photo by James Boofer
#4 Tennessee held #10 Texas to 28 points in the first half en route to an 82-71 victory in Knoxville on Saturday night.
Olivier Nkamhoua scored 27 points, and Zakai Zeigler added 22 in the SEC/Big 12 showdown. It was a measure of revenge for a one-point loss to the Longhorns last season.
And it was a victory for coach Rick Barnes over his former team for 17 years and his close associate that he mentored for nine years, Rodney Terry.
The two teams stayed close early, then a three-pointer by Santiago Vescovi put the Vols up by five, 22-17. A layup by Tobe Awaka and a jumper by Josiah-Jordan James pushed the lead to nine. Texas could not get off 17 until 4.:30 remaining in the half.
The halftime advantage for Tennessee was 40-28.
A Zeigler three-pointer put the Vols up by 17 at 52-35.
Texas made a late run and had a couple of chances to cut the lead to single digits, but Tennessee held on before a packed house.
Both teams entered the game with 17-3 records, and the Vols are now 18-3 with only a single conference loss.