Pons leads No. 18 Tennessee past Mississippi State

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Even on a miserable shooting night, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is convinced the shots will fall sooner or later.

The 18th-ranked Volunteers hit just 37% of their shots from the field — and 16% from 3-point — but still came away with a 56-53 win over Mississippi State Tuesday night.

“If our guys are taking good shots, I can’t be concerned with how we’re shooting,” Barnes said. “The thing is: Can you win when you’re not making shots?”

Yves Pons scored 13 points to lead the Tennessee (11-3, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) victory. He was a critical force in the first half for the Vols, then hit a pair of shots late in the second half when the Bulldogs (9-8, 4-5), who managed to shoot 33%, had the game tied.

“This was a must win,” said Pons.

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