Dec. 1, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Chris Lofton scored 20 points, Wayne Chism added 13 and Tennessee beat Murray State 89-64 on Friday.
Lofton made his first four attempts - all 3-pointers - in the first half when the Volunteers (6-2) led by as many as 18.
The Racers (2-6) opened the second half with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 42-35, but Tennessee followed with a 15-0 run started on a basket by Duke Crews. Chism's dunk gave the Vols a 57-35 lead with 15:05 remaining.
Murray State couldn't keep up afterward.
Lofton cooled off and finished 5-of-9 from the floor and 4-of-7 beyond the arc.
Murray State, playing with almost a completely different team than a year ago, often looked out of sync.
The Racers have 10 new players, including six freshmen, with first-year coach Billy Kennedy. The reigning Ohio Valley Conference tournament champions lost 69-65 in first round of NCAA tournament to North Carolina last year.
Kennedy was whistled for a technical foul in the second half after disagreeing with the referees' offensive foul call against the Racers. Lofton's two free throws increased Tennessee's lead to 73-47 with 7:59 to go.
Tennessee built two large leads in the first half and went into halftime ahead 42-28.
The Vols were up 19-4 in the early minutes, but the Racers responded with an 11-0 run keyed by two baskets by Bruce Carter. Tennessee answered with a 12-0 run capped by Crews' dunk that made it 31-15 with 6:40 left before halftime.
Tyler Holloway, Kevin Thomas and Marvin Williams led Murray State with nine points each.
Tennessee's Jordan Howell was playing his second game as the starting point guard, taking over for freshman Ramar Smith. Coach Bruce Pearl made the move after the Vols lost to Butler and North Carolina in the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York last week.