ATHENS, Ga. - The 1-2 punch of Tennessee's Wayne Chism and Chris Lofton enabled the Vols to knock out yet another victory Saturday afternoon.
"Road wins are sweet,'' coach Bruce Pearl said. "I'm not going to come to Georgia and get a road win and complain about it.''
The fourth-ranked Vols (23-2, 10-1 SEC) played just well enough for a 74-71 SEC basketball victory over the upset-minded Bulldogs at Stegeman Coliseum.
Chism scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half while Lofton heated up for 19 of his 22 in the second.
The Bulldogs (12-11, 3-7) had a chance to force overtime after Tyler Smith missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation with 6.2 seconds left and the Vols up 74-71.
After the miss, Lofton raced over to foul Sundiata Gaines, as instructed by Pearl, putting the Georgia star at the free-throw line for a one-and-one with 2.7 seconds left.
Gaines, who scored 23 points, dished out eights assists and recorded three steals, missed his first free throw intentionally, rebounded the ball, and raced to the corner to attempt the potential game-tying 3-point shot at the buzzer.
The shot bounded off, giving the Vols their seventh consecutive victory and their eighth in a row over Georgia.
The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half and were down 74-67 when Lofton hit his sixth and final 3-pointer with 3:45 left.
"Chris Lofton willed this win,'' Pearl said. "Chris Lofton put this team on his shoulders with his offense in the second half and made shots.
"He was bound and determined we were not going to leave this building without a victory, and he saw to that.''
Lofton hit 7 of 9 shots in the second half - including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
"I got in a rhythm at the beginning of the second half,'' Lofton said. "I got great open looks and it just kept happening.''
Georgia, playing with only eight scholarship players, aligned itself in a 2-3 zone from start to finish.
"We have not seen 40 minutes of zone on the road in three years,'' Pearl said. "We had really good looks. (Usually,) when people go zone Chris and JaJuan (Smith) will shoot them out of it.''
But with Lofton and Smith making only 1 of 7 3-point shots between them in the first half, it was up to Chism to elevate his game.
"I was the man in the open spot,'' said Chism, who made 5 of 6 shots in the first half and finished with nine rebounds and three blocked shots. "So they were getting it to me, and I had to step up.''
Pearl said he was thrilled with Chism's effort.
"Wayne was terrific; he was the only one we had that could get to them inside,'' Pearl said. "Wayne really separated himself. He was the best big man on the floor.''
Tyler Smith was down on himself despite posting his fourth double-double this season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
"It was physical, and I wasn't going in there doing what I do best, which is make plays,'' said Smith, who had six assists and two blocked shots. "Give credit to Wayne and Chris. Wayne manned up and we got the ball to him … Chris made the big shots.''
JaJuan Smith, who scored 32 points in a win over Arkansas on Wednesday, matched his season low with two points on 1-of-7 shooting.
"I just had a bad game,'' he said. "That was it, just a bad game.''
Lofton, who was held to six points and no 3-pointers against the Razorbacks, said that's just the way it goes sometimes.
"This is what a team is,'' Lofton said. "Nobody is going to play good every night.
"We haven't really played our best basketball yet. There's still lots of room for improvement.''
UT plays Auburn at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Tigers (13-10, 3-7) beat Ole Miss, 90-78, Saturday.