KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Vols beat Vanderbilt on Saturday evening, 81-61, at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tenth-ranked Tennessee is now 10-1.
Tennessee started the game on a 7-0 run. It took nearly 3:30 for Vanderbilt to score its first point—a free throw from Scottie Pippen Jr. The Commodores then outscored the Vols 18-8 over the next nine minutes to take the lead. Tennessee retook the lead on a dunk from Josiah-Jordan James. That sparked a 12-3 run to give the Vols a 34-24 lead into halftime.
Tennessee and Vanderbilt traded baskets to start the second half. However, Tennessee retained its lead. Seven minutes into the period, Victor Bailey Jr. knocked down back-to-back threes to put the Vols up by 11. After that, freshmen Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer knocked down three-pointers to increase Tennessee’s lead. The Vols led by double-digits for the rest of the game.
Johnson finished with a career-high 16 points to lead Tennessee in the victory. John Fulkerson finished with 15 points. As a team, the Vols shot 49 percent from the floor, scored 34 points in the paint and got another 34 off the bench.
This was Rick Barnes 719th win as a head coach. That ties him with basketball hall of famers Don Haskins and Phog Allen for 20th all-time in Division I basketball history. In the series with Vanderbilt, Tennessee has now won seven straight and nine of the last 10 meetings.
"Honestly, I don't think about it," Barnes said after the game. "I love what I do. I really do. All that means [is] I've had a lot of really good players."
Tennessee travels to Gainesville for their next game against the Florida Gators, on Jan. 19.