NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Victor Bailey Jr. made 5-of-8 3-pointers and finished with 21 points as No. 25 Tennessee beat in-state rival Vanderbilt 70-58 Wednesday night to sweep the season series.
Tennessee (16-6, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) won its eight straight in the series and 10th in the last 11 games between the teams.
Jaden Springer added 20 points for the Vols, and Yves Pons had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Vanderbilt (6-13, 2-11) lost its third straight with Scotty Pippen Jr., the SEC’s second-leading scorer averaging 20.5 points a game sidelined by injury along with Dylan Disu, named the SEC player of the week after putting up back-to-back double-doubles last week. Clevon Brown also missed a second straight game.
Trey Thomas led Vanderbilt with 14 points. Maxwell Evans had 13, Isaac McBride 11.
The Vols lost to Kentucky last weekend, dropping them to their lowest ranking this season.
The teams swapped spurts and the lead in the first half, but Tennessee took control for good by finishing on a 15-2 run capped by Olivier Nkamhoua’s layup with 1:04 left for a 32-22 halftime lead.
Tennessee led by as much as 17 on a 3-pointer by Bailey with 16:58 remaining. Vanderbilt kept shooting from outside the arc, making eight 3s in the half and pulled within 56-52 with 4:27 left on a dunk by Maxwell Evans.
But Evans missed the free throw after being fouled, and Jordan Wright missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
Keon Johnson answered with two free throws and a dunk for Tennessee, then fellow freshman Springer scored on a layup, hit two free throws and added another layup to seal the victory.
Tennessee: The Volunteers needed a big win with Auburn on Saturday their last scheduled game of the regular season. They came in fifth in the SEC standings trying to climb higher to avoid playing on Thursday of the conference tournament in two weeks in Nashville.
Vanderbilt: Coach Jerry Stackhouse used his 13th different starting lineup this season in this game. Pippen had been the only Commodore to start every game this season before Wednesday night and snapped a 32-game starting streak.
Vanderbilt stayed in this game by shooting well from 3. The Commodores came in second in the SEC making 9.2 3s a game, and they went 13-of-33 from 3. But they were 3-of-6 at the free throw line compared to 18-of-22 for the Vols.
Tennessee: At Auburn on Saturday.
Vanderbilt: Hosts Ole Miss on Saturday for the Commodores’ final home game this season.