No. 10 Vols Take Down Commodores, 81-61

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Athletics) – A season-high 16 points from freshman guard Keon Johnson and another solid effort on the defensive end led the 10th-ranked Tennessee basketball team past in-state foe Vanderbilt Saturday.

The win was the Volunteers’ (10-1, 4-1 SEC) seventh consecutive victory over the Commodores (4-6, 0-4 SEC), and their fourth in a row inside Thompson-Boling Arena.

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Saturday’s victory also tied Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes with legendary former coaches Phog Allen and Don Haskins for 20th place on the all-time Division I wins list with 719. Barnes ranks seventh in career wins among active head coaches and now has 115 victories at Tennessee.

Johnson’s 16 points were both a team- and season-high, coming on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and a near perfect 7-of-8 mark from the free-throw line.

Senior John Fulkerson was among the most efficient players on the floor Saturday, scoring 15 points, knocking down five of his six attempts from the field and grabbing a game-high eight rebounds.

Freshman Jaden Springer stuffed the stat sheet, totaling 10 points, a season-high seven rebounds, five assists and a season-high-tying three steals.

Victor Bailey Jr. finished the night with 11 points, nine of which came on three made 3-pointers during the Vols’ early second-half run that stretched the UT lead.

The first half was a tightly contested affair that saw the defenses controlling the flow. While the squads combined to shoot a fairly efficient 37 percent from the field, there were only 10 combined offensive rebounds and seven second-chance points between the sides.

A late push to end the opening half sent the Vols into the locker room with a 34-24 lead.

The start of the second half saw a similar pace to the contest’s opening frame, before the Vols broke things open with a 15-2 run during a four-minute stretch where they knocked down five shots from 3-point range, three of which came from Bailey Jr., to extend the lead to 56-42.

Over the contest’s final 10 minutes, the Vols stifled Vandy on the defensive end and made a number of key buckets to close out the night.

Defense Wins Games: The Vols forced 16 turnovers and nabbed nine steals as a team. Saturday’s 16 forced turnovers marked the 10th time in 11 games the Vols have forced 15 or more turnovers.

Up Next: Tennessee hits the road for a Tuesday night contest at Florida. Tipoff from Gainesville is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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Angela joined the News 12 team in November of 2017 as the weekend sports anchor and reporter. Angela is a proud member of an Army family, which means she has hometowns all over the Eastern Seaboard. Most recently, she calls Peachtree City, Georgia, home, where she graduated from Trinity Christian School and spent her free time driving her purple golf cart. She then headed to Milledgeville, Georgia, to attend Georgia College and State University. A proud Bobcat, Angela graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Mass Communication and represented her December 2016 class as one of three valedictorians. Angela comes to the Scenic City from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she worked at the NBC affiliate, WMBF News. Before the big move, she worked as Georgia College's Sports Information Assistant, which let her get paid to be the Bobcats' biggest fan. It all started in Savannah, Georgia, though, where she interned for SAV's number one station, WTOC. When she's not working, you can find Angela watching the New York Giants, Rangers or basically any other game that's on. She also loves traveling, hiking and exploring new places, all with her camera in hand. If you have any story ideas, big or small, feel free to reach out to her on Facebook and Twitter, or email her at amoryan@wdef.com."