Vanderbilt 67, Tennessee 62
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Freshman guard Alex Gordon scored a season-high 30 points, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, and Vanderbilt beat Tennessee 67-62 Wednesday night to sweep the season series from its instate rival.
Gordon was making just his second straight collegiate start, and he has helped Vanderbilt (13-8, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) win both after a four-game losing skid. He couldn’t have started any better with 14 points in the first half as he hit all four of his shots, including three 3s.
Corey Smith added 19 points as Vanderbilt won its third straight over Tennessee (10-11, 3-5).
Chris Lofton led Tennessee with 16 points. C.J. Watson added 14, and Scooter McFagdon 12 for a team that was on the road for the fifth time in its past six games. The Vols now are 1-5 in that stretch.
Watson’s three-point play with 2:31 left pulled Tennessee within 58-57.
That was as close as the Vols would get in the second half as Smith answered at the other end with 3-pointer. Tennessee got within 65-62 with 15 seconds left off Andre Patterson’s jumper in the paint. But JaJuan Smith fouled Gordon on the inbounds play, and the freshman hit both free throws.
Tennessee scored first and led by as much as 15-6.
The Commodores started slow and had trouble finding the basket early. The nation’s fourth-best 3-point shooting team didn’t even attempt a shot from beyond the arc until Gordon hit one with 6:29 left in the half that got Vandy going.
It was all Gordon as he hit three free throws after being fouled from long range, and he tied the game at 21 with another 3. His third 3 of the half gave Vandy its first lead at 26-24. The Commodores finished the half outscoring Tennessee 17-6 and led 32-27 at halftime.