Tennessee uses tough defense to beat Auburn 64-49
By BETH RUCKER
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jeronne Maymon scored 15 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as Tennessee beat Auburn 64-49 on Saturday night.
Kenny Gabriel sank a long jumper with 9:46 in the first half to give Auburn a 13-12 lead, but the Tigers wouldn't score a field goal for the rest of the half.
As Auburn missed 10 shots, Tennessee got five baskets in the lane as part of an 18-3 run that gave them a 30-16 halftime lead.
The Volunteers (10-11, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) outrebounded the Tigers 53-30, their highest rebounding total of the season, and finished with 26 points in the paint.
Tennessee held a 42-27 lead, when its shooting went cold for over 3 minutes. Auburn scored six points during the stretch, cutting the Vols' lead to 42-33 with 7:42 to play, but the Tigers would get no closer.
The Vols had lost their last four SEC games and were coming off an especially lopsided loss at Vanderbilt. Tennessee has played well at home in January though, thanks to consistently tough defense and rebounding, beating Florida and Connecticut and nearly upsetting Kentucky along the way.
Though Tennessee's offense didn't improve much from the 65-47 loss to the Commodores on Tuesday, the Vols managed better ball control. After turning the ball over 25 times against Vanderbilt, they gave the ball away just eight times against the Tigers.
Since its own blowout at the hands of Vanderbilt to open SEC play, Auburn had improved in many statistical categories. Over the last five games, the Tigers had been outscored by just 2.6 points per game and held a plus-3.4 rebounding margin against opponents.
The loss marked the seventh in a row for Auburn to Tennessee in Knoxville.
Updated January 28, 2012