NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jordan Bowden scored 21 points, and the Tennessee Volunteers beat Vanderbilt 66-45 Saturday for their fifth straight win against the Commodores for their longest winning streak in this in-state rivalry in 38 years.
Tennessee (11-6, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) won 10 straight against Vanderbilt between 1978 and 1982, and now these Volunteers also have won four straight at Memorial Gym and pulled within 54-53 of Vanderbilt inside the SEC's oldest gym.
Yves Pons and John Fulkerson each scored 12 points for Tennessee.
Vanderbilt (8-9, 0-4) snapped a streak of 1,080 straight games making at least one 3-pointer, which spanned 34 years. That leaves UNLV and Princeton as the only schools to make at least one 3 since the shot was introduced for the 1986-87 season. Jordan Wright nearly hit a 3 to keep the streak alive with 3:18 left that didn't count due to a shot clock violation.
The Commodores also lost their 22nd straight conference game during the regular season, a skid that started under former coach Bryce Drew. That ties the second-longest skid in SEC history, matching Alabama's 22-game skid between 1960 and 1970 and is just two away from matching Sewanee's mark of 24 consecutive losses between 1938 and 1940.
Vanderbilt now has lost five straight — three of those since learning the SEC's leading scorer in Aaron Nesmith was likely lost for the rest of the season due to an injured right foot.
Scotty Pippen Jr. led Vandy with 16 points. Saben Lee added 14, and the junior became the 49th Commodore to reach 1,000 career points. He's scored 1,011.
These teams swapped the lead nine times with five ties in the first half. Tennessee scored 10 straight to go up 21-13 with 6:29 left. But the Vols went cold, and Vandy scored the final seven points to pull within 21-20 at halftime despite hitting only 2 of its final 13 shots.
Then the Vols opened the second half scoring the first 10 points as part of a 16-3 run. The lead grew to as many as 22 in the final minutes as Tennessee making more shots (10 of its first 11) to start the second half than Vandy had for the game (9 of 40).
Tennessee: The Vols came in leading the SEC making an average of nine 3s per game in league play. They missed all six in the first half and finished 1 of 8. It didn't matter as they used their size to outscore Vandy 42-20 in the paint. They finished shooting 53% (26 of 49).
Vanderbilt: The Commodores certainly tried to keep the 3-point streak alive. They took 10 shots in the first half and finished missing all 25 attempts. Inside the final minute, Wright missed, and Lee had one that went in and out. Lee also missed again in the final seconds.
Tennessee: Hosts Ole Miss on Tuesday night.
Vanderbilt: Hosts Alabama on Wednesday night.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/MarchMadness and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25