Tennessee 71, Massachusetts 45
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Ron Slay scored 21 points and Thaydeus Holden added 13 as Tennessee beat Massachusetts 71-45 Wednesday.
The Volunteers (12-6) captured the lead early in the first half with an 11-2 run, and held on with another spurt to begin the second half.
Massachusetts (8-13) tried to get back in the game after halftime with a 7-0 run. Tennessee responded with a 17-0 run over the next five minutes to push its lead to 27 and out of reach of the Minutemen.
Micah Brand scored 11 points in the first half and finished with 14 for UMass, which shot 18-of-52 from the floor.
The Minutemen’s leading scorer Jackie Rogers was averaging 13.3 points a game, but was held to two points on 1-of-3 shooting from the floor.
UMass’ final score tied for its the worst of the season. The Minutemen lost to Central Connecticut State 46-45 on Dec. 2.
The Vols led 39-30 at halftime and started the second half with an 8-0 run. UMass answered with the 7-0 run that cut it to 47-37 with 14:50 remaining.
The Minutemen didn’t get any closer the rest of the way as Tennessee held them scoreless for 6 1/2 minutes. The highlight during the 17-0 run came when Derek Stribling tipped a pass from a UMass player and saved it from going out of bounds. Higgins grabbed it as it bounced down the court and lobbed it to Slay, who dunked it.
Trailing 6-4 early, Tennessee had an 11-2 run to get the lead for good, 15-8 with 12:33 left.
Holden, who scored all of his points in the first half, hit a jumper from the key and made two 3-pointers from the corner during the run.
After the Vols increased their lead to 36-24 with 1:51 remaining, UMass cut the lead in half in just 39 seconds. Anthony Anderson hit a 3 and Gabe Lee converted a three-point play, but Tennessee scored the final four points to lead by nine at halftime.