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Chism shines before suffering injury in Tennessee victory

Dec 30, 2008 - 5:08 AM KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Wayne Chism was enjoying one of his best efforts of the season - until things went awry.

Prior to being carried off on a stretcher in the wake of suffering an undisclosed injury, Chism recorded 18 points and 15 rebounds as 18th-ranked Tennessee toppled Louisiana Lafayette, 89-62, on Monday.

"We took Wayne Chism to UT Medical Center as a precautionary measure," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "He had a head and neck injury, but we do not know to what extent. Chism had a terrific game, dominating inside and outside."

Tyler Smith contributed 10 points and Scotty Hopson had nine points and six rebounds for the Volunteers (9-2), who won their 37th consecutive home game.

Randell Daigle netted 16 points off the bench to pace the Ragin' Cajuns (4-7), who suffered their third straight loss.

"What we talked about at halftime was that the key was going to be the first few minutes of the second half, and that is where we lost the game," Ragin' Cajuns coach Robert Lee said. "They came out very aggressive, got out in transition, and we were not able to respond.

"We did not get to the free-throw line at all. If you do not get to the line, you are going to have a difficult winning, especially against a good team such as Tennessee."

Chism had his fourth double-double this season and second in his last three games.

But with 5:12 left in the game, Chism landed on his back after blocking a shot by La'Ryan Gary. Play was delayed for several minutes as Chism was strapped to a board, placed in a neck brace and taken off the court.

His status to return to the team's lineup is unknown.

Tennessee, which held a 44-31 halftime lead, then outscored the opposition, 13-2, to start the second half, and from there raced away to the convincing win.

The Volunteers shot 48 percent from the floor overall (31-for-64).

"We are making progress, but shooting continues to be an issue," Pearl said. "We are inconsistent. We will spend some practice time on our shooting, and eventually we will shoot well."

They improved to 22-3 all-time versus the Sun Belt Conference, while Pearl is a perfect 10-0 against such foes.

"We are focusing on the ends and sidelines as we try to get turnovers, and have shown great energy in trying to accomplish that," Pearl said.

The Ragin' Cajuns have not beaten a ranked team since a 79-76 win over then-No. 12 Mississippi State in 2002.

They were also without leading scorer Travis Bureau, who was averaging 16.8 points per game before sustaining a groin injury.