Vols down the 'Dores, earn bye in SEC tourney

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- The Vols put themselves in postion to finish with the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament as they posted a 68-61 win over Vanderbilt before an electric crowd of 22,172 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Tennessee (18-13, 10-6 SEC) will have to wait for tomorrow's Kentucky-Florida game for the final standings. A win by the No. 1 Wildcats will secure the second seed for Tennessee. A win by Florida will put the Vols No. 3 in the standings behind the Gators, who enter Sunday with a 10-5 conference mark.

The Vols have won 13 of their last 14 home games and eight of their last nine games overall in making a push for the program's seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Tennessee was picked to finish 11th in the SEC Preseason poll and have made major strides under first-year UT head coach Cuonzo Martin.

Senior Cameron Tatum led four Vols in double-figures with 18 points. Trae Golden tallied 17 points while Jeronne Maymon had 12.

Freshman Jarnell Stokes notched his second-career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. He also had five blocked shots, the sixth-most in a game in UT history.

The defense did a great job on the SEC's two leading scorers as John Jenkins (18 points) and Jeffery Taylor (10 points) were held to a combined total of 28. Jenkins entered the game averaging 20.1 while Taylor was scoring 17.4 per game.

Vanderbilt is now 21-10 overall and 10-6 in the SEC, heading into the conference tournament,

Maymon's layup with 1:47 left put the Vols up 62-56. Vandy cut the margin to four at 63-59 on a 3-pointer by Steve Tchiengang with 47.7 left. Trae Golden added four free throws in the final 40 seconds to secure the win.

The Commodores continued to press as Jenkins and Taylor scored on consecutive shots to cut the deficit to 56-53 with 4:23 left. Tatum made four free throws for put UT up 60-53 with 3:22 left.

Vandy cut its deficit to two points (44-42), but the Vols quickly responded with a jumper by Golden and a 3-point bomb by Tatum to take a 51-42 lead thanks to a 7-0 spurt with 7:55 left in the second half.

The Vols made a big push early in the second half with a 9-0 run that forced Vanderbilt to call timeout. Tatum's 3-pointer from the wing put UT up 41-33, the largest advantage for each team to that point. Josh Richardson's layup with 15:58 left push the lead to 43-34.

Tennessee led 30-29 at halftime thanks to Golden's perfect shooting, giving him nine points. The Vols crashed the boards and led 22-13 in that category while Stokes swatted four shots in the first 20 minutes.

The Vols took an early 10-5 lead with a 8-0 run over 2:16 finishing with a pair of free throws by Golden.

Vanderbilt went on a 12-1 run as Jenkins nailed three consecutive 3-pointers and Brad Tinsley canned another trey to regain the lead for Vanderbilt at 21-15 with 8:20 left in the first half.

The Vols retaliated with a 9-2 run as senior Renaldo Woolridge's jumper regained the lead for Tennessee at 24-23 with 4:49 left in the first half. Golden's runner made it 26-23.

From the SEC:

Here are the scenarios entering Sunday’s game.

Possible Seeds
1 – Kentucky
2 – Florida/Tennessee
3 – Tennessee/Vanderbilt
4 – Florida/Vanderbilt
5 – Alabama
6 – Mississippi State
7 – Ole Miss
8 – LSU
9 – Arkansas
10 – Auburn
11 – Georgia
12 – South Carolina

If Florida defeats Kentucky on Sunday
- Kentucky is the No. 1 seed with a 15-1 record
- Florida would be the No. 2 seed with an 11-6 record
- Tennessee and Vanderbilt both finish 10-6 – Tennessee will be No. 3, Vanderbilt No. 4
o Tennessee and Vanderbilt split their head-to-head meetings
o Record against No. 1 seed Kentucky: Tennessee 0-2, Vanderbilt 0-2
o Record against No. 2 seed Florida: Tennessee 2-0, Vanderbilt 1-1
- Alabama is the No. 5 seed at 9-7
- Ole Miss and Mississippi State both finish 8-8 – Mississippi State will be No. 6, Ole Miss No. 7
o Ole Miss and Mississippi State split their head-to-head meetings
o Record against No. 1 seed Kentucky: Ole Miss 0-1, Mississippi State 0-1
o Record against No. 2 seed Florida: Ole Miss 0-1, Mississippi State 0-1
o Record against No. 3 seed Tennessee: Ole Miss 0-1, Mississippi State 1-0
- LSU is the No. 8 seed at 7-9
- Arkansas is the No. 9 seed at 6-10
- Auburn and Georgia both finish 5-11 – Auburn will be No. 10, Georgia No. 11
o Auburn won the head-to-head meeting with Georgia
- South Carolina is the 12th seed with a 2-14 record
Bracket for this scenario
[8] LSU vs. [9] Arkansas Noon CT
[5] Alabama vs. [12] South Carolina 2:30 p.m. CT
[7] Ole Miss vs. [10] Auburn 6:30 p.m. CT
[6] Mississippi State vs. [11] Georgia 9:00 p.m. CT
Byes: [1] Kentucky, [2] Florida, [3] Tennessee, [4] Vanderbilt

If Kentucky defeats Florida on Sunday
- Kentucky is the No. 1 seed with a 16-0 record
- Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt all finish with a 10-6 record – Tennessee will be No. 2, Vanderbilt No. 3, Florida No. 4
o The total won-lost record of games played among the tied teams: Tennessee 3-1(2-0 vs. UF, 1-1 vs. VU), Vanderbilt 2-2 (1-1 vs. UF, 1-1 vs. UT), Florida 1-3 (0-2 vs. UT, 1-1 vs. VU)
- Alabama is the No. 5 seed at 7-9
- Ole Miss and Mississippi State both finish 8-8 – Mississippi State will be No. 6, Ole Miss No. 7
o Ole Miss and Mississippi State split their head-to-head meetings
o Record against No. 1 seed Kentucky: Ole Miss 0-1, Mississippi State 0-1
o Record against No. 2 seed Tennessee: Ole Miss 0-1, Mississippi State 1-0
- LSU is the No. 8 seed at 7-9
- Arkansas is the No. 9 seed at 6-10
- Auburn and Georgia both finish 5-11 – Auburn will be No. 10, Georgia No. 11
o Auburn won the head-to-head meeting with Georgia
- South Carolina is the 12th seed with a 2-14 record

Bracket for this scenario
[8] LSU vs. [9] Arkansas Noon CT
[5] Alabama vs. [12] South Carolina 2:30 p.m. CT
[7] Ole Miss vs. [10] Auburn 6:30 p.m. CT
[6] Mississippi State vs. [11] Georgia 9:00 p.m. CT
Byes: [1] Kentucky, [2] Tennessee, [3] Vanderbilt, [4] Florida


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