KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Athletics) -– Kyle Alexander scored a career-high 14 points and No. 24 Tennessee held off Texas A&M on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena, 75-62.
The Vols (12-4, 3-2 SEC) forced 17 Texas A&M turnovers, the second-most of the season for the Aggies, on their way to a third-straight SEC win. The win was also Tennessee’s first over Texas A&M in Knoxville since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012, and the first time the Vols had strung together three straight SEC wins since January 21-31, 2017 (Mississippi State, Kentucky, Kansas State).
Tennessee led by as many as 14 at 65-51 with 6:27 remaining, but Texas A&M (11-6, 0-5 SEC) put together a quick 8-0 run to cut the lead to six with 3:41 to go. From there, the Vols finished strong, ending the game on a 10-3 run.
In addition to Alexander’s performance, Jordan Bowden turned in a stellar outing, leading Tennessee in scoring with 15 points and grabbing six rebounds. Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone also scored in double figures, with 12 and 10 points respectively.
Admon Gilder paced Texas A&M with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, while DJ Hogg added 13. The Vols held Tyler Davis, the Aggies’ leading scorer who came in averaging 14.6 points per game, to just nine points.
Trailing 12-11 midway through the first half, Tennessee used a 13-3 run to take a 24-17 lead with 8:02 before halftime, a lead it would never relinquish.
The Vols battled their way to a 36-28 halftime advantage, with seven different Vols scoring in the opening period. The lead at the break came thanks in part to Texas A&M’s 13 turnovers, which Tennessee converted into 15 points.
Despite their turnovers, the Aggies managed to stay in the game in the first half due to their 3-point shooting, as they connected on five of eight treys in the opening 20 minutes. Texas A&M finished the game with eight made 3-pointers.
UP NEXT: The Vols will hit the road as they head to Missouri for a 9 p.m. ET tip against the Tigers and former Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Then with will head to Columbia, S.C., to face last year’s Final Four participant South Carolina Saturday, Jan. 20 for a 6 p.m. ET tip.
FIRST HALF DOMINANCE: Tennessee has scored 25 or more points in the first half of each game this season, scoring 36 in the first half tonight.
POINTS OFF TURNOVERS: The Vols made it their 11th game this season with 15 or more points off turnovers, scoring 22 points off the Aggies’ 17 turnovers.
TAKEAWAYS: The Vols set a season-high in steals with 10 tonight against Texas A&M.
1000 FOR BARNES: Rick Barnes coached his 1000th career game as a Division I head coach tonight in a win over Texas A&M.