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Vols find the energy to hang on

Associated Press
Tennessee’s Chris Lofton shoots over Kentucky’s Derrick Jasper in the first half. Lofton scored 14 in the 63-60 win.

Associated Press Tennessee’s Chris Lofton shoots over Kentucky’s Derrick Jasper in the first half. Lofton scored 14 in the 63-60 win.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Chris Lofton is tired and sore. It has been that kind of week for him and his fellow Volunteers.

Tennessee hung on to beat Kentucky 63-60 on Sunday, after a week that included its first No.  1 ranking Monday and a loss to No.  18 Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

"That's college basketball," Lofton said. "It's something we have to deal with and get over."

The Vols have played three straight games against their biggest rivals, including a win over then-No.  1 Memphis, and needed the win over Kentucky to stay atop the SEC.

"Altogether, I think it was a great week for us, even though we lost our No.  1 spot," forward Tyler Smith said. "We're still happy with where we're at."

With one win, Tennessee will capture the East Division and a share of the conference title. The Vols, who play at Florida on Wednesday, are seeking their first outright SEC regular-season championship in 41 years.

That was put in peril when the Vols squandered a big early lead against Kentucky. Lofton scored 14, including a jump shot with 1:15 left, as Tennessee hung on to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season.

Derrick Jasper hit a 3-pointer to cut the Vols' lead to 63-60, but Jasper and Joe Crawford missed 3s in the final 20 seconds.

"I thought it was in," Crawford said of his shot. "There was no question in my mind."

Tennessee was up 34-27 at halftime after leading the entire first half, but Kentucky tied it at 41 when Ramon Harris hit a jumper while being fouled by Duke Crews. Harris hit the free throw to put the Wildcats up 42-41 with 13:54 left.

The teams traded the lead until Ramar Smith dunked to put Tennessee up 58-57 with 4:24 left. The Vols held the lead the rest of the game.

LSU 71, UGA 61: Marcus Thornton scored 36 as the host Tigers rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit. LSU has won three in a row in the SEC for the first time in two seasons.


CLEMSON 73, MARYLAND 70: Terrence Oglesby hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left as the visiting Tigers erased a 20-point second-half deficit. With Landon Milbourne sagging off him on the right wing, Oglesby had clear path for the decisive basket. After Greivis Vasquez's basket put the Terrapins up 59-39 with 11:23 left, Clemson went on a 31-11 run.

Big East

NO.  13 LOUISVILLE 68, VILLANOVA 54: Juan Palacios scored 13 in his final game at Freedom Hall for the Cardinals, who set up a showdown with No.  11 Georgetown on Saturday for the Big East title.

NO.  17 NOTRE DAME 98, DEPAUL 91: Luke Harangody scored 24 and Rob Kurz 21 as the visiting Fighting Irish, who were up by as much as 60-32, hung on to clinch a first-round bye in the conference tournament.

PROVIDENCE 81, UC 79, OT: Marshon Brooks scored four in overtime and had a block in the closing seconds for the Friars, who blew a 10-point lead before rallying to their second road win. Brooks made a leaning bank shot with two seconds left in regulation, tying it at 73.

Top 25

NO.  4 UCLA 68, ARIZ. 66: Kevin Love had 24 points and 15 rebounds and the visiting Bruins hung on for their seventh straight win over the Wildcats.

NO.  19 MICH. ST. 103, NO.  12 INDIANA 74: Raymar Morgan scored 20 for the host Spartans, who handed Dan Dakich his first loss in three games as Hoosiers interim coach.


WOODEN UPDATE: Former UCLA coach John Wooden, 97, had the cast on his arm cut open because of swelling but was in good health and high spirits on his third day in the hospital.

Vols find the energy to hang on 03/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:24am]
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