Tennessee rallies for 74-65 win over USC Upstate

The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jarnell Stokes scored 17 points and matched a career high with 18 rebounds Saturday as Tennessee rallied from a 13-point deficit to beat USC Upstate 74-65 in its home opener.

Jeronne Maymon added 15 points and 11 rebounds as Tennessee (1-1) avoided its first 0-2 start since 1965-66. Jordan McRae scored 18 points and Antonio Barton had 13.

Torrey Craig scored 20 points and Ty Greene, who grew up in Knoxville, had 15 for USC Upstate (1-2).

USC Upstate led by as many as 13 in the first half and owned a 57-48 advantage with 12:33 remaining before Tennessee went on a 20-4 run. Antonio Barton's fadeaway 3-pointer with 8:41 left gave Tennessee a 61-59 lead it wouldn't relinquish.

Stokes' performance represented a return to form. Stokes, a second-team all-Southeastern Conference selection last year, had four points and four rebounds Tuesday before fouling out of a 67-63 loss to Xavier. Although he shot just 5 of 17, Stokes continually drew fouls and went 7 of 8 on free throws.

USC Upstate was attempting to beat a major-conference opponent for the second time in as many attempts this season. The Spartans opened the season with a 64-63 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference member Virginia Tech before falling 82-74 at Winthrop.

And the Spartans certainly didn't look intimidated in the early going.

USC Upstate shot 62.1 percent (18 of 29) overall and 57.1 percent (4 of 7) from 3-point range in the first half and led 42-35 at the intermission. Craig and Greene scored 10 points each in the first half to help the Spartans take control.

Greene grew up in Knoxville and graduated from Bearden High, about eight miles from Thompson-Boling Arena. Craig has led the Atlantic Sun in scoring each of the last two seasons.

Tennessee stayed relatively close early only by working the ball inside and drawing fouls. The Vols went 29 of 36 on free throws Saturday after going 7 of 19 from the line against Xavier. USC Upstate attempted only two free throws in the first half and finished 11 of 16 from the line.

USC Upstate had a nine-point lead with 12 1/2 minutes left, but the Spartans would make just one basket over the next eight minutes. Tennessee went on its 20-4 run during that stretch. Maymon scored six points during that spurt, but the biggest blow was Barton's 3-pointer.

Barton pumped his fist as his shot went through to give Tennessee its first lead since the first six minutes of the game. The Vols stayed ahead the rest of the way, as USC Upstate shot just 26.9 percent (7 of 26) overall and missed all seven of its 3-point attempts in the second half.

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