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A new starting lineup led to the same old result in Thompson-Boling Arena on Friday night.
The 11th-ranked Tennessee men's basketball team ran its home-court win streak to 22 games with a 98-70 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Tyler Smith led the way with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Jordan Howell scored a career-high 17 points as UT improved to 7-1.
Duke Crews started in place of Wayne Chism at center and responded with 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds against the Ragin' Cajuns (1-4).
Vols' freshmen Brian Williams and Cameron Tatum did not play, as UT coach Bruce Pearl stuck with his plan to cut the rotation to nine players.
Smith's scintillating performance made the rotation an afterthought before the crowd of 19,401.
"This is three games in a row where Tyler has shot well, passed well and rebounded well," Pearl said. "He has got to the foul line and demonstrated what a fine player he is.
"I re-introduced myself to Tyler tonight. I said 'I'm Coach Bruce Pearl, and you are … oh, Tyler Smith, I was waiting for you to show up.'"
Smith's 22 points are his high with the Vols, but he scored 28 in a game for Iowa while earning All-Big Ten freshman honors last season.
"Even though we're only eight games into this season, I feel like I've been a part of this for three years," Smith said. "I have such great, unselfish teammates, and I love being here in Knoxville."
Smith, himself, is unselfish, as his team-high 29 assists suggest.
"Tyler deserves everything he's getting, because he's one of the most unselfish guys I've ever met," said Howell, who tied his previous career-high of 11 points by the time the Vols had coasted to a 46-27 halftime lead. "People say we miss Dane Bradshaw, and we do, because Dane is a great player.
"But now we have Tyler Smith, and Tyler's going to pull down a triple-double one of these nights and be the first player in UT history to do it, and one day he's going to play in the NBA."
Howell said some of his 3-pointers came when his defender dropped down to stop Smith, and Smith kicked it back out to an open Howell.
Chris Lofton's defender, however, stayed glued to him when Smith penetrated. As a result, Lofton attempted only five shots en route to seven points.
"Chris gets so much attention, the other guys benefit," Pearl said. "Tyler's on the same side of the court as Chris, so when Tyler drives, there's no help from that side because the other guy is in Chris' shorts."
Lofton played a team-high 30 minutes and contributed with three rebounds, four assists and two steals.
JaJuan Smith didn't score in the first half but finished with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting as the Vols opened the second half on a 10-3 run to put the game away.
"JaJuan showed great patience," Pearl said. "JaJuan and Chris take some 'huh?' shots because they are both such great shooters, so it's difficult for them to be patient."
Pearl, however, said he's having trouble being patient.
As good as the Vols looked at times, hitting 53.8 percent of their shots while out-rebounding ULL 41-30, it wasn't good enough to satisfy the head coach.
"The consistency of our play is challenging; what that does for a coach is make it difficult to figure it out," Pearl said. "I'm not sleeping good. I'm really not. We're still not there yet, and we all know that."
Fresh Prince: Sophomore J.P. Prince could return to full-contact practice as early as next week after undergoing Nov. 8 shoulder surgery. Prince, who at 6-foot-8 can play every position but center, transferred from Arizona and is eligible to play Dec. 15 against Western Kentucky in Nashville.
Next game: Tennessee plays at Chattanooga at 7 p.m. Tuesday before going 10 days without a game.