Share this article

print logo

Tennessee adds to Texas' troubles

The Duke loss, embarrassing as it was, could be brushed off as one bad game.

But sixth-ranked Texas will have a tough time accepting Saturday's 95-78 debacle against unranked Tennessee at the Erwin Center.

"They had a plan," Texas' LaMarcus Aldridge said, "and they came in and took care of business."

The Volunteers (6-0) forced 22 turnovers and converted them into a whopping 34 points. They shot the lights out from three-point range, too. Chris Lofton (21 points) was 5 for 9 beyond the arc, and the Vols were 12 for 24.

But there's a bigger problem nagging at Texas coach Rick Barnes.

Top-ranked Duke stomped Texas, 97-66, on Dec. 10, and the Longhorns had a whole week to stew about it. Instead of coming out with an aggressive mind-set, Texas let Tennessee dictate the tempo, Barnes said. The Vols had a double-digit lead less than six minutes into the game and led by 20 with 3:55 remaining in the first half.

As a result, Texas' 33-game home winning streak against non-conference foes came to an end.

"I can't answer that, because I thought if anything else that we would come out and be a little bit more emotional and into it," Barnes said. "There's definitely another level that we need to get to."

The Longhorns (8-2) were without forward Brad Buckman, who suffered a right calf injury against the Blue Devils. That weakened Texas' front line and allowed Tennessee to focus on Aldridge. He was 4 of 5 from the floor and had four turnovers.

Texas also lost guard Daniel Gibson when he suffered a concussion with 10:26 remaining in the first half. Barnes said Gibson also suffered a head injury during Thursday's practice, so the 6-foot-2 guard wasn't allowed to return.

It's not like losing Gibson hurt UT's chances, though. The Longhorns trailed, 26-10, at that point, and the Vols were just getting warmed up. C.J. Watson hit a three-pointer from the right wing. Then, Lofton cut back door for an easy layup. Jordan Howell later hit a three-pointer from the baseline that gave Tennessee a 42-22 lead.

Tennessee answered with a 12-3 run after Texas had crept within six early in the second half.

On one possession, Tennessee's Dane Bradshaw took three shots from close range, missing the first two but getting his own rebound both times. His third shot attempt was blocked, but the Vols kicked the loose ball out to Lofton for a three-pointer that gave them a 62-39 lead.

"Unbelievable," Tennessee's first-year coach Bruce Pearl said of that play. "This game meant a lot to us."

There are no comments - be the first to comment