SAN ANTONIO (AP) Josiah-Jordan James had 23 points, Zakai Zeigler added 20 and No. 12 Tennessee held off N.C. State 79-70 in the Hall of Fame Series on Saturday night.

“We know that when we play teams like this, it’s going to be a physical game,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “These guys are used to it. The neat part for me at the end I thought their composure, their togetherness on the bench was terrific. They knew what they had to do. I had to say very little during the timeout.”

The Volunteers (8-3) held the Wolfpack (7-3) to 10 points in the final seven minutes to secure the victory, including a 3-pointer with 24.1 seconds remaining.

“That’s what we hang our hats on,” James said. “We knew that in crunch time, that’s what we had to be able to rely on. I was proud of how we executed at the end.”

Jahmai Mashack added 11 points for Tennessee, which has won four straight.

D.J. Horne had 16 points for N.C. State. D.J. Burns Jr. added 15 and Jayden Taylor had 11.

It was a frenetic and physical contest, with the teams combining for 22 turnovers and 36 personal fouls.

“It was one of those games that kind of felt like a late (or) middle of January, early February ACC game,” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said. “It was a good thing.”

Tennessee has not lost since dropping three straight, including losses against then-No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Purdue in the Maui Invitational during Thanksgiving week.

N.C. State opened 3 for 4 on 3-pointers in taking a 15-11 lead. The Wolfpack were 2 for 7 on 3s the remainder of the first half.

Volunteers guard Santiago Vescovi opened the second half with his own 7-2 run to put Tennessee up 41-33. After its lead was cut to 56-55, Vescovi cut to the rim for a layup with 8:25 remaining.

Vescovi finished with nine points on 3-for-6 shooting.

“We fought,” Keatts said. “It was a good game. If you’re sitting there watching the game, you’re saying, ‘Man what a great game that is.’ It’s a lot to build on. We’re never going to take a moral victory in this program, but boy we saw some good things.”

N.C. State junior Kam Woods debuted after sitting out the start of the season when the NCAA denied his initial waiver request. Woods, who played at North Carolina AT&T last season, finished with nine points.


Tennessee: The Volunteers were tested after winning their last three games by an average of 15.3 points. Tennessee was able to force 11 turnovers, which led to 16 points.

N.C. State: The Wolfpack were 8 for 18 on 3-pointers after a fast start. N.C. State entered the game shooting 34 percent from 3-pointers but shot 44 percent against Tennessee.


Tennessee: Hosts Tarleton State on Thursday night.

N.C. State: Hosts Saint Louis on Wednesday night.


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