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Tennessee erupts for 121 points in NCAA Tourney romp

Mar 17, 2007 - 1:10 AM COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Long Beach State got a first-hand glimpse of Tennessee's explosive potential.

Chris Lofton scored 25 points as the fifth-seeded Volunteers rolled to a 121-86 rout of the 12th-seeded 49ers in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's South Region.

Tennessee (23-10) looked lost offensively in its 76-67 loss to Louisiana State in the Southeastern Conference tournament, shooting just 34 percent from the floor.

But the high-flying Volunteers were a different team Friday, racing to a 57-45 halftime lead before pouring in 64 points after the break.

"The tempo was very fast," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "The two teams liked to run, and the up-tempo brought out the best in both."

"We're used to playing like that," Lofton said. "When a team plays like that, we get excited. That's what we did tonight."

It was the highest scoring output by a team in this tournament since Nevada-Las Vegas scored 131 points in the 1990 regional final against Loyola-Marymount.

"We definitely got our fast-break game back," Lofton said. "Coach does the play calling, and I know he wants us to be aggressive. I just do whatever I can."

Lofton shot 9-of-13 and made four 3-pointers to pace five Vols in double figures. JaJuan Smith and freshman Ramar Smith both chipped in 24 points for Tennessee, which shot 59 percent (44-of-75).

The Vols also received a solid contribution from reserve Duke Crews, who collected 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Tennessee's second-round opponent will be fourth seed Virginia, which defeated Albany on Friday.

"It is going to be fun," Crews said. "I'm ready for it. We have to go up against some good guards on Sunday."

Kejuan Johnson scored 24 points for Long Beach State (24-8), which made its first NCAA Tourney appearance since 1995.

"I think we played an opponent that was better than we were, and they showed it tonight," Long Beach State coach Larry Reynolds said. "Obviously we played the same style of game, and they had a few more weapons going than we did."








  • SOUTH REGIONAL
    AT COLUMBUS OH
    NCAA BB SOUTH REGIONAL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
    --- --- -----
    LONG BEACH ST 45 41 86
    TENNESSEE 57 64 121 FINAL

    Mar 16 4:47 PM


  • SOUTH REGIONAL
    AT COLUMBUS OH
    NCAA BB (12) LONG BEACH ST 45
    (5) TENNESSEE 57 HALFTIME

    Mar 16 3:35 PM