March 6, 2013
Vols pull away for crucial win
AUBURN, Ala. -- Tennessee (18-11, 10-7) traveled to Auburn (3-14, 9-21) under some heavy pressure on Wednesday night, trying to move one step closer to securing an NCAA bid. For much of the night, it looked like the Vols were feeling that pressure before finally escaping with an 82-72 win.
Tennessee trailed by three at halftime and by one with under 10 minutes to go in the game, but took control of the contest coming down the stretch to grab a win that keeps them squarely in line for an NCAA bid if they can close out the regular season with a win at home against Missouri on Saturday.
On the front end, traveling to face an Auburn squad that had lost seven straight and 13 of its last 14 looked like an easy road assignment. It didn't take long for Tennessee to figure out they would be in for a dogfight on senior night 'on The Plains.'
Auburn shot 50% from the floor, got a huge night from Frankie Sullivan and threw a very real scare into the Vols before the game was over.
"We knew they would come out with a lot of energy and emotion, they have five seniors playing in their last home game," Cuonzo Martin observed after a hard fought win. "We knew coming in t was going to be a 40-minute basketball game. I even said to the guys before the game that this was one that was going to go down to the wire.
"Give Auburn credit, they played with a lot of emotion. Our guys were able to maintain their focus and hit those free throws at the end to get us over the hump."
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