Vols have a ball

Published: Sunday, January 29, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 29, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
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Tennessee's Stanley Asumnu dunks the ball against South Carolina. Asumnu finished with 10 points.

The Associated Press
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Chris Lofton scored 23 points and Andre Patterson had 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 19 Tennessee to an 81-65 win over South Carolina on Saturday.
The Volunteers (14-3, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) won their third straight game and won at home for the first time this season as a ranked team.
A week ago, Tennessee defeated then-No. 2 Florida at home and set off a big celebration that resulted in the Vols getting back into the Top 25 and receiving a $5,000 fine from the SEC for fans running onto the court.
The crowd didn't swarm the court after beating South Carolina, but the fans were loud in cheering the first-place team in the SEC East.
The Gamecocks (11-9, 2-5) lost at home to the Vols earlier this month and couldn't maintain the momentum from beating Florida this week.
The Vols led the entire second half, but South Carolina kept chipping away at the lead. Tre' Kelley cut it to 69-63 on a 3-pointer with 3:10 left, and Dane Bradshaw answered for Tennessee with a three-point play.
Kelley scored again on a drive, but those were the final points in the game for South Carolina. Tennessee outscored the Gamecocks 9-0 over the final 2:20.
C.J. Watson added 11 points and Stanley Asumnu had 10 for Tennessee. Lofton, one of the best 3-point shooters in the SEC, didn't make a 3 until the second half. He finished 4-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Kelley and Dwayne Day each scored 11 points and Tarence Kinsey had 10 points for the Gamecocks, who were outrebounded 43-30.
The Vols got many of their points at the free throw line. They were 15-of-21 while the Gamecocks were only 2-of-4.
South Carolina cut the lead to 55-52 on Stephen McDowell's 3 with 8:34 remaining to finish an 8-2 run.
But Lofton made two straight 3-pointers and Watson hit two free throws to push the lead to 11 with 6:49 to go.
  • LSU 79, MISSISSIPPI 73: Darrel Mitchell had 18 of his season-high 28 points in the second half to lead visiting LSU to its sixth straight win. Freshman Tasmin Mitchell had a career-high 20 points and Glen Davis added 19 for the Tigers (14-5, 6-0), who used some clutch free-throw shooting to withstand a late Rebels rally to remain the only team unbeaten in SEC play.
    Ole Miss (13-6, 3-3) tied it at 71 on Todd Abernethy's 3-pointer with 2:12 to play, but Tasmin Mitchell countered with a 3-pointer 15 seconds later to put LSU ahead to stay. Davis then iced it when his three-point play with 44 seconds remaining made it 77-73.
  • ALABAMA 65, MISSISSIPPI ST. 59: Richard Hendrix had 22 points and 16 rebounds, leading host Alabama over Mississippi State. Jermareo Davidson scored 14 points and Ronald Steele added 11 for the Crimson Tide (11-7, 4-2), extending the Bulldogs' losing streak to six games.
  • AUBURN 66, GEORGIA 65: Ronny LeMelle hit two clutch free throws with 22.9 seconds to play as host Auburn came from behind in the second half.
    Auburn (9-8, 1-5) won its first SEC game after five straight league losses. The 0-5 conference start was Auburn's worst since the Tigers started the 1993-94 conference season 0-10.
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