Tennessee rallies to beat East Tennessee St. 66-63
By BETH RUCKER
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Cameron Tatum scored 13 points, and Tennessee hit all four of its free throws in the final minute to hang on to beat East Tennessee State 66-63 on Friday night.
The Buccaneers led throughout the first half and were up 59-51 when a layup by Trae Golden with 5:27 to play launched an 11-0 run for the Volunteers (5-6).
Kenny Hall dunked with 2 minutes left to put Tennessee up 60-59, and the Vols led the rest of the way. Hall followed the basket up with a steal and a dish to Golden, who hit a dunk of his own, and Golden and Jordan McRae each hit a set of free throws to seal the victory.
Adam Sollazzo hit a layup with 10 seconds left and attempted a 3-pointer with 2 seconds to go, but the ball hit the backboard and bounced away. Sollazzo led ETSU (5-6) with 19 points.
ETSU, which hasn't beat Tennessee since 1991, used a 7-0 run early in the game to take a 14-4 lead and lead by as many as 11 points in the first half. The Bucs went to a zone defense that's confounded the Vols for much of the season to stay in control of the game as their shooting cooled off.
Tennessee went to its shooters. The Vols hit 6 of 12 from behind the arc in the first half, including three treys by Tatum before halftime.
Tatum and Jordan McRae hit back-to-back 3s to trim a nine-point ETSU lead to 24-21 with 6:37 in the first half, and Tatum hit another 3 with 2:13 that knotted the score at 29 points.
Sollazzo answered with a jumper on the break. Tatum turned the ball over, and Lukas Poderis hit a layup to give the Bucs a 33-29 halftime lead.
Despite having a size advantage, the Vols couldn't stop Tommy Hubbard, who had 14 points and five rebounds by halftime and helped ETSU outscore Tennessee 12-8 in the paint in the first half. The Vols have only been outscored twice in the paint all season.
Tennessee turned up the heat in the second half on Hubbard, who would finish with 18 points, but Sollazzo used a strong effort on the boards to further frustrate the Vols. The Buccaneers outrebounded the Vols 34-27, thanks largely to 10 more offensive rebounds.
Tennessee was able to go inside to Hall and the rest of its post players more in the second half, and both teams finished with 28 points in the paint. The Vols shot 56.5 percent after halftime while holding the Bucs to 38.7 percent shooting.
McBee finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from long range. Hall and Golden, who is playing with a broken nose, each had 11 points for Tennessee, which has now won two in a row after losing six of seven games.
Updated December 23, 2011