KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Senior Cameron Tatum scored 18 points to help Tennessee clinch a first-round bye in the Southeastern Conference tournament with a 68-61 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
The Vols (18-13, 10-6 SEC) can earn the No. 2 seed in the tournament if Florida loses to No. 1 Kentucky on Sunday.
Tennessee overcame its 18.8 percent shooting (3 of 16) from 3-point range by making 12 of 15 free throws down the stretch. Freshman Jarnell Stokes had a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
John Jenkins, the SEC’s leading scorer, did his best to keep Vanderbilt (21-10, 10-6) in the game, scoring eight of his team-high 18 points in the final 11 minutes.
The Vols threatened to put the game out of reach on several occasions — three times pushing their lead to nine — but Jenkins consistently scrapped out an answer on an off-shooting night for the junior.