for this game

Smith helps Tennessee remain perfect at home

Feb 14, 2008 - 5:02 AM KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- JaJuan Smith bounced back from his worst offensive game of the year with one of his best, leading Tennessee to another home victory.

Smith matched a career high with 32 points as the fourth-ranked Volunteers extended their home winning streak to 29 games, blowing past Arkansas, 93-71, in a Southeastern Conference matchup on Wednesday.

The 6-2 senior - who was battling the flu - had a season-low two points on 1-of-8 shooting in Tennessee's 47-45 victory over Louisiana State on Saturday - but did make the game-winning basket with 12 seconds left.

On Wednesday, Smith did not wait until the end to be the hero, scoring 17 points in the second half to help the Volunteers pull away. The guard shot 9-of-13 from the floor, and made all six of his 3-point attempts - setting a school-record for most 3-pointers without a miss.

"I am happy to report JaJuan Smith has recovered completely from the flu," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "In both of these games, when he was sick Saturday against LSU, and tonight, when he was well, he made significant contributions."

Saturday's contest was also the lowest scoring output of the season for the Volunteers (22-2, 9-1 SEC East), who bounced back to top the 90-point mark for the seventh time this season.

Smith scored five points during an early 9-0 spurt that gave the Volunteers an 11-4 lead, and Tennessee never trailed for the rest of the contest.

The Razorbacks (17-6, 6-3 West), who were behind by as many as 12 in the first half, were down just 43-37 at the break before the Volunteers started to pull away.

"I did not think we were able to play well enough tonight to really challenge them," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "I was surprised to only be down five points at halftime, and got optimistic. But certainly Tennessee played better in the second half. We just never could get our defense into the game."

Tennessee started the final stanza strong, taking a 54-38 advantage with 17:30 to play after JaJuan and Tyler Smith combined for all 11 points during an 11-1 run that opened up the second half.

The Volunteers maintained their double-digit lead for the rest of the game and took a 76-52 bulge on consecutive 3-pointers by JaJuan Smith, which capped a 14-0 run with 8:46 remaining. Arkansas never got closer than 21 the rest of the way.

"JaJuan Smith is a terrific player," Pelphrey said. "The thing we wanted to do was to try to limit their transition, make them play in the half court. In the first half, I thought we did a good job with that.

"In the second half, if you do not score, you have got to play transition defense more. And if you start doing it too much with those guys, with their speed and shooting, it is tough."

Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism each added 15 points for the Volunteers, who survived an off-night from leading scorer Chris Lofton - who was held to six points on 2-of-8 shooting.

"They were almost playing a box-and-one on Chris Lofton," Pearl said. "We should have done more things to make them ease up on Lofton a little bit. But when he is in there being guarded closely as he was tonight, he opens things up for everybody else."

Sonny Weems scored 20 points to pace the Razorbacks, who shot 39 percent (23-of-59) from the floor and had their four-game winning streak snapped.

    --- --- -----
    ARKANSAS 38 33 71
    TENNESSEE (4) 43 50 93 FINAL

    Feb 13 10:12 PM


    Feb 13 9:02 PM