KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Trae Golden believed Tennessee could not afford a third straight loss, so he made sure the Volunteers avoided that fate.
Golden scored 25 points and sparked an 11-1 run that closed out a 69-60 victory over No. 23 Wichita State on Thursday night, a win that snapped the Volunteers’ two-game losing streak and handed the Shockers their first loss of the season.
“I told the guys it was a must-win before the game,” Golden said. “I knew it was a must-win.”
In its last two games, Tennessee had lost 37-36 to Georgetown in the SEC/Big East Challenge on Nov. 30 and 46-38 at Virginia on Dec. 5. The only other time Tennessee failed to score 40 points since the shot clock was introduced for the 1985-86 season was a 43-35 loss to Auburn on Jan. 15, 1997.
Tennessee (5-3) knew it needed a quality nonconference victory before entering Southeastern Conference competition. Wichita State (9-1) wanted to improve to 10-0 for the first time in school history.
The result was a December game played with March intensity, as players dived on the court and even jumped toward the scorer’s table on at least one occasion while chasing after loose balls.
No. 20 UNLV 91, La Verne 44:LAS VEGAS — Freshman Anthony Bennett scored 27 points and No. 20 UNLV won its sixth straight game, 91-44 over La Verne on Thursday night.
Bennett, who went into the game averaging 19.5 points, has led the Runnin’ Rebels (8-1) in scoring in eight of their nine games and each of their last seven. The 6-foot-8 forward ranks second in scoring in the Mountain West Conference and 34th nationally, leading all freshmen.
Katin Reinhardt added 14 points, while Savon Goodman chipped in 13 for UNLV.