Bailey scores 21, No. 25 Tennessee beats Vanderbilt 70-58

February 24

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Vols didn't know until warm-ups that Vanderbilt would be without its top scorer and the Southeastern Conference's leading rebounder.

Good thing for the 25th-ranked Vols who still have issues to fix as the regular season winds to a close.

Victor Bailey Jr. made 5-of-8 3-pointers and finished with 21 points as

Tennessee (16-6, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) won its eight straight in the series and 10th in the last 11 games between the teams.

Jaden Springer added 20 points, and Yves Pons had 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Vols turned the ball over 17 times, far too much for coach Rick Barnes' comfort.

“We turned the ball over just way too much, especially early," Barnes said. “And we’ve got to stop turn the ball over. Good thing probably they didn’t have those two guys with the way we were turning the ball over.”

Vanderbilt (6-13, 2-11) lost its third straight with Scotty Pippen Jr., the SEC’s second-leading scorer averaging 20.5 points a game

Coach Jerry Stackhouse said after the game that Disu, leading the SEC with 9.2 rebounds per game, will have surgery Friday to repair meniscus in his knee. Pippen will have an MRI on Thursday to check a hip flexor.

“We're a little undermanned, had some lineups out there that we really hadn't used much this year, but I thought those guys played their butts off and gave themselves a chance to make a play or two at the end but came up short,” Stackhouse said.

Trey Thomas led Vanderbilt with 14 points. Maxwell Evans had 13, Isaac McBride 11.

The Vols lost to Kentucky last weekend, dropping them to their lowest ranking this season.

The teams swapped spurts and the lead in the first half, but Tennessee took control for good by finishing on a 15-2 run capped by Olivier Nkamhoua's layup with 1:04 left for a 32-22 halftime lead.

Tennessee led by as much as 17 on a 3-pointer by Bailey with 16:58 remaining. Vanderbilt kept shooting from outside the arc, making eight 3s in the half and pulled within 56-52 with 4:27 left on a dunk by Maxwell Evans.

“My teammates were finding me getting me open looks, and I was able to hit them,” Bailey said. "So hopefully it continues. And next time we hopefully we can not let other teams get so hot against us.”

But Evans missed the free throw after being fouled, and Wright missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Keon Johnson answered with two free throws and a dunk for Tennessee, then fellow freshman Springer scored on a layup, hit two free throws and added another layup to seal the victory.

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: The Volunteers needed a big win with Auburn on Saturday their last scheduled game of the regular season. They came in fifth in the SEC standings trying to climb higher to avoid playing on Thursday of the conference tournament in two weeks in Nashville.

Vanderbilt: Stackhouse used his 13th different starting lineup this season in this game. Pippen had been the only Commodore to start every game this season before Wednesday night and snapped a 32-game starting streak.

OUTSIDE SHOOTING

Vanderbilt stayed in this game by shooting well from 3. The Commodores came in second in the SEC making 9.2 3s a game, and they went 13-of-33 from 3. But they were 3-of-6 at the free throw line compared to 18-of-22 for the Vols.

UP NEXT

Tennessee: At Auburn on Saturday.

Vanderbilt: Hosts Ole Miss on Saturday for the Commodores' final home game this season.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25



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