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Lofton leads No. 11 Vols over NC A&T
Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - Chris Lofton erupted for 24 points, all coming from beyond the arc, and the 11th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers stampeded the North Carolina A&T Aggies, 93-59.
Lofton added five steals and three assists for the Vols (6-1). All of his first 19 shot attempts came from downtown, as he converted seven of them. Tyler Smith scored 17 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting display, and contributed 12 rebounds to notch a double-double. Josh Tabb did it all, piling up 10 points, eight boards, five assists, and four steals. Cameron Tatum added nine points.
One of the few bright spots for the Aggies (4-3), Jason Wills, had a double- double, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. He was the lone Aggie to reach double-figures in scoring, though 13 different players put points on the board. Steven Rush followed his 40-point performance against DePaul with just eight versus the Vols, including an 0-for-8 night from three- point range.
After Ed Jones knocked down a three-pointer with 20 seconds gone in the first half to open the scoring in favor of the Aggies, the teams went back-and- forth, trading blows that amounted to five lead changes in the first eight minutes of play. Then, Lofton and the Volunteers caught fire.
With Tennessee trailing 11-10 with 13:53 remaining, Lofton sparked an 11-0 run that gave the Volunteers the lead for good, nailing a three with 12:02 left. He drained two more from downtown to close the streak with Tennessee on top 21-11 halfway through the opening half. Over a stretch of four minutes in the first half, Lofton poured in six three-pointers.
The Vols continued to dominate, reeling off a 14-2 run that was capped by a Smith three-point play with 7:49 to go. The free throw stretched the Tennessee lead to 35-15.
The Volunteers showed absolutely no mercy as the team almost immediately went on a 15-1 run. JaJuan Smith's three-pointer with 1:47 left in the half put the Vols out in front 51-19.
Tavarus Alston then hit a jumper for the Aggies, the teams each made a free- throw, and Tennessee took a whopping 30-point lead into the locker room, 52-22.
Showing signs of life, the Aggies kicked-off the second half with an 11-2 run. A Wills jumper with 16:54 to play cut the Vols lead to 54-33. The 21-point deficit was the closest NC A&T came the rest of the game.
UT answered right back with a 9-2 run of its own, highlighted by Tabb's three- pointer with 15:23 remaining to keep the Vols up big, 60-33. The shot broke the Volunteers team record for three-pointers attempted in a single game. At the final buzzer, the new record stood at 50 attempts.
Tennessee refused to hold back down the stretch, ripping off a 12-2 run that nearly closed the game. Tatum's slam with 52 seconds left gave the Vols a 93-57 advantage.
This was the first-ever meeting between the two squads...NC A&T snapped a four-game winning streak, the most recent win coming after overcoming a 16- point first half deficit to upset DePaul 96-93 Saturday...The 4-2 record to start the season was the Aggies best start in 16 years...UT now holds a 21- game homecourt winning streak. The Vols' last loss at home was an 80-78 decision to Kentucky in the final home game of the 2005-06 season...The Volunteers are 20-0 in non-conference home games under Bruce Pearl...The Vols now stand at 2-0 against MEAC teams. The only other game was a 99-65 win versus Coppin State last season on Nov. 19, 2006.
11/27 22:33:55 ET
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