Jan. 7, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. A late first-half surge propelled the Tennessee Volunteers to a 68-50 victory over LSU to open Southeastern Conference play Tuesday.
Thanks to a 3-pointer barrage by seniors Antonio Barton and Jordan McRae, Tennessee (10-4, 1-0 SEC) outscored the Tigers 18-6 in the final seven minutes of the first half to pull away at Maravich Center.
The Vols maintained their lead in the second half to secure their first road win of the season and the most lopsided road victory in head coach Cuonzo Martin's time at Tennessee.
Reigning SEC player of the week McRae led the Vols with 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers. Barton finished with 14 points, thanks to four 3-pointers in the first half.
Junior Jarnell Stokes recorded his team-leading seventh double-double of the season to celebrate his 20th birthday, finishing with 15 points and 15 rebounds. He has 25 double-doubles in his career.
LSU (9-4, 0-1) cut the Vols' lead to 20-18, but Barton responded by sinking 3-pointer to put the Vols ahead 23-18 with 6:26 in the first half.
Barton added two more 3-pointers in the next six minutes, finishing four in the half. McRae chipped in a 3-pointer of his own in the last minute, and the Vols led 38-24 at halftime.
The Vols were sterling from 3-point range during the first half, making 7-of-11 shots. Barton was a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc with a team-leading 12 points. McRae was 2-for-2 on 3-pointers with 10 points.
Tennessee was 54 percent from the field in the half (14 of 26) while holding LSU to just 34 percent (11 of 32).
The Vols kept up their high percentage shooting and led by 12 points or more the entire second half. Tennessee extended their lead to 20 points at 68-48 on a pair of free throws by McRae with just over a minute left.
The Vols finished the game shooting 46 percent from the floor (24 of 52). They also enjoyed a solid night at the free throw line, making 12-of-15 shots (80 percent).
The 18-point final margin of victory marks the most lopsided road win in the Martin era and the largest road margin of victory for the Vols since beating South Carolina by 24 points in an 80-56 win on Jan. 12, 2008.
Jordan Mickey led LSU with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Johnny O'Bryant III was the only other LSU player in double figures, finishing with 11 points.
The Vols return to action Saturday, hosting Texas A&M at 6 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will air on FOX Sports Net and can be heard on the Vol Network.
Front page photo via LSUSports.net