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Prowell leads Auburn in upset over Tennessee

Jan 18, 2007 - 6:45 AM AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- Quan Prowell and the Auburn Tigers' defense helped Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl plunge to new depths.

Prowell scored 13 of his 21 in the last 10 minutes as the Tigers went on a decisive run to knock off the 24th-ranked Volunteers, 83-80, in a Southeastern Conference contest.

Frank Tolbert scored 24 points for Auburn, which had lost three of its last four games overall and had dropped seven of the last nine to Tennessee.

"The team finally found a way to get over a hump, which was nice," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "We were hoping that this day would come sooner or later, finally we got there. There was a lot of determination by our kids.

Auburn held Tennessee scoreless for a 7 1/2-minute span in the second half, turning a 14-point deficit into a 70-66 lead with 3:20 to play.

"We finally got some stops. They didn't score for a long period of time," Lebo said. "Quan Prowell made some big threes for us. Rasheem Barrett made a couple of big plays for us, scoring on a three-point play and taking the ball to the basket.

Prowell scored seven points during the 18-0 run and after Chris Lofton ended the Volunteers' drought with a layup, Quantez Robertson and Prowell knocked down two free throws each to extend the lead to six.

"In the SEC, a lead is never safe," Lofton said. "We were down by 15 points against Texas, and we came back to win it. A lead can never be considered safe."

Tennessee closed within 78-75 on a layup by Dane Bradshaw with 59 seconds left, but Prowell knocked down four free throws - two on a technical against Pearl - in the following 39 seconds to seal it.

"Quan is one of our better three point shooters," Lebo said. "I don't have any problem with him taking shots. He is a good free-throw shooter. The technical foul was big when he made the two from the line. He has been in games before against high level people."

"I was pretty unhappy that Lofton hadn't shot a free throw," Pearl said. "At the end, specifically, it was a 50-50 ball. You have to have possession to get a timeout. Everybody was tied up; everybody was holding the ball. You have to have possession. That's what I was upset about."

Tolbert scored 12 points in each half, finishing 9-of-13 from the floor. Prowell was 6-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from the arc for the Tigers (12-7, 2-2 SEC West).

"We just kept believing," Tolbert said. "We never got down on ourselves. We weren't going to lose that game. No matter how much we were down, we were always thinking that we were going to win the game."

It was the third straight loss for the Volunteers (13-5, 1-2 East), a first during the two-year reign of Pearl.

"I don't know that we lost our composure; we missed a lot of shots and didn't get to the foul line," Pearl said. "I thought, when we had a lead, our shot selection was bad."

Lofton, who leads the SEC in scoring, scored 22 points and made 6-of-12 3-pointers. Ramar Smith added 19 points and JaJuan Smith added 16 for Tennessee.

"That is pretty good for us. Lofton had 22 points and I thought that we did an outstanding job on him in the second half," Lebo said. "There are tough shots that he can usually make that he missed."