No. 19 Tennessee tops Ole Miss 73-65
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) The Tennessee Vols got off to a fast start and held on late for a key road victory.
The Volunteers (21-7, 11-5 SEC) jumped out to a 29-9 lead in the first 10 minutes and held off a rally by Ole Miss in the second half.
"I think this time of year you are obviously trying to build momentum and trying to get better in every area," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said.
"Being at the end of February right now you'd like to think your team understands the importance of momentum and the way you need to come out when you have a lead."
Neither team shot well from the floor with Tennessee shooting 39 percent and Ole Miss shooting 34 percent.
The Rebels (12-17, 5-11) struggled from long distance. Ole Miss shot 4 percent (1-for-23) from three-point range. Terence Davis, who was 1 for 7 on 3s, connected in the second half.
Breein Tyree led the Rebels with 17 points, Bruce Stevens scored 14 and Davis finished with 13.
This was Tony Madlock's second game as the interim head coach at Ole Miss after Andy Kennedy stepped down as head coach after 12 seasons on Sunday. The Rebels ended a seven-game losing streak with a win at Missouri on Tuesday.
"You talk about it and you don't want it to be a part of the game, but when you don't make shots some of the hustle plays and some of the defensive efforts just don't work," Madlock said. "We didn't make enough shots early to kind of get us going defensively."
Tennessee's bench outscored Ole Miss' 21-15. The Rebels scored 40 points in the paint to the Volunteers' 28 and outrebounded them 47-43.
Trailing by 15 points coming out of halftime, the Rebels started the second half on an 11-0 run to cut Tennessee's lead to four at the 16:56 mark. Tennessee answered, increasing the lead back to double-digits with a 10-4 run.
Tennessee: With Saturday's win, the Vols remained behind No. 12 Auburn and in second place in the league.
Mississippi: The Rebels enter the final week of the season with an attempt to grab momentum heading into the SEC Tournament and the offseason.
Tennessee: The Volunteers will travel to Mississippi State on Tuesday before closing out the regular season at home against Georgia next Saturday.
Mississippi: Ole Miss travels to Kentucky on Wednesday and will host Vanderbilt on Saturday in the regular-season finale.
Updated February 24, 2018
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