KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- One three-minute stretch helped Louisville stretch its winning streak to 15 games.
Francisco Garcia scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half as the sixth-ranked Cardinals took a break from conference play for a 65-62 victory over Tennessee.
Louisville (15-1) was sloppy throughout and faced a 43-36 deficit after Tennessee's Brandon Crump scored with 11:52 remaining. Garcia converted a layup at the 10:56 mark that started a huge run for the Cardinals.
Larry O'Bannon and Garcia each made a pair from the line and freshman Brandon Jenkins threw home a dunk to give the Cardinals a 44-43 lead with 8:52 to go. Jenkins came up with a steal and fed Otis George for a dunk 12 seconds later.
Tennessee (10-5) failed to call a timeout and Louisville made it pay with another steal and Alhaji Mohammed's feed to Garcia for a layup. That capped the 12-0 tear and made it 48-43 with 8:28 left.
"We had our run with our press," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "We knew we had to win this game at the end. The 12-0 run was big for us during the second half."
The Cardinals missed some late free throws, and Scooter McFadgon's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 64-62 with three seconds left. Garcia was fouled and split a pair at the line before Luke Whitehead stole the inbounds pass to seal the win.
"There was one stretch in the second half that was the difference," Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said. "Francisco Garcia is a good player who made big plays. We've got a young team, and if they keep improving, we'll be all right."
Louisville captured its third victory in as many seasons over Tennessee, winning the three games by a combined seven points. The Cardinals, who had a 17-game run last season, have not lost since a season-opening overtime setback to Iowa on November 29.
McFadgon, the Southeastern Conference's leading scorer who had a career-high 33 points in Tuesday's loss to Kentucky, made just 3-of-15 shots for 10 points. He missed his first seven 3-pointers for Tennessee, which had a season-high 23 turnovers.
"Give Louisville credit for keeping Scooter McFadgon at bay," Peterson said.
Garcia's second-half offense carried Louisville after second-leading scorer Taquan Dean left in the first half with a groin injury. Dean returned briefly near the end of the game to shoot free throws, but was noticeably limping.
"It was a hard-fought victory," Pitino said. "You win game like this on the road, and it's exciting."
Brandon Crump led Tennessee with 16 points and C.J. Watson added 15 for Tennessee, which fell to 0-3 against ranked opponents. The Volunteers have lost two straight at home after opening 9-0.