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Lofton scores 19 as Tennessee tops Coppin State

Nov 19, 2006 - 11:38 PM KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- With Chris Lofton dialed in from long distance, Coppin State did not have much of a chance against No. 24 Tennessee.

Lofton scored 19 points, including three 3-pointers, and Duke Crews added 13 as Tennessee remained undefeated with an easy 99-65 triumph over Coppin State.

The Volunteers (4-0) set a season high in points and shot 56 percent (36-64) from the floor, while forcing 24 turnovers to defeat the Eagles in their first-ever encounter.

"I continue to like our balance," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "For us to get 46 points off of the bench tells something about our depth. Coppin State fought hard, but the pressure and the pace took their toll."

"Defensive effort is something I have been harping on all year long," Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell said. "This team is just refusing to play defense, and then we come to a situation where we are not scoring. We have not found our niche anywhere, but it does not matter because we are not stopping people."

A 6-2 junior guard, Lofton made 6-of-11 shots for his third consecutive game in double figures. He fell one point short of becoming the 39th player in school history to reach 1,000 for his career and is fourth in career 3-pointers (219).

JaJuan Smith and Wayne Chism scored 11 points apiece and Ryan Childress added 10 for Tennessee, which made 13-of-24 from the arc and recorded a 41-28 rebounding advantage.

Tennessee has opened with four victories for the second straight season and will face Butler on Wednesday in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Volunteers advanced with victories over Fordham and UNC-Wilmington.

"The challenge for us now is not to have turnovers," Pearl said. "Butler ranks among the best in the country for avoiding turnovers. Our pressure will not be a deciding factor against Butler, so we will have to find other ways to win the game."

Tywain McKee scored 21 points and Antwan Harrison and Ruben Britt had 10 each for Coppin State (0-3), which shot 39 percent (22-of-57).

"Tywain McKee might be playing well as far as scoring, but when you turn the ball over as much as he is turning it over, I just cannot tolerate that," Mitchell said of McKee's nine turnovers. "McKee just has to slow down, especially against a team like Tennessee that wants you to play fast."

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