71 - 76 Final - OT
  for this game

Chism, Tennessee outlast Butler in overtime

Mar 23, 2008 - 11:46 PM BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Ticker) -- It wasn't easy or pretty, but Tennessee had just enough to move on to the "Sweet 16."

Wayne Chism scored 16 points and Tyler Smith added 15 and eight rebounds as second-seeded Tennessee held on for a 76-71 overtime victory over seventh-seeded Butler in a second-round matchup out of the Eastern Regional on Sunday.

JaJuan Smith chipped in 11 points for the Volunteers, who never trailed during regulation but saw Butler fight back to tie the game at 63-63 and send the contest into overtime.

"We're very pleased to have survived and advance," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "Our inside guys did a terrific job. And to be able to win the battle of the boards and be the more physical club ... I thought that was very, very significant for us."

The contest featured a pair of 30-win teams, marking the first time since the NCAA Tournament field expanded in 1985 that two teams with at least that many wins met in just the second round.

"It was a great college basketball game between two pretty darn good teams," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "Certainly both teams played valiantly and played with terrific effort. And I think it was just a game of inches on a lot of occasions."

The Volunteers will face third-seeded Louisville next Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tied at 66-66 in the extra period, A.J. Graves gave Butler its first lead of the game with a runner in the lane, but Tennessee answered on back-to-back baskets by JaJuan Smith and Chism to take a 70-68 lead with 53 seconds left.

The Volunteers (31-4) maintained their slim advantage and JaJuan Smith made two free throws to extend the lead to 74-70 with 13 seconds to play. JaJuan Smith made another pair with four seconds to play to seal the victory.

Leading scorer Chris Lofton was held in single digits for the second straight game, scoring just nine points for Tennessee, which made just 5-of-19 shots from the arc and was 19-of-29 from the free throw line. Tennessee also committed 20 turnovers.

The Volunteers made their first three 3-pointers and jumped out to a 13-2 lead with 14:40 left in the first half.

"I thought the way we started the game was extremely important," Pearl said. "We sent a message right off the bat that we were going to represent the SEC, and I thought we showed a tremendous determination to advance."

But the Bulldogs (30-4) fought back and pulled within 35-34 on Pete Campbell's 3-pointer before Lofton answered with a 3-pointer of his own to give Tennessee a four-point lead at the break.

Trailing throughout the second half, Butler finally caught Tennessee as Graves sank a pair of free throws to knot the game at 60-60 with 2:37 left to play.

"They (Tennessee) are a tremendous team of runs," Stevens said. "And you just have to weather some of that and then you have to just keep playing the game. This is a long, long game. And I'll tell you this about this team, we haven't been out of a game in a long time."

Chism's jumper put Tennessee back in front, but after each team made one free throw, the Bulldogs again tied the contest on Willie Veasley's tip-in of Green's miss with 36 seconds to play.

J.P. Prince traveled on the Volunteers' final possession, giving Butler a final chance, but Green could not get a shot off in the final seconds.

Graves finished with 21 points and Green had 15, seven rebounds and five assists for the Bulldogs, who made 9-of-26 from the arc and lost for the first time in 25 games when making at least eight 3-pointers this season.

"What more can you say about Butler and the way those kids played," Pearl said. "How they honor the game with the way they play, and I thought Graves and Green were both terrific."