December 4, 2007
Tennessee's Chris Lofton (5) drives against Chattanooga's Vernice Cloyd during the second half of a basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Lofton scored 16 points as Tennessee won 76-70.(AP Photo/Wade Payne)
CHATTANOOGA -- Chris Lofton had 16 points, JaJuan Smith added 13 and No. 10 Tennessee survived a scare to beat Chattanooga 76-70 on Tuesday night.
Playing their first true road test of the season, the Volunteers (8-1) shot a season-low 36 percent from the field. Tennessee's only other games outside Knoxville were at neutral sites against Texas and West Virginia.
Stephen McDowell had a team-high 14 points for Chattanooga, which fell to 5-30 against their in-state adversary. Marcus Watts added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Nicchaeus Doaks had 11 points for the Mocs.
Tennessee was outrebounded for the fourth game this season, and it almost cost them.
Chattanooga (4-4) muscled their way past the Vols for much of the game, but a season-high 34 turnovers cost them a chance to score their second consecutive upset over Tennessee. The Mocs defeated the Vols in the last meeting between the schools in 2004.
Chattanooga dropped to 3-39 against ranked opponents.
Tennessee found themselves trailing 41-40 with 17 minutes to play. The Vols hit their stride late, and the Mocs fatigued with the constant pressure from Tennessee's swarming full-court defense that converted turnovers into points.
The Vols were powered by a 14-4 run to take a 61-49 lead, drowning out the once blaring home crowd.
Tennessee shot 17-for-22 from the free throw line, and ended Chattanooga's hopes of knocking off the highest ranked team in school history with clutch shooting from stripe. The Mocs' upset against then-No. 15 East Tennessee in 1991 serves as the program's biggest win.
Despite forcing 21 first half turnovers, Tennessee led just 34-33 at the half.
Chattanooga outrebounded the Vols 25-12 in the half, and held Tennessee to just 36 percent shooting. The Vols cut the rebounding deficit to 30-43 by game's end, but allowing second chance points for much of the game gave the Mocs the opportunity they needed.
The Vols used an 8-0 run to go ahead 16-8 in the first 10 minutes. But foul trouble, poor shot selection and rebounding allowed Chattanooga to creep back.
The Mocs fed off a record 11,221 fans, many wearing yellow T-shirts -- who had waited 25 years since their in-state foe last visited McKenzie Arena. The previous record was 11,218, reached against the Vols and Michael Jordan's North Carolina team in the arena's opening season in 1982.