Tennessee shot 47.5 percent to end a brutal offensive slump. In its two games leading up to this one, the Volunteers had lost 37-36 to Georgetown in the SEC/Big East Challenge on Nov. 30 and 46-38 at Virginia on Dec. 5.
Jordan McRae had 17 points for Tennessee (5-3).
Carl Hall had 21 points and nine rebounds for Wichita State (9-1), which was seeking to go 10-0 for the first time in school history.
Hall’s three-point play gave Wichita State a 59-58 lead and fouled out Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes with 3:55 remaining, but the Volunteers outscored the Shockers 11-2 the rest of the way.
RUTGERS: Suspended coach Mike Rice three games without pay and fined him $50,000 for a violation of department policy.
Athletic director Tim Pernetti announced the decision Thursday. He said the suspension is a result of inappropriate behavior and language, not NCAA violations.
“Mike will not be permitted to do anything. He’ll be removed from the program. He won’t be able to be active in his role as head basketball coach inside or outside the university,” Pernetti said. “The suspension for this period of time and these games is a complete removal from the program.”
Associate head coach David Cox will serve as the team’s interim coach. Rice will return to his duties as head coach Jan. 2 at Syracuse.
“I was made aware of some things within the last couple of weeks. We commenced a thorough, lengthy and fair investigation and this was the result of that investigation,” Pernetti said. “There was obviously some things that are not to the Rutgers’ standard that we evaluated and decided upon.”
Rutgers is 6-2 this season, and defeated George Washington, 68-65, on Tuesday at home.
Rice, in his third season at the Big East school, apologized to his team and the university and says he’s made a commitment to becoming a better coach.
“Accountability is a vital element of the Rutgers athletics family and it is imperative our head coaches act and lead in a responsible manner,” Pernetti said. “This was not an easy decision for me to make but absolutely necessary to ensure what is best for our program.”
Rice, 43, a former guard at Fordham, came to Rutgers from Robert Morris, where he took the Colonials to the NCAA tournament twice. His father, Mike Sr., also was a college coach, at Duquesne.
“Since becoming a coach at the age of 21, I have taken great pride in not only helping young men learn the game of basketball but also in teaching them about character, respect and hard work,” Rice said. “To the extent that my conduct has ever been in contrast with those principles, I have failed my players — and myself — and I take full responsibility for my actions and accept the terms of my suspension.
“I will learn from my mistakes and I will become a better coach, teacher and role model.”
The Scarlet Knights have not made the NCAA tournament since 1991. Rice, who replaced Fred Hill, was expected to push Rutgers up to the higher echelon of the Big East, but entered this season with just a 29-35 record at the school. He is also just 11-25 in conference games.