Tekele Cotton scored all 19 of his points in the second half and No. 12 Wichita State beat Tennessee 70-61 on Saturday as the Shockers got off to the best start in school history.
Darius Carter had 11 points and 14 rebounds and Cleanthony Early added 13 points for the Shockers (10-0).
Jordan McRae scored 26 points for Tennessee (6-3), which shot 16 of 47 (34 percent) over the final 35 minutes.
Trailing at halftime for the fifth time this season, Wichita State methodically worked its way to a 39-34 lead — the largest of the game for either team to that point — on Cotton's tip-in with 15:06 remaining.
But Wichita State would not make another field goal for 5:57.
A 10-2 run by the Volunteers contained three dunks and Jarnell Stokes' slam with 10:22 to play tied it 41-41.
Just 37 seconds later, Stokes dunked again while being fouled. He made the free throw for a 44-41 lead.
That is when Cotton took over.
He made two free throws. Then blocked two Tennessee shots, leading to a transition opportunity he finished with a runner while being fouled.
The crowd — attendance was 14,356 in the downtown Intrust Bank Arena — went crazy, and Wichita State would not trail again.
Cotton's three-point play made it 46-44 with 9:09 remaining.
Four minutes later, a 3-pointer by Cotton started a 7-0 run that gave Wichita State a 58-49 lead with 4:47 remaining.
A 3 by Early beat the shot-clock buzzer and made it 63-51 with 2:43 to play, allowing Wichita State to milk the shot clock the rest of the way.
The anticipated grinding pace of the game was nowhere to be found at the beginning. Wichita State and Tennessee combined to make 13 of their first 20 field goal attempts, including all five 3-pointers. Wichita State led 17-16 at that point behind eight points from Fred VanVleet.
But the rest of the half was quite the opposite as the teams combined to go 7 of 29 over the final 12 minutes, 1 of 13 from behind the 3-point line.
Neither team led by more than three points in the half's final 12 minutes and the Volunteers led 26-25 at halftime.