TENNESSEE GUARD Josh Richardson realized he needed to give his team a spark.
The 6-6 senior proceeded to produce the kind of pyrotechnics that left No. 15 Butler's four-game winning streak in ashes.
Richardson scored 18 of his 20 points after halftime yesterday and Tennessee overcame a 12-point, second-half deficit to beat visiting Butler, 67-55.
Richardson shot 9-for-13 and had a career-high six steals.
"I just saw we were dead and didn't really have any scoring output in the first half," Richardson said. "KP [Kevin Punter] was playing good, and that was about it, so I decided to come up with it."
Butler (8-2) led 37-25 after Kellen Dunham's three-pointer in the opening minute of the second half, but Richardson scored the game's next eight points to spark a 12-0 run that tied the score. Tennessee (4-3) took the lead for good on Armani Moore's basket with 6:15 left.
Punter added 18 points as the Volunteers earned their first victory over a ranked opponent since the arrival of coach Donnie Tyndall, who took over Tennessee's program this season.
"It hurts when teams like that hit threes," Punter said. "It kind of takes the life out of you. But you've just got to stay with it if you want to win. We stayed with it, we kept grinding, they coughed it up a few times and we capitalized."
Butler shot 6-for-23 and committed nine turnovers in the second half. Tennessee outscored Butler in points off turnovers, 19-5.
Dunham scored 16 points, but only two of those came in the game's final 19 minutes. Kelan Martin added 13 for Butler.
In other Top 25 games
* At Louisville, Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell each scored 19 points and played big roles down the stretch in helping the No. 4 Cardinals defeat UNC Wilmington, 68-57.
Harrell also grabbed 17 rebounds, and Wayne Blackshear scored 11 points for the Cardinals (9-0), who won despite shooting just 42 percent from the field and making only one of 13 three-point attempts.
Freddie Jackson scored 16 points for the Seahawks (3-3).
* At West Virginia, Juwan Staten scored 15 points, including two free throws with 7 seconds left to lead the No. 22 Mountaineers to a 69-66 win over Marshall.
West Virginia (9-1) is off to its best start since going 11-0 in the 2009-10 season, when it reached the Final Four.
Jonathan Holton and Jevon Carter add 14 points apiece for the Mountaineers and Gary Browne scored 10.
Justin Edmonds led Marshall (3-6) with 18 points. Austin Loop scored 13 and Ryan Taylor had 11.
* At New York, Rysheed Jordan (Roberts Vaux High) came off the bench and tied a career high by scoring 24 points to help lead No. 24 St. John's to a 74-53 win over Fordham at the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.
D'Angelo Harrison added 22 for St. John's, which improved to 8-1 after winning its fourth straight.
Eric Paschall's 14 points led Fordham (3-5).
* At Iowa State, Georges Niang and Bryce Dejean-Jones each scored 18 points and the 14th-ranked Cyclones held off Southern, 88-76, for their fifth straight victory.
Monte Morris had 15 points and five assists for Iowa State (8-1). The Cyclones led by 27 before a late run by Southern (2-8).
* At Washington, Robert Upshaw had 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the No. 17 Huskies to an 81-77 win over Eastern Washington.
Nigel Williams-Goss had 19 points and Andrew Andrews added 18 for Washington (7-0).
Tyler Harvey scored 21 points for the Eagles (8-1).
* Duke officials said sophomore Semi Ojeleye received a full release and is expected to transfer to another Division I school. Ojeleye is a 6-8, 230-pound forward from Ottawa, Kan., who averaged three points and 2.3 rebounds in six games for the second-ranked Blue Devils (8-0).