Tennessee fell to Auburn 94-84, suffering its first back-to-back losses this season. Meanwhile, Bruce Pearl got his first win in Knoxville since his departure from the Tennessee program back in 2011.
The Vols were up by as much as 14 in the first half, but relinquished their lead and trailed for the first time at halftime this season.
Tennessee came out looking lethargic and were outplayed in key aspects of the game. Rebounding was the most obvious and critical area.
"When you don't play like it means something to you, it's just disappointing, and to me that's how we played tonight," said UT head coach Rick Barnes.
Tennessee had 14 offensive boards with just three in the first half, while the Tigers tallied 22 and had 28 second chance points.
"We've played against other teams that rebound as well, we just didn't do it," said Barnes. "We have to figure out where we are mentally . We've gone about our preparation as we always do, but again we're too inconsistent."
Grant Williams, Tennessee's leading scorer was kept at bay for much of the game. He went 1-4 from the floor in the first half, but came alive in the second, finishing with 22 boards and a team-high 8 rebounds.
A late 26-9 run put the game away for the Tigers.
Tennessee is off to an 0-2 start in SEC play and will host Kentucky on Saturday.