Feb. 23, 2005
By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Chris Lofton scored a career-high 25 points and Brandon Crump added 22, including four key free throws down the stretch, as Tennessee held on to beat South Carolina 80-72 Wednesday night.
The Volunteers (12-14, 5-8 Southeastern Conference) got a much-needed victory to help embattled coach Buzz Peterson although it was only their second win in the last nine games. And they had to work hard for it at the end.
South Carolina (14-10, 6-7) came out flat and was trailing by 10 just four minutes into the game and as many as 26 in the first half.
The Gamecocks made a run in the second half to cut it to 11, but Lofton hit three 3-pointers during a three-minute span to put Tennessee back up by 15 with 6:11 to go.
The Vols went cold, and South Carolina had a 12-0 run that included two baskets apiece by Josh Gonner and Antoine Tisby and cut it to 75-72 with 59.3 seconds left.
Tennessee didn't score again until Crump made a pair of free throws with 36.2 remaining and two more in the final seconds while the Gamecocks couldn't score again.
Lofton was 7-of-13 from long range, and Crump had 10 rebounds and was 5-of-5 from the foul line. Andre Patterson added 10 points.
Tisby led South Carolina with 18 points. Carlos Powell and Gonner had 15 points each and Stephen McDowell added 10.
Tennessee won despite the absence of leading-scorer Scooter McFadgon for the second straight game because of a bruised right kneecap.
South Carolina dropped to 1-6 on the road in the SEC.
Tennessee led 51-28 at halftime and was ahead 18-2 with 14:18 left in the first half. South Carolina coach Dave Odom yanked all five starters and put in reserves a little over five minutes into the game.
The Vols had only four turnovers in the first half but 12 after halftime.