Two first-half runs and a hot-shooting touch from 3-point range in the opening half from Georgia were the difference on Wednesday night, as the Tennessee men’s basketball team fell, 80-63, in Athens.
Tennessee dropped to 10-6 and 2-2 in the SEC, while Georgia improved to 11-5 and 1-2 in conference action.
Senior Jordan Bowden paced the Vols in scoring, tallying 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field.
Junior Yves Pons was effective on the glass, pulling in a game-high eight rebounds while also adding eight points to the scoresheet.
The bright spot of the night for Tennessee was the debut of redshirt freshman transfer Uros Plavsic, who had sat out the previous 15 games after the NCAA repeatedly denied his waiver for immediate eligibility. The Serbian 7-footer finished with five points and three rebounds off the bench.
Georgia came out of the gates quickly, taking an early 8-3 lead. The Vols responded with a 9-0 run, during which four different players scored to give UT a 12-8 advantage with just under 14 minutes remaining in the half.
Georgia took the punch and came back with a 12-3 run of its own, spearheaded by freshman Anthony Edwards and graduate transfer Donnell Gresham Jr., who tallied six points apiece.
Holding a 20-15 lead, the Bulldogs extended their advantage with two 3-point buckets from Rayshaun Hammonds and layups from freshman Sahvir Wheeler and Edwards to take a 32-19 lead with under eight minutes to play in the half.
Georgia closed the half on a 13-5 run to take a 47-28 lead into the locker room.
Out of the break, Georgia held steady. Despite multiple comeback efforts from the Vols, the Bulldogs never let their lead dip below 17 points for the remainder of the night.
The Streak Continues: Yves Pons recorded a block for the 16th consecutive game. Pons finished the night with two rejections, bringing his season total to 41 for an average of 2.6 blocks per game.
Up Next: The Vols return to the hardwood for a Saturday night road bout at in-state foe Vanderbilt. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m. ET on SEC Network.