KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee men's basketball team won its first game in ten days, beating Mississippi State, 56-53.
Neither team shot well in the first half, as both teams made less than 34 percent of their field goals. The Vols were 8-for-26 from the floor, while Mississippi State shot 9-for-27.
Despite the poor shooting, Tennessee led the entire first half. The Vols took a three-point lead into halftime.
The Bulldogs started the second period with a three-pointer from Iverson Molinar to tie the game at 26-26. They took the lead on a pair of free throws from D.J. Stewart Jr.
Mississippi State retained the lead until 6:41 remaining. That's when Tennessee senior Yves Pons knocked down a long jumper to tie the game at 44-44. A layup from John Fulkerson with 5:52 to go gave the Vols a late lead. It was their first lead since the first minute of the second half. Tennessee held on to the lead for the remainder of the game.
Pons led UT in scoring with 13 points, but fouled out of the game in the second half. Mississippi State's Molinar led all scorers with 16 points.
The victory snaps the Vols' two-game losing streak. They are now 11-3 with a 5-3 record in conference play.
The Vols host 15th ranked Kansas on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 challenge.