Tennessee had its hands full with Auburn, as both teams notched their biggest leads of the game in a back-and-forth second half (49-40 Tennessee, 63-55 Auburn). The Volunteers, led by Dalton Knecht, were able to come away with 92-84 win and stay in first in the SEC.

Tennessee improves to 22-6 overall and 12-3 in the SEC. At the moment, Tennessee is the only SEC team with 12 conference wins as 11-3 Alabama is currently in action against Ole Miss.

Here are 3 quick takeaways from Wednesday’s big win on Rocky Top:

Dalton Knecht takes over second half, leading Tennessee to win

As he has been known to do, Dalton Knecht took over the game. The Vols led by 4 at the half, and Knecht stepped up to carry UT in the final 20 minutes, scoring an incredible 27 of his game-high 39 points.

The final 12 minutes were truly the Knecht Show.

Knecht shot 12-of-21 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. He was 10-of-12 at the free-throw line on a foul-heavy night.

The stars showed up for Wednesday’s conference clash. Auburn’s Johni Broome led the Tigers with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, but Knecht is the game’s MVP.

Tennessee fans hope that the Knecht takeovers continue into March. When Knecht is on, it’s hard to contain the Vols. Whether or not Rick Barnes’ squad gets a No. 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, Knecht guarantees UT will be a tough out.

Fouls, fouls and more fouls

The zebras were extra busy on Wednesday night in Knoxville. Before we even reached the 10-minute mark of the second half, both Auburn and Tennessee were in the double bonus.

The final box score showed 21 fouls for Tennessee and 25 for Auburn. On a night every point mattered, Tennessee was slightly better at the line, going 27-of-35 to Auburn’s 21-of-28.

For UT, Santiago Vescovi was limited to just 7 minutes of the second half as he sat with 4 fouls. Jonas Aidoo fouled out in the final minute after playing 28 minutes.

Auburn also dealt with starters in foul trouble. Aden Holloway sat on the bench for roughly 10 minutes after picking up his third foul early in the second half. Denver Jones subbed out with 4 fouls in the final 2 minutes.

Impact on the SEC standings ahead of a big Saturday

Tennessee will have at least a share of first place in the SEC heading into Round 2 with Alabama. The stakes could not be bigger, with only three games to go in conference play before the SEC Basketball Tournament in March. All eyes are on Tuscaloosa this Saturday, as Tennessee-Alabama gets an ESPN primetime game and the College GameDay treatment.

Auburn had been just 1 game back of Tennessee and Alabama. The Tigers fall to 10-5 in SEC play, sliding behind 10-4 South Carolina, which is currently playing Texas A&M. Florida and Kentucky are also 10-5.

Tennessee and Alabama are fighting for the regular-season conference title and look to be among the four teams with double-byes in the conference tournament. South Carolina, Auburn, Florida and Kentucky continue to battle for the last two.

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