Lofton lifts Vols over Horns in overtime Knoxville shootout

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
on Saturday.

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
latest nail-biters.

"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.

Durant led Texas with 26 points. D.J. Augustin had 20 points and
13 assists, A.J. Abrams added 17 points and Justin Mason had 15.
Damion James added 14 rebounds and four blocks.

"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
the way.

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.

The Longhorns had won three straight since losing to Gonzaga on
Dec. 2.

ESPN Fan Shop Powered By

  • Nike Men's Texas Longhorns White Hyperelite ELITE Basketball Game JacketShop

  • Nike Men's Tennessee Volunteers Tennessee Orange ELITE Shooter Long Sleeve ShirtShop


  • Remembering Len Bias

    On June 19, 1986, former first-team All-American forward Len Bias died at the age of 22. Take a look back at what made him one of the best basketball stars during his playing days at Maryland.

  • Ben Simmons' letter to his father

    On Father's Day, NBA draft prospect Ben Simmons pens a letter to his father thanking him for all that he has done for him.

  • Chad Ford's best under-the-radar draft prospect

    ESPN NBA draft insider Chad Ford breaks down which prospect would be a great value pick that is not getting enough attention.