 67, Florida 56
Tennessee placed four players in double-figures as the Volunteers opened Southeastern Conference play with a 67-56 upset victory over No. 13-ranked Florida on Saturday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.

In head coach Cuonzo Martin's conference debut, his defensive-minded Vols held Florida's three-guard attack in check by winning the edge in the paint and holding the Gators to just 29.6 percent shooting in the second half. Florida shot a season-low 35.7 percent in the game to Tennessee's 51 percent.

"I thought it was a great atmosphere," said Martin, whose Vols improved their record to 8-7, 1-0 in the SEC. "It was fun to watch our guys really compete and battle. I don't think there have been too many times like that this year that we've played like that from a passion standpoint, playing for each other and defending the way we did."

Next: Thursday at Mississippi State, 8 p.m. Central time; Saturday vs. Kentucky, Noon // FULL SCHEDULE

Upcoming This Week in Other UT Sports
Men's tennis at SEC Coaches Indoor Championship, Friday-Monday, Lexington, Ky.

Men's and women's indoor track and field at Kentucky Invitational, Friday-Saturday, Lexington, Ky.

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