Jermaine Beal scored 25 points and No. 21 Vanderbilt won its 10th straight game with an 85-76 victory over No. 14 Tennessee on Wednesday night.
It was the first win for the Commodores (16-3, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) in Knoxville in five tries, and Tennessee's first loss at home this season. Vandy is off to its best start in the SEC since 1966 and has grabbed control of the league's Eastern Division.
The teams traded the lead until a 3-pointer by Brad Tinsley with 8:42 left put Vanderbilt up 59-56, a lead it did not relinquish.
Beal hit a layup and two 3s in less than a minute to give Vanderbilt control with a 74-60 cushion with 4:58 remaining.
J.P. Prince led Tennessee (15-4, 3-2) with 22 points, and Wayne Chism grabbed 16 rebounds. Scotty Hopson scored 14, while Bobby Maze added 12.
The longtime state rivals were physical with each other, and the referees made sure to call every reach in or push they saw.
The teams were tied at 39 when Vanderbilt's Andre Walker tangled with Prince under the Volunteers' basket. Walker was tagged with a foul for elbowing Prince, but both earned a technical for the words they exchanged.
Prince followed up his technical with a 3-pointer and an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Maze with 15:31 left, but was called for a second technical for hanging on the rim too long.
Though Prince was not ejected, the constant fouls hurt Tennessee more than Vanderbilt. Hopson and Kenny Hall, one of the Vols' few post players, quickly picked up their third and fourth fouls after halftime and spent much of the second half on the bench.
And even though both teams were called for 23 fouls, Vandy was more poised at the free throw line, making 21 of 29 attempts compared to Tennessee's 14-of-24 shooting from the charity stripe.
Vanderbilt shot 50.9 percent from the floor, the 11th time this season the Commodores have hit more than half of their shots.
But it wasn't until the second half that they found their touch. A.J. Ogilvy finished with 12 after scoring two points in the first half. Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins and Tinsley each added 10 points.
It was the first time both teams were in the Top 25 when they faced each other since 18th-ranked Vanderbilt upset No. 1 Tennessee 72-69 in Nashville on Feb. 26, 2008.
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