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Tennessee Outlasts Auburn in Top 15 SEC Battle



Tennessee outlasted Auburn in a high scoring affair earlier tonight, 92-84. Led by an otherworldly performance by Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht, the Vols inched closer to an SEC title. Knecht’s 39 gave him his sixth 30-point outing of the season. A valiant effort by the Tigers fell just short in a hostile road environment.

A back and forth first half saw Tennessee have the biggest lead at six on two occasions. However, they never broke away, with Johni Broome leading the way for Auburn assisted by a pair of transfer studs. Three-time transfer Chad Baker-Mazara scored five in the first eleven minutes for the Tigers. Baker-Mazara played at Northwest Florida State College last season.

FIU transfer Denver Jones has been a spark plug all year for the Tigers. His speed and shot making ability are tough to match, and he went on a heater, scoring seven in just over a minute to end the half.

Unfortunately for Bruce Pearl and co., they could not find an answer for Dalton Knecht. The UNCO transfer scored a modest 12 first half points. Knecht averages 20 points per game this season and looked to be headed close to that number.

The 6-6 senior flipped a switch in the second half. Dalton shot lights out for the final 12 minutes when his squad needed him most. After just two points in the first eight minutes of the second half, Knecht exploded for 17 before the under eight TV timeout. With Auburn on a hot streak of their own during that stretch, the Vols needed every bit of Knecht’s brilliance.

Pearl’s team battled to the end, cutting the lead to two multiple times in the final minutes. However, Knecht nailed shot after shot in crunch time, and his Vols were able to pull away for the eight-point victory.

Tennessee and Auburn stay in great shape for March following tonight’s clash. Tennessee solidifies themselves as a potential No.1 seed in the tournament with a strong SEC tournament. Meanwhile, Auburn’s stock barely suffers following a hard-fought road loss against a top five opponent. Keep a close eye on both these squads in the Big Dance.

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