Guard Jordan McRae had 21 points and five assists and guard Josh Richardson had 15 of his 20 points in the first half as hot-shooting Tennessee built a 22-point halftime lead and beat visiting Virginia 87-52 on Monday in Knoxville.
Forward Jarnell Stokes had 20 points and five rebounds and guard Antonio Barton added 14 points for the Volunteers, who improved to 8-4 overall.
The Cavaliers (9-4), who entered the game second in the country in scoring defense, were paced by guard Justin Anderson with 11 points. Forward Mike Tobey added 10 points and seven rebounds for Virginia, while forward Akil Mitchell had nine rebounds for the Cavs. Guard Joe Harris was held to seven points.
"You have to get to the lane and get quality shots you are looking for," Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said on the Cavaliers radio network before the game. "You have to handle their pressure."
But what Virginia could not handle was the great shooting night for Tennessee, which is not considered an offensive juggernaut. The Vols entered the game making about 66 percent of their free throws but they made their first 12 on Monday. Tennessee was also making about 31 percent of its 3-point tries before Monday but the Vols were also hot from downtown on a chilly night in eastern Tennessee.
Tennessee, which never trailed, kept on humming in the second half and led 69-43 after a 7-0 run. The lead was 79-47 after a dunk by McRae with about 5:00 left.
The Cavaliers had a few days off for Christmas before returning to practice on Friday. "We worked hard for three days," Bennett said before the game. But it did not matter for the Cavaliers, playing just their second true road game of the season.