November 5, 2007
KNOXVILLE -- The No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers used relentless first half pressure and sharp shooting to outdistance the Division II Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters in the final exhibition contest of the season, 124-61, before a crowd of 18,840 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee finished 2-0 in the preseason after crushing California (Pa.), 106-46, last Friday.
Ryan Childress' 19 points and team-high eight rebounds led seven Volunteers in double figures. Tyler Smith held another hot hand connecting on 8-of-9 field goals for 17 points. Ramar Smith added 16 while dishing out eight assists. JaJuan Smith poured in 13, Cameron Tatum had 12, Chris Lofton 11 and Wayne Chism 10.
"It is hard to tell how much we accomplished in the preseason," said Head Coach Bruce Pearl. "It was good to get everybody out there. We did not do a good job in matching up against their press. We were unselfish, as shown by our 31 assists, and that is a real positive.
"We did not shoot well from the 3-point-line, and we took a big step backward on our free-throw shooting. If it continues like this, I will be very concerned. If we are not shooting well in a blowout like this one, what is going to happen when the pressure is on?"
The undermanned LMU squad, beset by preseason injuries to four key players, was led by Terry Delaney who scored 16 points with a team-high seven rebounds. Beau Brown added 15.
Tennessee shot 63.6 (49-of-77) from the field while out-rebounding the smaller Railspitters 50-36 and forcing LMU into 31 turnovers.
Tennessee's press forced the Railsplitters into 21 first half turnovers which the Vols turned into 42 points. The taller and quicker Volunteers shot 66.7 percent (30-45) in the half as four players (Tatum - 12, Childress - 12, JaJuan Smith - 10, Chism - 10) reached double figures in scoring.
Both teams felt each other out for the first two minutes of the contest before Tennessee kicked it into gear by going on a 17-3 run in a 2-minute, six-second span midway through the half in taking a 23-6 lead to begin the rout.
The Vols tied the school record for points in a half as they led 72-30 at the break.
"It is all about trying to get ready for Temple this Friday," said Pearl. "It is great being able to bring in teams like LMU, Carson Newman, and Tusculum. I know they enjoyed coming here to Thompson-Boling Arena. Temple has the two top scorers in the Atlantic-10. They are picked to be in the middle of the conference. They are a program that has a wonderful history and tradition. We wanted an attractive opponent to open the season here at the Arena. Our fans deserve it, and so does our administration."
Tennessee now preps for the regular-season opener against the Temple Owls Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised regionally on FOX SportSouth.