March 6, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. -- Making a push for positioning in the SEC Tournament and continuing to add to its win total for a possible NCAA Tournament berth, Tennessee recorded a 82-75 victory at Auburn on Wednesday night. The Vols have won seven of their last eight games and stand at 18-11 overall and 10-7 in the SEC. The Vols close the regular-season on Saturday as Missouri (22-8, 11-6 SEC) comes to Thompson-Boling Arena for a 4 p.m., tip-off on ESPN.
Tennessee currently stands in sixth place in the SEC, a full game behind three teams that are 11-6: Missouri, Alabama and Ole Miss.
SEC Player of the Year Candidate Jordan McRae overcame a slow start to finish with a team-high 21 points, including 15 in the second half.
Junior Trae Golden rediscovered his scoring touch and tallied 16 of his 21 points in the decisive second half. Golden also handed out a game-best six assists.
Sophomore Jarnell Stokes posted his 13th double-double of the season including 10 in his last 14 games with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Stokes struggled from the free throw line, making just 1-of-10. But, the remainder of the Vols were nearly perfect, making 26-of-28 from the line (93 percent).
Auburn (9-21, 3-14 SEC) was led by senior Frankie Sullivan, who had a game-high 24 points on Senior Night. Josh Wallace added 14 for the Tigers, who shot 50.9 from the floor. The Tigers have lost eight games in a row.
The game was separated by one possession for a span of more than eight minutes with the lead changing hands eight times midway through the second half. With 8:22 left, Golden gave the Vols the first lead of more than three points on a layup, making it 64-60.
The Vols took a six-point lead as McRae found Kenny Hall on a slam dunk with six minutes left. Hall added two more free throws for a 70-62 UT advantage.
A 3-pointer by McRae proved to be the final knockout punch to the Tigers as Tennessee took the game's first double-figure lead with 4:49 left, 73-62. That finished off a 9-0 spurt and proved to be the difference for the Vols. Tennessee continued to make its free throws late in the game, as the run evolved into an 18-4 stretch.
Tennessee had just eight turnovers in the game, including three in just the second half as the Vols outscored the Tigers, 50-40, in the final 20 minutes.
Down by as many as six early in the second half, Golden showed his offensive prowess, scoring nine of the Vols first 12 points in the half. McRae regained the lead for the Vols on a driving slam dunk for a 3-point play with 15:49 left in the game, making it 46-44, Vols.
Tennessee trailed 35-32 at halftime as the Vols shot just 37.9 percent over the first 20 minutes.
The Vols hit their first three 3-pointers and jumped out to 14-5 lead less than six minutes into the game
Auburn tied the game at 24 all on a dunk by Asauhn Dixon-Tatum with seven minutes left in the first half. The Tigers took their first lead of the game on a free throw by Dixon-Tatum with 5:20 left in the half at 27-26. Kenny Hall quickly regained the lead for the Vols with a dunk seconds later.
The Tigers continued to press and built a 35-30 lead on an 8-0 run late in the half. Tennessee was held without a field goal for 4:27 and without a point for 4:07 before Stokes tipped in the final points of the half.
With the win, the Vols have won at least 10 conference games for the seventh time in the last 10 years.