Kelly Wise scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half Saturday night as Memphis held off a Tennessee rally to defeat the Volunteers 71-69.
Wise, who connected on 7 of 13 shots, also grabbed one of his eight rebounds with less than two seconds left to preserve the win for the Tigers (7-3).
Tennessee (4-3) trailed by 11 with just under four minutes to play but outscored Memphis 15-6 down the stretch. The Tigers didn't score a field goal after Dajuan Wagner, who also had 17 points, connected on a 3-point field goal with 3:57 left for a 65-54 Tiger lead.
The Volunteers got within 2 on two occasions in the final 15 seconds but couldn't overcome the Tigers, who missed four of 10 free throws in the final 1:33.
With just under two seconds remaining, Thaydeus Holden hit the first of two free throws but missed the second as Tennessee tried get off one more field goal. But Wise grabbed the rebound and let the clock run out.
Ron Slay had 18 points to lead Tennessee, while Vincent Yarbrough added 15 points and handed out five assists. Marcus Haislip, playing in his first game since missing the early season because of academic problems, finished with 14.
Scooter McFadgon had 11 for Memphis, while Chris Massie scored 10.
Tennessee led 33-31 at the half after pounding the ball inside. Seven of Tennessee's 16 first half field goals came on dunks.
Slay had 10 points before the break, all on the inside and many of them on dunks as he broke free from Tiger defenders.
Tennessee's zone defense forced the Tiger offense to the perimeter, and Memphis had trouble connecting in the half, shooting 36 percent for the first 20 minutes.
Memphis opened the second half going to Wise, and he came out connecting. The senior forward who was 0-for-4 from the field in the first half, hit his first four shots and scored 10 of the Tigers' first 12 points of the second period.
Memphis eventually would build the lead to 11 on three occasions in the second half, including the 65-54 advantage before the Volunteers made their final run.