Auburn got a free throw to pull within 60-57, then Vol freshman C.J. Watson missed the front end of a one-and-one that could've put the game on ice. Tiger standout Marquis Daniels missed two potential game-tying 3-point tries -- the last clanging off the rim at the buzzer -- enabling the Vols to hang on.
Tennessee (11-6, 4-3 SEC) led by 13 in the first half and by 10 early in the second half. Auburn (15-5, 5-3) closed to 51-50 on a dunk by Brandon Robinson with 5:25 to play but Watson answered with two free throws and a basket that widened the gap to 55-50.
Supporting Slay were Watson and Brandon Crump with 10 point apiece. Daniels and Robinson scored 15 points each for the Tigers.
Next up for Tennessee is a Wednesday night visit from UMass. The Vols return to SEC warfare Saturday, hosting Georgia. The Dawgs nipped Tennessee 81-76 in overtime Jan. 22 in Athens.