Tennessee guard Josh Richardson, front right, drives to the basket past Kansas State guard Jevon Thomas (1) during an NCAA college basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel,
The Knoxville News Sentinel, Kevin Martin
December 06, 2014

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee played good enough defense at the start of Saturday's game to withstand Kansas State's frantic finish.

Josh Richardson scored 17 points Saturday as Tennessee withstood a late 3-point onslaught from Marcus Foster in a 65-64 victory over Kansas State.

Tennessee (3-3) had a 10-point lead before Kansas State made five 3-pointers in the last 1 minute, 35 seconds. Foster sank four 3-pointers in the final 57 seconds and finished with 23 points. After Foster's final 3-pointer made it a one-point game with two-tenths of a second left, Tennessee made a successful inbounds pass to clinch the victory.

''(It was) scary,'' Richardson said. ''I was screaming, `Everybody, know where Foster's at,' but I guess we just didn't.''

Foster went 7 of 14 from 3-point range. Jevon Thomas had 13 points and Nino Williams added 10 for Kansas State (4-4).

''If we have a few extra seconds, we probably could win that game,'' Foster said. ''But it started in the first half really. That's where we should have gotten it done.''

Tennessee's matchup zone held Kansas State without a basket for a stretch of nearly 11 1/2 minutes during the first half and forced 22 turnovers. The Volunteers also had nine blocks - five from Armani Moore - and produced 12 steals.

''I felt their zone was something I'd never seen before,'' Foster said. ''It was a really good zone. It felt like it spaced us out. It felt like I was shooting 30-footers out there. ... It was a very good zone. In the second half, we figured out how to attack it.''

Kansas State had 13 turnovers with just five baskets and one assist in the first half. Tennessee's dominant defensive performance gave the Vols a 25-17 advantage at the intermission, their first halftime lead of the season.

The Wildcats clawed back into the game by heating up from 3-point range. After missing all seven of its first-half attempts from beyond the arc, Kansas State went 8 of 14 on 3-pointers in the second half

''We're still trying to figure out how to win,'' Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall said. ''We get the lead and you could almost tell we start playing not to win. There's a difference. There's a distinct difference.''

Tennessee was playing without sophomore forward Dominic Woodson. Tennessee issued a statement before the game saying that Woodson had been excused from team-related activities this week to take care of academic obligations. Tyndall said after the game that ''we'll have more of an update on him as we get into final exams.''

TIP-INS

Kansas State: Wildcats athletic director John Currie spent 13 years at Tennessee before Kansas State hired him in May 2009. Currie earned his master's degree from Tennessee in 2003.

Tennessee: Tyndall used his fifth different starting lineup in six games. Freshman forward Tariq Owens, who hadn't played at all in two of Tennessee's last three games, made his first career start Saturday. He had no points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one steal in 11 minutes.

UP NEXT

Kansas State: Hosts Bradley on Tuesday.

Tennessee: Hosts Butler on Dec. 14.

STAT LINE

Kansas State's 22 turnovers were the most Tennessee had forced since producing 34 in a 99-78 victory over North Carolina A&T on Dec. 23, 2009.

CHALLENGE FINALE

This represented the first meeting between these two programs and the final game of this year's SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Big 12 won six of its 10 meetings with the Southeastern Conference this week.

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