Jarnell Stokes scored 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds Saturday as Tennessee defeated Mississippi State 72-57 to avoid starting 0-4 in Southeastern Conference competition for the first time since 1993-94.
Josh Richardson added 16 points and Jordan McRae had 12 points as the Volunteers (9-7, 1-3) snapped a four-game losing streak. Trae Golden had 10 points and nine assists.
The Vols lost three of their first four SEC games last year but rebounded to finish second in the league with a 10-6 conference record. The last time Tennessee started 0-3 in league play was 1997-98, when it went on to finish 20-9 overall and reach the NCAA tournament.
Jalen Steele scored 15 points, Fred Thomas had 14 and Craig Sword added 10 for Mississippi State (7-9, 2-2).
This game reunited Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin and first-year Mississippi State coach Rick Ray, who worked together as assistants on Matt Painter's Purdue staff in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
McRae ended a string of four consecutive game...