NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jonas Aidoo had the best question for Dalton Knecht after his Tennessee teammate had his fourth game with at least 32 points this season and third in four games.

When will the graduate transfer from Northern Colorado score 40?

Knecht's answer: "Next question.”

The guard scored 12 straight in the second half and finished with 32 points, rallying fifth-ranked Tennessee past in-state rival Vanderbilt 75-62 on Saturday night.

“Teammates know what he’s capable of doing," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. "They obviously start looking for him.”

Tennessee trailed by as much as nine in the first half and 35-30 at halftime. Vanderbilt, winless in the Southeastern Conference, led 43-39 early in the second half.

Then the two-time reigning SEC player of the week took over. Knecht hit a 3. His turnaround jumper in the paint put the Vols ahead to stay at 44-43. He drove for a layup and finished his personal 12-5 run with another 3 to put Tennessee up 51-48 with 11:57 left.

Santiago Vescovi added 12 points as Tennessee (15-4, 5-1) won its fourth straight and 11th in 12 games. Zakai Zeigler and Jordan Gainey each had 10 points.

"We know he can score at will, so whenever he gets the ball something good is going to happen,” Zeigler said of Knecht.

Vanderbilt (5-14, 0-6) remains one of two winless programs in the SEC with its sixth straight loss to start league play. Coach Jerry Stackhouse said Knecht simply is a defensive challenge.

“His ability just to raise up and shoot over guys is why he’s getting the attention that he’s getting,” Stackhouse said. "Obviously, he’s playing at a high level. ... You haven’t had a lot of guys since my time here that probably can match that type of output.”

Tyrin Lawrence led the Commodores with 21 points. Ezra Manjon had 14 points.

Vanderbilt battled Tennessee hard, looking early much more like the squad that knocked off then-No. 6 Tennessee on a buzzer-beating 3 by Lawrence nearly a year ago at Memorial Gym.

These rivals separated by less than 200 miles went back and forth before a crowd loaded with Volunteer orange. Then Knecht got going, and the Vols finished it off leading by as much as 15 in the final 90 seconds.

“They told me it was going to kind of be like this, but I didn’t expect it to be like that," Knecht said of seeing so much Tennessee orange on the road. "So it’s really cool.”


Tennessee: The Vols looked rusty after having a full week between games, though Vanderbilt had the same break with no issues early. The SEC's second-best free-throw shooters came in averaging 76.7% at the line. On the raised court at Memorial, they shot just 63.6% (14 of 22).

Vanderbilt: This was the Commodores' fourth ranked opponent and third in four games. They have dealt with injuries as one of four teams in the country to use 12 different starting lineups. Stackhouse has had a fully healthy roster for only two games coming into Saturday, and he said he loves his team despite this skid because they're improving.


Knecht's big second-half should help keep the Vols from slipping out of the top five.


Tennessee: Hosts South Carolina on Tuesday night.

Vanderbilt visits No. 8 Auburn on Wednesday night.


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