Lofton’s jumper gives Tennessee victory over Winthrop
Greensboro, NC (Sports Network) – Chris Lofton scored 12 points, including the
game-winning jumper with 0.4 seconds left, as Tennessee survived a scare
from Winthrop, earning a 63-61 triumph in first-round action in the Washington
bracket of the NCAA Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum.
Major Wingate scored a game-high 15 points and grabbed six rebounds, while
Andre Patterson added 12 points and snatched 11 rebounds for the second-
seeded Volunteers (22-7), who advanced to Saturday’s second round to meet No.
7 seed Wichita State.
Torrell Martin totaled 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, while Craig
Bradshaw chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds and Chris Gaynor and James
Shuler both tallied 10 points for No. 15 seed Winthrop (23-8), who entered
the contest with nine wins in their last 10 games, including the Big
With under 15 seconds to play, Tennessee had possession and C.J. Watson missed
from beyond the arc. The Volunteers, though, recovered the loose ball and
called timeout with 2.9 seconds left.
Lofton took the inbounds pass in the right corner and fired an off-balanced
jumper that dropped for the game-winner.
“Coach just called a simple play that he made-up within 30 seconds,” Lofton
said. “We executed it perfectly. I got open and knocked the shot down.”
Bradshaw missed a shot at the end that would have tied the game.
“I don’t know exactly what the rule is, but I thought that the ball went off
of the backboard, and then it bounced, and then it scrambled around,”
Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl said. “I’m thinking, ‘What was it, point nine
(seconds remaining)?’ It seemed like a lifetime.”
Trailing 18-17 midway through the first half, the Volunteers went on a 7-0 run
as Patterson and Wingate had back-to-back buckets and Lofton drained a three-
pointer to put Tennessee ahead, 24-18. The Volunteers took a 36-34 lead into
halftime as Lofton and Patterson both tallied 10 points in the opening stanza.
The Eagles trailed by two heading into the second half, but were able to take
the lead, 46-45, early in the half as Gaynor got free underneath for a layup.
The game continued in this fashion right up through the final minute. The
teams exchanged the lead several times down the stretch until Lofton’s
dramatic shot won the game for Tennessee.
“We were a 15 seed and whoever we were going to be matched up with was going
to be a good team,” Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall said. “We thought we
should be a little better, we weren’t, and now we’re three points away from
being able to talk about that.”
This marks the second meeting between the two teams, Tennessee won the only
previous contest…The No.2 seed is the highest ever for Tennessee in the NCAA
Tournament…It is the Volunteers first appearance in the tournament since
2001…Winthrop was in the tournament for the sixth time in the last eight