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Zakai Zeigler paces No. 8 Tennessee past Tarleton State

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Zakai Zeigler scored 13 points to fuel No. 8 Tennessee to a 65-46 victory over visiting Tarleton State on Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn.

Santiago Vescovi collected 12 points and seven rebounds and Josiah-Jordan James added 10 of each for the Volunteers (9-3), who overcame a lackluster shooting performance to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games. Tennessee shot just 36.4 percent from the floor (20 of 55) and 32.0 percent from 3-point range (8 of 25).

Jordan Gainey had nine points off the bench as the Volunteers improved to 6-0 at home.

Prior to the game, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes was named a first-time nominee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tarleton State’s Devon Barnes scored 12 points and Lue Williams and KiAndre Gaddy each had 10. Gaddy also had seven rebounds and four blocks for the Texans (8-4), who have lost two in a row following a six-game winning streak. Tarleton State did itself no favors by making just 2 of 22 on its 3-point attempts.

The Texans scored 19 of the first 30 points to begin the second half and trim their deficit to 50-44 with 5:45 remaining in the game. Vescovi, however, sank a pair of free throws and drew a charge at midcourt to slow the momentum.

Tennessee kicked it into overdrive as part of its game-ending 13-2 run, highlighted by six points from Zeigler.

Dario Domingos’ layup gave Tarleton State an early 12-10 lead before Dalton Knecht responded with a 3-pointer on the next possession. Zeigler and Vescovi also converted from beyond the arc to push Tennessee’s lead to 25-14.

Barnes scored four straight points to cap an 11-7 run for the Texans, however James drilled a 3-pointer and Zeigler added a layup to give the Volunteers a 39-25 lead at intermission.

–Field Level Media

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