KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Add another improbable comeback to
Tennessee's early season resume.
Chris Lofton scored a career-high 35 points, including a long
3-pointer to give the Volunteers their first lead in the second
half, and Tennessee held off Texas for a 111-105 overtime victory
The Vols (10-2), who needed a last-second shot to beat
Oklahoma State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP) on Monday, rallied from 17 points down in the second
half to take an 88-87 lead when Lofton hit a 3 from about 30 feet
with 18 seconds left in regulation.
Tennessee's Ramar Smith was then fouled and made one of two free
throws, and Texas (8-3) forced overtime when freshman Kevin Durant
drove to the basket and scored with 1.1 seconds left to tie it at
The Vols never trailed in overtime, and the young Longhorns
couldn't find the groove they had when dominating earlier in the
Tennessee trailed 50-35 at halftime after shooting 30 percent
and went nine minutes between field goals.
"At halftime we should have been down more than 15. We played
so poorly for a long stretch in the first half," Tennessee coach
Bruce Pearl said.
"I said Texas can play better than that. They played good. They
can play better. Now we're either going to get blown out of here or
we're going to come back and represent."
Pearl believes the Vols should find a place in the Top 25 next
week. Since losing to No. 2 North Carolina on Nov. 24, Tennessee
beat Murray State, Memphis and Western Kentucky before its two
"We're in that company," Pearl said.
JaJuan Smith added 19 points, and Wayne Chism had 18 for
Tennessee. Duke Crews scored all of his 16 points in the second
half, and Ramar Smith added 15 points and nine assists for the
Vols. Lofton had 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.
"We got into some serious foul trouble and tried to work
through that," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "It's two good teams
going at each other. The flow for us never got the way we wanted in
the second half for whatever reason."
The Longhorns, who have the youngest starting lineup in school
history with four freshmen and a sophomore, looked like they were
headed for an easy victory to avenge last year's stunning 95-78
loss to Tennessee in Pearl's first season.
But once again Pearl found a way to win with the youngest team
he's ever coached, overcoming Texas' dominance in the first half
and bigger speedy players.
At 6-foot-9, Durant proved tough to guard, but he picked up his
fourth foul late on an offensive charge.
"I didn't agree with some of the calls that were thrown my way,
but that's part of adversity," Durant said.
The Longhorns were ahead by eight points after Abrams scored
with 2:52 left in the second half. But Tennessee kept chipping away
as it had during the whole game. Crews scored twice around a free
throw by Texas, and Lofton hit another 3 with 1:05 left to cut it
to 87-85. Abrams missed on a drive, and Lofton hit his long 3 over
Durant to give the Vols the lead.
Lofton said that 3 may have been the longest he's made in
"I needed to take that shot to get the lead. I thought it was
going to win the game, but [Durant] came out and made a great play
to send it into overtime," Lofton said.
Said Durant: "I was in his face and had good defense and he hit
two long 3s over me."
Lofton hit his career-tying seventh 3 of the game to start the
overtime. Augustin answered with a basket for Texas to cut it to
92-91, but that was as close as the Longhorns would get the rest of
Tennessee went 8-of-10 from the free throw line over the final
The Vols were playing without starting point guard Jordan
Howell, who broke his right hand in practice on Thursday.
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