Knoxville, Tenn. – Tennessee used a 26-8 run over the final 12:19 to erase a nine-point deficit on its way to a 74-65 victory over USC Upstate Saturday evening from Thompson-Boling Arena.
Upstate senior forward Ricardo Glenn put the Spartans ahead 57-48 with a pair of free throws at the 12:33 mark of the second half, but an 8-0 run by the Volunteers trimmed the Upstate margin to one point after Josh Richardson hit two free throws.
After Torrey Craig scored on the ensuing Upstate possession to push the Spartans' lead to 59-56, Jeronne Maymon hit a jumper in the paint and Antonio Barton gave Tennessee the lead for the first time since the 14:35 mark of the first half with a three-pointer from the corner to put the Vols ahead 61-59 with 8:41 remaining.
Fred Miller pulled Upstate back to within two points with just over seven minutes remaining, but a three-pointer from Jordan McRae and a jumper by Barton pushed the Tennessee lead back to seven points with 5:22 left to play.
Upstate managed only one field goal thereafter and McRae scored the final six points for the Vols to finish with a team-high 18 points, three assists and three steals. Jarnell Stokes pulled down 18 rebounds to go along with seven points, while Mayone and Barton added 15 points and 13 points, respectively.
Craig led all scorers with 20 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Knoxville native Ty Greene finished with 15 points, five rebounds and two assists. Jodd Maxey added eight points and a game-high three blocked shots.
USC Upstate used a 13-0 run over a 2:35 stretch in the first half to erase an 11-8 deficit and open up a 21-11 lead midway through the first half. Tennessee managed to trim the Upstate lead to six points following a pair of free throws from McRae, but Craig answered with five straight points for the Spartans to push the lead out to 11 points with 6:40 left in the half.
Upstate went on to lead by as many 13 points three different times over the next four minutes, but Tennessee closed the first half on an 6-0 run capped by four straight free throws from Stokes to cut the Spartans' lead to 42-35 at halftime. Stokes led all scorers with 12 points and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the first half.
Craig and Greene paced the Spartans in the first half with 10 points apiece.
USC Upstate returns to the floor Thursday at 5 p.m. when the Spartans take on Niagara in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Kent, Ohio.