John Fulkerson scored a season-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead No. 19 Tennessee to a 77-73 nonconference win over No. 6 Arizona on Wednesday at Knoxville, Tenn., handing the Wildcats their first loss of the season.
Santiago Vescovi added 15 points, Josiah-Jordan James had 12 and Justin Powell finished with 11 for Tennessee (9-2).
Arizona (11-1) was led by Bennedict Mathurin’s 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists before he fouled out.
Kerr Kriisa was the only other Arizona player to score in double figures, winding up with 11 points before he also fouled out.
Christian Koloko fouled out for Arizona too, and another two Wildcats wound up with four fouls.
Arizona had 28 personal fouls compared to Tennessee’s 16. The Volunteers shot 27 free throws and made 18. The Wildcats were 12 of 18 from the free-throw line.
Kriisa missed a 3-point attempt with 1:29 left that could have given Arizona the lead.
Tennessee’s Kennedy Chandler shot an airball in the lane, but Fulkerson grabbed the rebound and made the shot while being fouled with 56 seconds left to put the Volunteers ahead 73-69. He missed the ensuing free throw.
Mathurin missed a 3-point attempt and subsequently turned the ball over on Arizona’s next two possessions. He then fouled out on a reach-in call guarding Chandler with 21 seconds left. Chandler made 1 of 2 free-throw attempts to give the Volunteers a 74-69 lead.
Azuolas Tubelis converted a basket in the lane with 14 seconds left before Vescovi made two free throws to give Tennessee a 76-71 lead. After Tubelis again made an interior shot, Powell hit 1 of 2 free-throw attempts with two seconds left to secure the win.
Arizona fell behind 16-2 with 14:54 left in the first half, committing five turnovers and making 1 of 4 shots at that time.
The Wildcats sank only three of their first 18 shots from the field before making four straight to cut the deficit to 26-21 with 1:40 left in the half. Tennessee responded with an 8-0 run to push the lead to 34-21 at halftime.
Arizona went on a 10-2 run to cut Tennessee’s lead to 44-40 with 15:45 remaining. The Wildcats again rallied with a 14-2 run to tie the game at 62 with 5:06 left on a Koloko layup.
–Field Level Media
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