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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Tennessee 76, Memphis 58

No. 16 Memphis Drops Road Contest at Tennessee
Douglas-Roberts scores team-high 19 points to pace Tigers.

Dec. 6, 2006

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Chris Lofton scored a career-high 34 points as Tennessee built a big lead in the first half and stunned No. 16 Memphis 76-58 Wednesday.

The Tigers (6-2) looked vastly different than a year ago without leading scorers Rodney Carney, Shawne Williams and Darius Washington, who helped them to the Conference USA championship and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

They struggled to hit shots while the Volunteers (7-2) relied on Lofton and their defense.

Tennessee led by as many as 23 points in the first half. Lofton scored 21 points before halftime while Memphis went 9-of-40 from the field and finished 22-of-77 for the game.

The Tigers opened the second half with an 11-2 run that cut it to 12 on Chris Douglas-Roberts' 3-pointer. Lofton then scored eight straight points in a minute. His fifth 3-pointer put the Vols ahead 55-38 with 11:49 remaining. The Tigers didn't rally again.

Douglas-Roberts led Memphis with 19 points while Robert Dozier had 13.

Dane Bradshaw added 11 points for the Vols.

This cross-state rivalry became more heated when Bruce Pearl became Tennessee's coach last year. Memphis coach John Calipari has made it clear he would rather not continue the series.

The Tigers agreed to a contract to play for several years only after the Vols agreed to play in football, too. Pearl has said Memphis has no respect for Tennessee, a program that struggled in mediocrity before Pearl's arrival while the Tigers have excelled.

Both programs butted heads in the recruitment of point guard Willie Kemp, a native of Bolivar, Tenn. Kemp eventually chose Memphis, but his high school teammate, forward Wayne Chism, picked the Vols.

Tennessee fans booed Kemp when he was introduced before the game.

The Vols used a 12-2 run in the first half to break a tie at 15 and take a 27-17 lead. Chism banked in a 3 to start the run and Lofton capped it with another 3 and a driving layup.

Calipari promptly called a timeout. The Tigers then had a turnover and Duke Crews missed a dunk at the other end but was fouled. He was called for a technical after he yelled in the face of Memphis' Andre Allen. Hunt made the second of two free throws for technical, cutting the lead to nine.

The Tigers couldn't get any closer and scored only two more baskets the rest of the half.

Lofton was 12-of-18 from the field, including 6-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Tennessee got a big lift when Joey Dorsey, Memphis' big man, got in foul trouble early and eventually fouled out.

The Vols earned a second seed in last season's NCAA tournament, the highest in school history, after earning signature victories like their sweep over eventual national champion Florida.

But they lost three key players. With four freshmen who play regularly, this is the youngest team Pearl says he's coached.

Memphis trails in the series 7-11 but had won two straight.

The Tigers' 88-79 win last season in Memphis was the first time the teams had met since 2001. Carney, Williams and Washington combined for 50 points in the game.

The Tigers haven't won in Knoxville since 1994.

They were 10-1 on the road last season, and Wednesday was the first time they had played in an opponent's arena this season.

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