By KRISTIE RIEKEN , AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Grant Williams scored 22 points and No. 1 Tennessee set a school record with its 16th straight win, beating Texas A&M 93-76 on Saturday night.
The Volunteers (20-1, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) surpassed the 15-game streak they had from February 1915 to January 1917 and are off to their best start in conference play since also going 8-0 in 1981-82.
Tennessee was clinging to a two-point lead midway through the second half before a 5-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Jordan Bowden, made it 70-63. Those five points were the start of a 10-3 spurt, with a 3 from Lamonte Turner that extended the lead to 75-66 with 8 1/2 minutes to go. Williams added a dunk in that stretch and had a big defensive play with a block on TJ Starks.
Wendell Mitchell and Savion Flagg made 3-pointers for A&M to power 6-3 run after that, but Tennessee scored the next seven points to stretch the lead to 85-72 with about 6 1/2 minutes remaining.
Mitchell finished with 18 points for Texas A&M (8-12, 1-7), which lost for the fifth time in the last six games.
Jordan Bone added 18 points and 10 assists for Tennessee and Turner had 19 points and seven assists. Williams, the SEC’s leading scorer, had 10 rebounds and four assists.
The Volunteers led by 7 at halftime and had pushed their lead to 60-51 with about 13 minutes left. Mitchell made a 3-pointer for A&M and then stole the ball on the other end. He was fouled on the fast break by Turner and made 1 of 2 free throws to get the Aggies within 5. p
Texas A&M got a 3-pointer by Brandon Mahan after that to make it a 7-0 run and cut the lead to 60-58. Bone got Tennessee going after that with a 3-pointer, but Mitchell hit another 3 for Texas A&M to leave the lead at 2.
Bowden scored 16 in his return after missing the team’s last game with a knee injury. Tennessee led by as many as 19 in the first half but the Aggies cut the lead to 46-39 by halftime.
Tennessee: The Volunteers are rolling and there’s no reason to think they’ll slow down. It’s the earliest they’ve reached 20 wins since the 2007-08 season when they achieved the mark on Feb. 5 and went on to win the SEC championship.
Texas A&M: The Aggies look to be improving but haven’t developed the consistency needed to compete with the elite teams in the conference.
Tennessee: The Volunteers host Missouri on Tuesday night in the first of three straight home games.
Texas A&M: Play the first of two straight road games when the Aggies visit Mississippi on Wednesday night.