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Tennessee survives scare against Georgia

Feb 17, 2008 - 12:28 AM ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Tennessee escaped Stegeman Coliseum with its winning streak intact.

Chris Lofton scored 19 of his 22 points in the second half as the fourth-ranked Volunteers held on for a 74-71 victory over Georgia in a Southeastern Conference contest on Saturday.

Georgia, which had just seven scholarship players available, missed five shots to tie in the final two minutes, including a 3-pointer by Sundiata Gaines at the buzzer.

Tennessee (23-2, 10-1 SEC East) stretched its winning streak to seven games despite not scoring in the final 3:50. The Volunteers got their final points on Lofton's 3-pointer that made it 74-67.

Tennessee's Tyler Smith gave the Bulldogs (12-11, 3-7) a chance by missing the front end of a 1-and-1 with seven seconds remaining.

Instead of allowing a possible game-tying 3-pointer, the Volunteers intentionally fouled Gaines with 2.7 seconds remaining, and the move almost backfired.

Gaines, who scored 23 points, missed the free throw intentionally, grabbed his own rebound and raced out to the 3-point line. But his jumper from the left wing caromed off the front rim as time expired.

Georgia has lost six of its last seven games. The Bulldogs snapped a five-game losing streak Wednesday with an 82-64 win over South Carolina.

Wayne Chism scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half for the Volunteers, who continued the best start in school history. Tyler Smith recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

After making just 1-of-6 3-pointers in the first half, Lofton made five pointers in the second half, extending his SEC career record to 398.

Lofton finished 6-of-12 from beyond the arc while his teammates were a combined 1-for-12 from 3-point range.

Trailing 35-31, Georgia grabbed a 51-48 lead on Zac Swansey's jumper with 13:55 remaining. But Tennessee responded with a 10-0 run, extending its advantage to 58-51 on a Ramar Smith's layup with 10:56 remaining.

A jumper by Jeremy Price and a layup by Swansey pulled the Bulldogs within 74-71 with 2:38 remaining, setting the stage for the wild finish.

After Swansey, Gaines and Woodbury came up empty on 3-point attempts for the Bulldogs, Chism missed a layup for the Volunteers with 20 seconds remaining.

On Georgia's next possession, however, Woodbury, who scored 14 points, missed another jumper in which he appeared to have his foot on the 3-point line.

Tyler Smith was fouled after Tennessee gained possession but failed to put away the contest.