CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Virginia never trailed but had to withstand a couple second-half rallies to beat Tennessee 46-38 in a nonconference matchup Wednesday night. While Tennessee (4-3) never came within one possession of Virginia (7-2), the Volunteers refused to go away down the stretch, cutting the lead to four points. Tennessee's leading scorer, Jarnell Stokes, put back a Skylar McBee miss to make it 42-38 with 37 seconds to play. Virginia redshirt freshman point guard Teven Jones hit two free throws in a one-and-one situation to push the lead back to six with 32 seconds remaining. Kenny Hall missed a 3-pointer on Tennessee's next possession, and Virginia guard Paul Jesperson made two more free throws to seal the win. It was an ugly offensive game. Virginia shot just 35.8 percent from the floor, while Tennessee shot just 28.8 percent. Virginia was led by Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell, who each had 13 points. Mitchell added 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Point guard Trae Golden was the only Volunteer in double figures, finishing with 11 points. Tennessee also cut the lead to four early in the second half on a McBee 3-pointer with 18:09 left to make it 25-21, but Virginia responded with an 11-0 run over the next 4:02 to push the lead back to 15. Virginia point guard Jontel Evans got the run started with two uncontested layups on consecutive possessions. The streak ended when Evans caught the Tennessee defense sleeping underneath out-of-bounds play, and he hit Harris for a layup with 14:07 to play. Virginia led 25-16 at halftime. Mitchell led the Cavaliers with nine points and eight rebounds before the break. Darion Atkins and Harris each had six first-half points. As a team, Virginia shot 39.3 percent (11-of-28) from the floor in the first 20 minutes. The Cavaliers had seven assists on their 11 made field goals. The Volunteers were coming off a 37-36 loss at Georgetown on Friday. Tennessee's 36 points represented the school's second-lowest total in the shot-clock era, and the Volunteers continued to struggle offensively during the first half Wednesday night. Tennessee scored just six points in the first 14:51 of the game as Virginia opened up a 21-6 lead. The Volunteers made just three of their first 18 shot attempts. Tennessee shot 32 percent (8-of-25) for the entire half and also had nine turnovers. Forward Kenny Hall led the Volunteers with six points on three dunks in the first half. Neither team made a 3-point basket in the opening period. Tennessee missed all eight of its attempts, while Virginia was 0-for-4. NOTES: Virginia improved to 8-4 in the teams' series. Tennessee won the previous meeting, beating the Cavaliers 77-74 in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. ... Evans made his first start of the season. He missed five games with a foot injury and came off the bench the three previous games in which he appeared.
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