Tennessee routs Auburn 82-54 for 3rd straight win

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AUBURN, Ala. -- Jarnell Stokes had 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to help Tennessee rout Auburn 82-54 on Wednesday night.

The Volunteers (19-11, 10-7) were up 24 points at halftime and never gave the Tigers (13-15, 5-12) a glimmer of hope after the opening minutes. Five players scored in double figures in Tennessee's third straight win.

Stokes was 8-of-10 shooting for Tennessee, which is trying to strengthen its NCAA tournament hopes. Antonio Barton made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points while Jordan McCrae and Jeronne Maymon had 13 apiece. Josh Richardson scored 10.

Maymon also had eight rebounds for the Vols, who outrebounded the Tigers 43-25.

Freshman Tahj Shamsid-Deen had 17 points and made five 3-pointers for Auburn, which has dropped six of its last eight games. That matched his career high.

KT Harrell scored 15 and Asauhn Dixon-Tatum added 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Chris Denson, the SEC's No. 2 scorer, finished with a season-low three points in his final game at Auburn Arena.

It might also be the home finale for Auburn coach Tony Barbee, whose program will finish near the bottom of the league for the fourth straight year. Athletic director Jay Jacobs said after last season he expected to see "significant improvement" from the Tigers.

The Vols reached 19 wins for the ninth straight season and were never threatened.

It was one point shy of Auburn's worst loss of the season, 99-70 at Iowa State. Tennessee has won the last seven games versus Auburn and swept the two regular-season contests.

The Vols raced to a 44-20 halftime lead while holding Auburn to only two field goals in the first 13-plus minutes. They hit 28 of 58 baskets (48.3 percent) and committed only seven turnovers, while also forcing only seven, too.

Defensively, Tennessee never let Denson & Co. get untracked. Auburn made 20 of 53 shots (37.7 percent).

Denson was held to six in the previous game, a double-digit loss to rival Alabama but still came in averaging 19.9 points.

He's 3 of 25 in his last two games after entering the stretch run with a chance to become the first Auburn player to lead the SEC in scoring in 20 years.

It was the home finale for Denson, Dixon-Tatum and Allen Payne, who had four points.

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