NASHVILLE - Jordan McRae scored a team-high 17 points Thursday and fifth-seeded Tennessee achieved a 20-win season for the first time since 2009-10 with a 69-53 win against 13th-seeded Mississippi State at the Southeastern Conference Tournament at Bridgestone Arena.
Tennessee (20-11) advances to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals to face fourth-seeded Alabama (20-11) at 3:30 p.m. ET Friday in a game that will be carried live on ESPNU.
McRae was one of four Tennessee players to achieve double-figure point totals as Trae Golden added 15 points, while Quinton Chievous and Jarnell Stokes each chipped in 10. Stokes, who averaged a double-double in conference play, finished with a game-high nine rebounds.
Tennessee shot 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the field in the game, while Mississippi State shot 34.5 percent (20-of-58) from the floor. The Vols out-rebounded the Bulldogs 35-33.
Mississippi State (10-22) was led by a game-high 19 points from Craig Sword.
Tennessee-Mississippi State Series Notes:
All-Time Series: Tennessee leads 77-41
In SEC Tournament Games: Tennessee leads 7-3
Earlier this Season: on Jan. 19, Tennessee won 72-57 in Knoxville
Key run: after Mississippi State scored the first four points of the game, Tennessee went on a 12-0 run and led the remainder of the game.
Tennessee led 35-19 at halftime.
Mississippi State got as close as nine points (58-49) with 4:42 remaining but Tennessee outscored MSU 11-4 the rest of the way.
Key stats: Tennessee won points in the paint 42-24 and bench points 21-1.
Mississippi State Notes:
Mississippi State is 10-22 but finished the season with three wins in its last five games.
Freshman All-SEC selection Craig Sword led the Bulldogs with 19 points and added four steals.
Colin Borchert scored 12 points, tallying double figures in five of his last six games.
Trivante Bloodman scored 10, just three shy of his career high.
Tennessee is 20-11 and the Volunteers have won nine of their last 10 games.
This is 25th season in school history that Tennessee has won at least 20 games. The last time was 2009-10 when the Vols went 28-9.
Tennessee made 51.8 percent of its shots today, 29 of 56. UT is 6-0 this season when shooting at least 50 percent from the field.
Jordan McRae led Tennessee with 17 points, continuing his recent surge. McRae is averaging 24.6 points over his last seven games.
Also landing in double figures were Trae Golden (15 points), Quinton Chievous (10) and Jarnell Stokes (10). Stokes also had a game-high nine rebounds.
Looking ahead to Friday - Tennessee takes on Alabama at 2:30 p.m. CDT. The teams split two games in January, Alabama winning 68-65 in Tuscaloosa and Tennessee winning 54-53 in Knoxville.