KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 10 Tennessee used a key 15-2 run in the second half to pull away from visiting Vanderbilt on Saturday at Thompson-Bowling Arena, 81-61.
Vandy had climbed within four after trailing by 10 at the half, but the Volunteers controlled the game in the second half to get the victory.
Dylan Disu led Vanderbilt (4-6, 0-4 SEC) with 19 points and five rebounds, while Scotty Pippen Jr. added 18. The Commodores return home at 6 p.m. Wednesday to host Texas A&M (7-5, 2-4 SEC).
Tennessee started the contest on a 7-0 run. Vanderbilt missed its first four shots and didn’t score until Pippen sank two free throws at the 16:38 mark.
The Commodores settled in and begin to work their offense. Disu’s jumper from the paint gave Vandy a 16-15 lead and a Trey Thomas 3 from the left corner one possession later made it 19-15.
Tennessee next took control of the flow with an 14-2 run that included a resounding dunk and three-point play from Josiah-Jordan James and 3 from Santiago Vescovi. Vandy went 5:18 without a point as the Volunteers surged ahead 29-21.
An Ejike Obinna dunk at the halftime buzzer was waved off allowing Tennessee to jog into the locker room up 34-24. Vandy shot 8-for-26 in the first 20 minutes and just 2 of 10 from deep.
Tennessee had 16 of its 34 points from inside the paint and went 12-for-16 from the line in the first half.
Vanderbilt made three of its first four shots to begin the second half and got within 41-37 on a pair of Pippen free throws. Tennessee answered with a 15-2 run with nine of those points coming out of the hands of Victor Bailey.
The Volunteers turned up the defensive pressure from there with a half-court trap and were up 63-48 with 7:36 left to play. Vandy didn’t have enough of a comeback left in the playbook.
Tennessee (8-1, 4-1) led by as many as 22 in the final minutes.