Finally: Vols Beat Buckeyes 74-69

January 19, 2008

KNOXVILLE (AP) -- Tyler Smith made two free throws with 11 seconds left and Tennessee (No 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) got some small revenge for its NCAA Tournament loss to Ohio State last season with a 74-69 victory on Saturday.

JaJuan Smith scored 15 points, Chris Lofton added 13 and Tyler Smith and Ramar Smith both had 12, helping the Vols (16-1) to only their second 16-1 start ever. Tyler Smith grabbed 7 rebounds.

Before Evan Turner's foul sent Tyler Smith to the line, Jon Diebler missed two 3-point shots that would have tied the game, with Tyler Smith rebounding the second. Jamar Butler and Kosta Koufos both missed shots after Smith's foul shots.

The Buckeyes (12-6) led 46-39 on a jumper by Othello Hunter with 15:55 left, capping a 16-6 Ohio State run. But Ohio State went cold as Tennessee took off on a 27-6 run.

Ohio State again chipped away at Tennessee's lead, knocking it down to 72-69 with 1:57 to go on a layup by Hunter.

Turner had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Buckeyes, while Hunter had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Koufos added 13 points and David Lighty had 10 points.

The teams traded baskets early, but Tennessee took off with a 10-2 run that ended on a 3-pointer by Lofton that put the Vols up 16-6 with 13 minutes left in the first half.

Tennessee's shooting cooled for about 3 minutes while Ohio State used free throws to trim the lead. Turner's made it 27-26 with 2:34 left in the half before Tennessee bolstered its lead late.

It was the teams' third meeting in just over a year. Ohio State eliminated Tennessee in the NCAA regional semifinals in San Antonio, 85-84, after beating the Vols 68-66 in Columbus in the regular season.

Tennessee's bench outscored Ohio State's 26-0. The Buckeyes struggled to control the ball, and the Vols scored 20 points off turnovers compared to Ohio State's five.

Ohio State shot only 30.8 percent in the first half and missed all seven 3-point attempts. The Buckeyes hit 48.6 percent in the second half, but went only 2-for-13 from behind the arc.

Tennessee struggled with free throws, making only 47.1 percent, but went 8-for-23 from 3-point range.

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