KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (release) -- Suffocating defense along huge games from freshman Jarnell Stokes and senior Cameron Tatum, the Vols took down a defending NCAA Champion for the fourth consecutive time at Thompson-Boling Arena, handing #13/11 UConn a 60-57 defeat. Tennessee limited the Huskies to a season-low in points and just field goal percentage (36.4). In just his third college game, Stokes notched his first-career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Tatum tallied 14 points including four 3-pointers.
The Vols knocked off a defending NCAA champion for the 11th time in school history and seventh time in the last nine opportunities. Tennessee has won its last four games at Thompson-Boling Arena against a defending champ (Florida in 2007 and 2008 and Kentucky in 1999).
The Vols pulled away from UConn late in the second half with a 16-10 run over after the Huskies pulled to within two at 37-35. The Vols went up by 10 at 53-43 on Trae Golden's first point of the game, a free throw with 3:15 left. That came on the heels of Tatum's fourth trey of the game with 4:02 left.
UConn got back to within five points at 53-48, but Stokes made two free throws with 56.4 seconds left to make it 55-48. UConn's Lamb and Shabazz Napier hit 3-pointers in the final 37 seconds to cut the deficit to 56-54 with 21.9 left in regulation. Skylar McBee's free throws with 19.0 left gave the Vols a two-possession advantage at 58-54.
Tennessee opened the second half with a 9-0 run to take a 34-27 lead with 16:27 left as Maymon's thunderous dunk capped the spurt. That was followed by an 0-for-9 shooting drought by the Vols, as they didn't score for more than six minutes. Stokes ended the dray spell with a jumper to make it 9:55 and keep the Vols ahead at 37-33.
UConn led 27-25 at halftime despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor in the first half. Lamb's lay-up with 13 seconds left gave the Huskies the advantage as he led all scorers with nine points. The Vols were led by Tatum, who nailed two 3-pointers as he made all three of his shots for eight points. The lead changed hands six times and was tied five times in the first half.
Tennessee held the UConn bench without a point, outscoring them 15-0 as McBee had eight.
The Vols return to conference action on Tuesday night at Vanderbilt. The 7 p.m., tip-off can be seen nationally on ESPNU and heard on the Vol Network.
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