KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Robert Hubbs III scored 25 points and made a key block in the last minute Tuesday night as Tennessee outlasted Tennessee Tech 74-68.
After trailing by as many as 22 points early in the second half, Tennessee Tech (4-8) cut Tennessee’s lead to 71-67 on Courtney Alexander II’s dunk with 21 seconds left. Tennessee went 3 of 4 on free throws in the final 18 seconds to seal the victory.
Before Alexander’s dunk, Tennessee Tech had the ball twice with a chance to trim a five-point deficit. On the first possession, Kajon Mack was called for an offensive foul after leaning into Lamonte Turner with 1:14 left. Tennessee Tech’s next chance faded when Hubbs blocked Aleksa Jugovic’s 3-point attempt with 33 seconds remaining.
Tennessee (5-4) withstood a 6 ½-minute stretch in which it failed to make a basket.
Both teams were coming off narrow losses to traditional powers. Tennessee lost 73-71 at No. 7 North Carolina on Sunday after leading for most of the game. Tennessee Tech fell 71-63 at Michigan State on Saturday.
Hubbs had arguably the best performance of his career against North Carolina, as the senior guard scored 21 points and shot 9 of 11. He stayed hot Tuesday by shooting 10 of 17 and pulling down seven rebounds.
Turner added 16 points while shooting 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Turner has gone 14 of 25 from beyond the arc over his last four games.
Jugovic scored 14 points for Tennessee Tech. Mack and Savonte Frazier each scored 11, and Mason Ramsey added 10.
Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles have twice as many losses as wins, but they’ve shown plenty of tenacity in how they’ve rallied against more talented opponents. Tennessee Tech trailed Michigan State by as many as 18 last week but made that game interesting down the stretch. The Golden Eagles followed a similar formula Tuesday as Tennessee struggled to put the game away.
Tennessee: The Vols played virtually error-free basketball in the first half by compiling 11 assists with only one turnover. Tennessee wasn’t nearly as effective the rest of the way. In the second half, the Vols had 13 turnovers with six assists.
Tennessee Tech hosts Lipscomb on Saturday.
Tennessee hosts Lipscomb on Thursday.