Lofton, Vols rout Long Beach State
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) – Chris Lofton dropped in 25 points as Tennessee
easily defeated Long Beach State, 121-86, in the first round of the South
Region of the NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena.
JaJuan Smith added 24 points and six rebounds for the fifth-seeded Volunteers
(23-10), who will play the fourth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday.
Ramar Smith contributed 22 points and dished out six assists in the victory
for Tennessee, which shot a sizzling 58.9 percent from the field.
The Vols were also an impressive 14-of-27 from beyond the arc. The 14 made
three-pointers set a new school record.
Kejuan Johnson netted 24 points for the 12th-seeded 49ers (24-8), who captured
the Big West Conference Tournament title for the first time since 1995 and
earned an automatic bid to the Big Dance.
Aaron Nixon scored 23 points, grabbed five boards and handed out four assists
Leading by six points early, the Volunteers went on a 10-0 dash to extend
their lead to 26-10 with about 13 minutes to play in the opening half. Lofton
donated seven points during the stretch including a deep three-pointer.
Long Beach State managed to cut the deficit to 10 points, but still trailed
57-45 at the break.
Lofton had 12 points at halftime on 5-of-6 shooting from the field for the
Johnson paced the 49ers with 12 first-half points.
Tennessee opened the second stanza on a 16-2 run to increase its lead to
73-47. Lofton jump started the stretch with a three-pointer and had seven
points total during the run.
The Volunteers’ lead ballooned to 28 points at 90-62 about midway through the
second half, after Lofton hit three shots from the charity stripe after being
fouled on a three-point attempt.
Tennessee continued to cruise the rest of the way as Long Beach State did not
come close to threatening.
This marked the first-ever meeting between the schools on the
hardwood…This was the most points ever scored in the tournament by the
Volunteers in school history…Tennessee improved to 10-15 all-time in the
NCAA Tournament…The 49ers shot 49.2 percent from the field…Long Beach
State dropped to 7-9 all-time in the tournament.