UT's re-worked lineup works well

Tyler Smith's 22 points plenty for 22nd straight home game

Tennessee guard Ramar Smith blocks a lay up attempt by Louisiana-Lafayette's Willie Lago on Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena. Smith had 14 points and 3 assists to help the Vols (7-1) defeat the Ragin' Cajuns 98-70.

Photo by Clay Owen

Tennessee guard Ramar Smith blocks a lay up attempt by Louisiana-Lafayette's Willie Lago on Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena. Smith had 14 points and 3 assists to help the Vols (7-1) defeat the Ragin' Cajuns 98-70.

Tennessee guard Ramar Smith blocks a lay up attempt by Louisiana-Lafayette's Willie Lago on Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena. Smith had 14 points and 3 assists to help the Vols (7-1) defeat the Ragin' Cajuns 98-70.

Photo by Clay Owen // Buy this photo

Tennessee guard Ramar Smith blocks a lay up attempt by Louisiana-Lafayette's Willie Lago on Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena. Smith had 14 points and 3 assists to help the Vols (7-1) defeat the Ragin' Cajuns 98-70.

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.

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Comments » 28

CoverOrange writes:

Anybody hear of a player named Lofton. Heard he can shoot pretty good. Guess he didn't play tonight. Maybe Pearl is going to redshirt him.

At 10:40 pm this article has no mention of Lofton, at all. Seems strange that, being as he is supposed to be our all-american player.

nickperkinsalc#627224 writes:

I just hope Lofton steps up big when the Vols need him. They do not need him in games like this.

ron#357499 writes:

HOW ABOUT A SCORE.
OVER ALL COVERAGE IS SORRY.
GUESS FOCUSING ON GREAT __LOWLY RATED FOOTBALL TEAM PLAYING IN SEC CHAMPIONSHIP.A PROGRAM WHICH CHOKES ON THE IMPORTANT GAMES YEAR IN AND OUT.

GO BIG ORANGE

amyslins writes:

the thing about lofton not being mentioned is that i do not care about this game. in the other games he might get 20 point on awful shooting. this game he got 7 while shooting a few shots ( i think 6 if i remember right). so, that is not a problem if he only getting that many shots, as long as he is hitting the shots he is getting. good job of stepping up jordan howell!!!

nickperkinsalc#627224 writes:

I am very happy for Jordan Howell. He has worked hard, overcame some injuries, and is off to a nice senior season.

andy112382#209793 writes:

ron, what are you talking about???

Orangefever writes:

was cameron tatum injured? why did he not play tonight?

newtonrail writes:

Pearl wanted Crews, Tabb, and others to get extended minutes so he didn't play Tatum or Williams in Garbage minutes, when the "walk ons" came in. They will get their time.

budrhon writes:

I know the competition wasn't great, but TBA really appeared dead last night from a TV perspective. Definitely not Cameron Indoor Arena. Perhaps Pearls next task is reworking the Crowd. Wakeup Vol Fans and get loud!!!!

mickey9830#643278 writes:

Hey ron get a life and use that pea sized brain and be someone elses fan. Please we do not need you or your trash here and tnmantravel your out of your mind Tyler will make it if he stays healthy.He is unselfish and just starting to adjust to our style of play.So time will tell and ain't it great to be a Tennessee Vol.Yes it is round ball or football 5 in a row what else do you want.I love them no matter what the record and if your a true fan so will you .GO VOLS WIN THE CONFERENCE TITLE !!!!

King30 writes:

With about 6 minutes to play, Tyler had 18 pts, 7 assists, and 7 boards. I could just smell that first UT triple-double. I was hoping BP would leave him in there to make a run at it.
This kid's had some incredible lines of late and you gotta love his comment:
"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."

And Knoxville loves having you here!!!

jweaver3#395614 writes:

TNMAN, You realize this is Tyler's first year with the Vols right? Have you ever played the game because it takes a lot of real games, not the ones we have been playing but some West Virgina and Texas type games before you get the feel of your team mates and your place on the team!!!
I think that what he has accomplished in this short of time is amazing!!! He will be a pro and we better enjoy him because we have this year and next and then he is GONE!!!
GO VOLS
WE LOVE YOU COACH PEARL AND THE REST OF THE VOLS!!!
TXVOLSFAN

bleed_orange writes:

Who ever is not impressed with Tyler up to now has not been watching the games to close. He is our next Dane, but better. He will play in the NBA. Lofton is an ALl-American, however Tyler might be our best all-around player by season end. He will get a Triple Double this season at some point. Josh needs to come to play every night. Jordan played good, but Ramar played a little under-controll and made some terrible sloppy passes. Duke played better, but Wayne needs to establish himself more inside. Ryan needs to rest until the WKY game on the 15th, because they could beat us if we don't watch out. They lost to Gonzaga by 3 in Seattle. Jajuan played ok. I think J.P. will fit in perfect with UT's team. Go VOLS Best LSU today. GO VOLS beat UTC Tuesday. GO BIG ORANGE!
JDS

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

I think Williams and Tatum need floor time, too. It's too late to redshirt, I think.

