No. 15 Kansas fell behind early and wasn’t able to recover against No. 18 Tennessee, falling 80-61, in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge inside Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday.
The loss brings KU to 4-2 against Tennessee all-time, while making the Jayhawks 5-3 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and 9-5 in conference challenges dating back to 2007.
Kansas falls to 11-6 (5-4 Big 12), while Tennessee improves to 12-3 (5-3 SEC) on the season.
Kansas struggled to find baskets early, which allowed Tennessee to jump out to a first-half lead. At the break, Tennessee led, 40-26, giving Kansas its largest halftime deficit of the season.
Out of the break, the Volunteers extended their lead, leading by as many as 26 in the second half. Tennessee did not let up down the stretch, handing Kansas just its second non-conference loss of the season.
The Jayhawks were led by three players in double figures, including a team high 17 points from David McCormack. Marcus Garrett also scored in double figures with 15 points, followed by Jalen Wilson with 10 points.
Kansas shot 38% (20-of-53) from the field, while Tennessee shot 53% (28-of-53) and 62% (8-of-13) from beyond the arc.