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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jonas Aidoo scored a career-high 17 points and No. 17 Tennessee rediscovered its defense in an 87-66 victory over George Mason on Tuesday night.

Josiah-Jordan James added 15 points, Tobe Awaka added 11 and Dalton Knecht had 10 as the Vols (5-3) snapped a three-game losing streak.

“It all starts with confidence,” Aidoo said, adding that coach Rick Barnes “keeps comparing me to the best bigs in the country.”

Last week, Tennessee yielded 61 first-half points in a 100-92 loss to North Carolina. But the Vols held George Mason to 36% shooting in the first half to take a 39-26 lead.

Darius Maddox scored 15 points for the Patriots (7-2), whose four-game winning streak ended. Woody Newton added 13 points and Baraka OkoJie scored 11.

“I knew (the Vols) were going to play like it was their last game after three losses,” George Mason coach Tony Skinn said. “They were going to come out here with their guns blazing.”

The 6-foot-11 Aidoo scored eight of Tennessee’s first 13 points of the second half as the Vols extended their advantage to 22 points.

“When you look up length in the dictionary, there's a picture of Jonas Aidoo,” Skinn said. “He hit two 3-pointers. You can't defend that.”

Barnes said Aidoo “should expect a lot from himself,” adding: “I keep telling him he has know idea how dominant he can be.”

The Vols had a season-best 27 assists, led by Zakai Zeigler and James with six each.

“When we play the way we move the ball, we're going to get a lot of assists,” Barnes said.

THE TAKEAWAY

George Mason: The Patriots have three players (Keyshawn Hall, Amari Kelly and Maddox) averaging in double figures. But they need to get everybody involved in the offense. It’s a safe bet they aren’t going to see any other ranked teams on their schedule.

Tennessee: Barnes wasn't pleased with the Vols' defensive breakdowns in the first half against North Carolina. Odds are nothing like that will happen on his watch again. ... Barnes' first head coaching job was at George Mason in 1987-88 after he worked as an assistant there from 1980-85.

UP NEXT

George Mason: After a break for exams, the Patriots host Loyola (Maryland) on Dec. 16.

Tennessee: The Vols will play their fourth ranked team and second Big Ten opponent Saturday, when they host No. 20 Illinois.

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