Also, what will happen with JP?

I don't think everyone needs to be in the rotation, but maybe 5-10 mintues a game just to keep the kids motivated.

I'm not questioning Cocah P on this, just an opinion. It will be interesting to see how he works this out.

budrhon writes:

Mickey - put whatever spin you want on it. When you hear the sneakers squeek on the floor that's a good indicator of the crowd not being into it. As VOLnFla said it was like a tennis match or worst yet and NBA crowd. And use your pea brain and hearing aid and know an observation when it's given. Truth is what was shown. The guys played great but the Fan support was not there last night from a vocal standpoint. That's not being negative it's the truth. Perhaps it will improve once the competition (SEC) comes around. My thought is that if we expect to go to the next level that means the Fans have to get off there hands and cheer this team on regardless of who the opponent is.

Pocket_Passer writes:

new starting line up, same end result, but came out of the gate a bit hotter!

DaveVol writes:

Did everyone read the article before they posted????

volunteers4life writes:

Pearl is a f***in' Genius! We should cherish the time we have him. I can see NBA teams looking to recruit him in the future. SECCG today, WE OWN LSU IF ONLY FOR TODAY!!! Give me some SUGAR BOWL for x-mas, baby!!!

calvolfromkingsport writes:

Any speculation on the impact the "big" Prince will have? He sounds like the real deal. I hope our defense keeps developing because Texas ,with its hot shooting, sure exposed a weakness. Then again, maybe the Vols were just tired.

asleep#212036 writes:

Lofton's biggest contribution early in the season is to draw the other team's best defender. If Tyler Smith and others continue to light it up, teams will have to adjust. We all know what happens if Mr. Lofton gets a good look, and he will get many more of them if his teammates shoot well. I expect that further on into the schedule, Chris will heat up and the Vols should do fine. Go Vols!!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

too many talented players to count;never thought we would have that problem..Usually comes down to who's got the hot hand and who's throwing up bricks..Can't wait to see what happens when we throw Prince into the mix..This team needs to make a statement against Xavier and Gonzaga

THE_VOL writes:

Ok - just back from hoops/football weekend, tired, irritable and generally in a bad mood but:

WD40 - you need some oil on your brain if you have one. Why everybody thinks CLo needs to put up 20+ EVERY night is beyond me.

amyslime - back to the kitchen please!

orangefever - that name explains your question. Tatum and Williams didn't play cause equal opportunity time is over. They are freshmen with BETTER PLAYERS in front of them. Their time will be minimal the rest of the way - as it should be.

tnmantravel - please go somewhere! You wouldn't recognize an NBA player if he slapped you on your obviously empty head! Tyler has much work to do (improved jump shot) before he gets there but YOU certainly aren't qualified to say he won't make it just as bleed, et al can't say he will! Why don't we just let him be a Vol and see what happens when it's time.

VolnFlorida - because they are TN fans! Most worry more about appearances than results (see Philip Fulmer discussions)

bleed - tell it the way it REALLY is! Josh needs to worry about just getting to play next week! Ramar is so selfish and overrated it's pathetic. Wayne is so soft, Nikki Anosike would beast him! Unfortunately the relative success of this season may ride heavily with those three.

Sauderman - any chance that the competition so far has been decent but this team is just embarrassing them????? What? You want UCLA and Kansas in November???

volunteers4life - News flash bud - Pearl's system would get destroyed in the NBA! Don't believe it? Ask Paul Westhead. But on the other hand you could be right - he might be great in the league as so far he's been unable to convince ANYBODY here to play much defense.

calvol - what exactly does "the real deal" SOUND like?????

murrayvol writes:

THE_VOL:
Go back and throw a couple more zingers. I think you missed someone.

redneckerson writes:

thevol, does it go back to childhood or have you only recently begun to have these delusions that you are the almighty authority on Vol basketball???

THE_VOL writes:

redneck - thanks but why do I only get those responses from fools who have no capacity to FACTUALLY debate me? I'll add you to the list who KNOW I AM right but just want to hate the messenger. By the way, you never told us how those sheep are working out for the E.D. condition of yours???????

murray - happy now? LMAO

redneckerson writes:

the vol, I never know before you revealed your experience that sheep were used for ED treatment. By the way, is it true that you could never take driver's ed and sex ed in the same semester because it was too hard on your mule?

redneckerson writes:

sorry - meant "never knew", the thought of the vol abusing those poor sheep kind of had me discombobulated.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

THE_VOL,
Excellent rant and looking forward to some more.

There's a bunch if idiots posting in the football threads that could use a smack down as well, though it might not be worth the pixels.

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