KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Olivier Nkamhoua scored 27 points and Zakai Zeigler had 22 points and 10 assists to lead No. 4 Tennessee over No. 10 Texas 82-71 on Saturday night in an SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
The raucous crowd of more than 20,000 at Thompson-Boling Arena watched the Volunteers (18-3) dominate the Longhorns (17-4) inside. Tennessee had a 38-24 rebounding advantage.
“They really pounded us on the glass,” said Texas interim head coach Rodney Terry. “We don’t get out-toughed too often. We got out-toughed tonight.”
Nkamhoua had eight rebounds to go with his game-high scoring.
“He was absolutely driven,” said Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. “That (attitude) started in practice yesterday.”
“(This was) the focus and the energy I can bring every day,” said Nkamhoua. “It’s been able to translate into the game.”
Josiah-Jordan James added 14 and Santiago Vescovi had 12 points and eight rebounds for Tennessee, which led by as many as 22 midway through the second half.
Zeigler has been turning heads with his recent play.
“(Zeigler) makes guys around him better,” said Terry. “You have to pick your poison on how to guard him. He’s tough, and real pesky on defense.”
“I’m getting a good feel for the game,” Zeigler said. “Last year (a 52-51 loss at Texas), was a very emotional locker room. This meant a lot to us.”
Sir’Jabari Rice scored 21 to lead Texas. Marcus Carr, the Longhorns’ leading scorer, didn’t get his first points until early in the second half. Two early fouls impacted his production. He and Brock Cunningham finished with 11 each.
“(Tennessee) played us really hard,” said Terry. “They protected the paint and didn’t give us a lot of good looks.”
Texas went more than six minutes without scoring in the first half. Tennessee reeled off nine straight points and turned a tie game into a 26-17 lead. That spurt paved the way to a 40-28 lead at halftime.
Texas: Longhorns interim head coach Rodney Terry spent nine season as an assistant at Texas under current Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes. … Texas is averaging 16.7 assists a game. … Timmy Allen is the only active Division I player with at least 1,900 points, 800 rebounds and 400 assists. … Texas has had at least one 3-pointer in 1,075 consecutive games.
Tennessee: In college hoops parlance, a “kill shot” is a run of 10 or more points by a team. The Vols are fourth in the country with 21 “kill shots.” Only Houston (24), Rutgers (22) and Missouri (22) have more. The Vols have been on the receiving end of just three “kill shots.” … In four of Tennessee’s eight Southeastern Conference games, opponents have been scoreless at the first media timeout. … This year’s Vols team is averaging 9.70 steals a game. The all-time school record is 10.03 (2005-06).
Ranked No. 10 in this week’s AP poll, Texas rose as high as No. 2 for two weeks (Nov. 28, Dec. 5). … Barnes, the all-time winningest coach (402) in Texas history (1998-2015) had the Longhorns ranked in the Top 25 for 180 weeks. … This has been the 17th week in the last five seasons that the Vols have been ranked in the Top 5. Prior to that, Tennessee was ranked in the Top 5 17 times in the past 70 seasons.
Texas: The Longhorns have a quick turnaround. They will entertain No. 17 Baylor on Monday night.
Tennessee: The Vols return to SEC play Wednesday night at Florida.