Jan. 11, 2006
The Volunteers led the entire second half and gave coach Bruce Pearl a victory in his first Southeastern Conference home game.
The Bulldogs (10-5, 0-2) went without a field goal over 5 of the last 6 minutes as Tennessee continued to build its lead and put it out of reach.
Watson scored 13 points in the first half and finished with five steals. Lofton, who came into the game averaging an SEC-best four 3-pointers a game, didn't make one until 9:08 remaining. Smith made up for it with four 3s of his own.
Tennessee surged ahead several times only to be answered by the scrappy Bulldogs. On the last time, Georgia cut it to nine with 5:45 to go on Sundiata Gaines' pair of free throws. Tennessee answered with a basket by Patterson and a 3 by Smith that came after Lofton stole the ball and passed it to the open player.
After a time-out, the Vols continued a 9-1 run that sealed it.
That run and an announcement from police about a wreck blocking the interstate sent many of the crowd of 21,612 to the exits.
Gaines led Georgia with 17 points. Mike Mercer and Channing Toney each scored 15. Leading scorer Levi Stukes was in foul trouble most of the game and was held to eight points. He was averaging 12.4 points a game.
The Bulldogs had trimmed the lead to four with 10:47 left after Terrance Woodbury's three-point play, but the Vols responded with a 13-4 run that helped put the game away.
Stanley Asumnu scored twice in the spurt, and Lofton hit his first 3-pointer of the game and followed it with another one to end the run and give Tennessee a 72-59 lead with 8:22 left.
The Vols went into halftime leading 40-36. Georgia cut it to two after Mercer's 3-pointer at the beginning of the second half, but Tennessee stretched it a few minutes later to six.
Dane Bradshaw threw a long pass to Wingate, who jumped out of bounds to save it and tip it to Smith on the wing. Smith drained a 3 with 17:04 remaining, and Georgia coach Dennis Felton called timeout..
The Vols got two more baskets around one free throw by Georgia to increase the lead to 53-44.
The teams traded the lead several times in the first half. The Bulldogs took their last lead at 36-35 with 2:18 left on Mercer's 3. Patterson scored the final five points of the first half to put the Vols ahead again.