|Men's Basketball RESULTS
|Tennessee 66, Western Carolina 52
|Middle Tennessee 56, Vanderbilt 52
Tennesee Sprints Past Western Carolina
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee used an 18-2 run midway through the second half to rally from a deficit and knock off Western Carolina, 66-52, before 15,109 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Friday night. It was yet another balanced scoring attack for the Vols as four players scored in double-figures. Junior Jordan McRae led with 14 points off the bench for Tennessee (7-3).
Sophomore Josh Richardson equaled his career-high with 12 points. Sophomore Jarnell Stokes also netted 12 points, while grabbing nine rebounds. Junior Trae Golden tallied 10 points, making 8-10 from the foul-line.
In his return to the lineup after missing the previous game due to injury, Kenny Hall grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds and scored nine points.
The win marked the 300th at Thompson-Boling Arena for the Vols. Since TBA opened its doors in 1987, Tennessee is 300-104 for a 74.3 win percentage.
The Vols outrebounded WCU, 45-30.
Tennessee held its fifth opponent this season to 60 or fewer points and all five have come in the last six games. The Vols have won all three games to start their six-game homestand.
Western Carolina (4-8) was led by Trey Sumler, who had 23. Brandon Boggs added 15.
After a sluggish first half with lots of missed shots, as the Vols had their worst shooting half in six years, the second half saw the action heat up. Neither team led by more than five points for the first 12 minutes of the second half. That was until the Vols buckled down on defense and went to town on offense.
The Vols surged out on Western Carolina during that 18-2 run midway through the second half to pull away. Down 38-37 with 11:57 left, the Vols wore down the Catamounts. Richardson's layup put the Vols ahead for good with 11:38 left, giving the Vols a 39-38 advantage.
Richardson and Hall added jumpers for a 43-38 lead. After a Mike Brown jumper, Tennessee reeled off 12 consecutive points to take a 55-40 led. Skylar McBee's 3-pointer punctuated the spurt with 4:11 left.
The Vols defense stifled the Catamounts, holding them scoreless for 5:07 during the 12-0 run.
Despite shooting just 3-of-21 in the first half, Tennessee led Western Carolina at halftime, 22-18 The Vols scored 14 of the final 16 points of the half over the final 6:12.
After trailing by as many as 10 in the first half, Tennessee regained the lead at 17-16 on a McRae free throw with 3:48 left in the first half.
The Vols started 1-of-15 from the floor and fell behind 14-4 midway through the first half as WCU went on a 10-0 run behind Sumler, who had nine of the 10 points in the spurt.
UT didn't have a field goal for more than 10 minutes before McRae ended the drought with a jumper at the 7:46 mark. That brought the Vols within six at 14-8.
Tennessee's three field goals were the fewest by UT in a half since shooting just 3-of-29 in the second half against Butler in 2006.
Tennessee returns to action as it continues its six-game homestand on Saturday, Dec. 29 against Xavier at 6 p.m. That game airs on ESPNU and can be heard on the Vol Network.
Vandy Falls to MSTU
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tweety Knight scored a go-ahead layup with 1:08 left to lift Middle Tennessee State to a 56-52 victory over Vanderbilt on Friday night.
Bruce Massey scored 17 points to lead the Blue Raiders (9-3), who ended the game on a 16-3 run to get their first win against Vanderbilt since 1995.
After Knight's layup, Kerry Hammonds plucked a steal from Kedren Johnson and finished with a layup for a three-point cushion. Johnson missed a 3-pointer and Raymond Cintron's free throws with 7.5 seconds left sealed the win.
The Commodores (5-5) led 49-40 with 9:58 left but went scoreless for nearly the next six minutes.
Johnson scored 15 of his 25 points in the first half to lead Vanderbilt. He banked in his final basket with 1:56 left to give Vanderbilt a 52-51 lead before Knight responded.
Hammonds scored a season-high 11 points for Middle Tennessee, which had lost five straight against its in-state neighbors from 38 miles away.
The game had five ties and 10 lead changes. Vanderbilt, which had won three in a row, appeared in control early in the second half.
Johnson scored four straight points to end a 10-2 run as the Commodores feasted on 20 turnovers by Middle Tennessee. Johnson's jumper with less than 10 minutes to go catapulted Vanderbilt to its largest lead.
The Blue Raiders slowly charged back. After consecutive baskets by Massey, Shawn Jones and Knight each scored off offensive rebounds to cut the lead to 49-48 with 4:36 left.
A minute later, Cintron drove the lane to give the Blue Raiders their first lead since late in the first half. Johnson answered with a tough shot inside.
Knight missed his first layup but wrestled for the rebound with Vanderbilt center Josh Henderson to force a jump ball in favor of Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders pounced on the second-chance opportunity. Marcos Knight lofted a pass to his younger brother, who came open for an easy layup.
Middle Tennessee grabbed 14 offensive rebounds for 12 second-chance points and won the rebounding battle 34-25.
The Commodores had won 29 of 33 in the all-time series. The game was played downtown at Bridgestone Arena, marking the first neutral-site contest between the schools.
In a foul-riddled first half, the Blue Raiders grabbed their largest lead when Marcos Knight finished a 3-point play for a 12-5 lead five minutes in.
Middle Tennessee went quiet from there, failing to score for the next seven minutes.
Vanderbilt charged ahead for a five-point lead and used the foul line to its advantage. The Commodores made 10 of 13 in the first half and the teams combined for 23 free throws.
When Marcos Knight was called for his second foul and the 10th team foul with 8:56 left in the half, Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis didn't agree. The officials disagreed with Davis, who was whistled for a technical foul. Kyle Fuller missed both foul shots for the technical but Johnson sank his two free throws to give Vanderbilt a 17-12 lead.
The technical woke up the Blue Raiders - Hammonds and Knight in particular. The duo combined for the team's final 17 points of the half. Hammonds hit a go-ahead 3-pointer. After Vanderbilt regained the lead, Massey banked in a shot with 42 seconds left for a 31-31 tie at halftime.