Tennessee's Barton bouncing back from slump

The Associated Press
Tennessee's Barton bouncing back from slump
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Tennessee guard Antonio Barton (2), right, high-fives teammates Jordan McRae (52) and center Rawane "Pops" Ndiaye (10) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Barton scored 21 points in Tennessee's 76-38 victory over Vanderbilt. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Lau)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee guard Antonio Barton lost his starting spot and his shooting touch during a difficult senior season, but the Memphis transfer finally is back on the upswing.

His resurgence comes just in time to help his new team make a late push for an NCAA tournament bid.

After returning to the Tennessee (18-11, 9-7 SEC) starting lineup last week, Barton had a season-high 21 points and a career-high six assists Saturday in a 76-38 blowout of Vanderbilt. Barton will attempt to carry that momentum into Wednesday night's game at Auburn (13-14, 5-11).

Barton shot 11 of 54 overall and 3 of 29 from 3-point range during a recent nine-game stretch in which Tennessee went 4-5. But he kept battling and is now playing his best basketball of the season.