Volunteers win after Cavaliers come up short

Tennessee gets second shot at Ohio State

South Regional

Tennessee 77 Virginia 74

Ncaa Tournament

March 19, 2007|By Terry Bannon | Terry Bannon,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As a last-second three-point shot by Virginia's Sean Singletary arched toward the basket, one thought went through the mind of Tennessee guard Dane Bradshaw.

"Why has he not been fouled?" Bradshaw wondered.

The Volunteers failed to bump Singletary, which would have left him with two free throws when the Cavaliers needed three points to force overtime. But his shot rimmed out anyway, allowing Tennessee to hold on for a 77-74 victory in an NCAA South Regional second-round game yesterday at Nationwide Arena.

"It felt good," Singletary said. "I had a head of steam, I got a pick, but I missed."

And so the No. 5-seeded Volunteers (24-10) get another meeting with Big Ten champion Ohio State, the region's No. 1 seed, in Thursday's regional semifinal in San Antonio. The Buckeyes rallied to beat the Vols, 68-66, at Ohio State's Value City Arena on Jan. 13.

Tennessee reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000 in just its second season under coach Bruce Pearl, who led Wisconsin-Milwaukee to the regional semifinals in 2005 before moving to Knoxville.

The Volunteers fell behind 36-25 in the first half and took a 54-44 lead before the No. 4-seeded Cavaliers (21-11) started chipping away.

In the final 1:20, Tennessee made its last nine free throws to put the game away. The last six were made by Chris Lofton, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year who finished with 20 points. Guard JaJuan Smith added 16, 13 in the second half.

After two Lofton free throws made it 75-72 with 10.2 seconds remaining, Smith bumped Singletary with 6.3 seconds left before he could get off a potentially game-tying three-point shot. Singletary made both free throws to finish with 19 points and make the score 75-74. Lofton made two more free throws with 5.9 seconds left, setting up the final shot that Singletary missed.

The Cavaliers' chances to win were severely damaged late in the first half when guard J.R. Reynolds rolled his ankle after scoring 22 points in the first 16 minutes, making six of eight shots.

"I was driving the ball and stepped on one of their players' feet," said Reynolds, who missed all five of his three-pointers after the injury and finished with 26 points.

The injury also slowed Reynolds on defense, but Virginia coach Dave Leitao pointed to other factors.

"It slowed us down a little bit," he said, "but the baskets that hurt us were more interior when they got up on us."

Terry Bannon writes for the Chicago Tribune.

TENNESSEE-Chism 3-5 5-9 13, Bradshaw 1-5 0-2 3, J.Smith 6-13 1-1 16, Lofton 4-16 9-10 20, R.Smith 1-4 5-8 7, Howell 0-1 0-0 0, Tabb 1-2 0-0 2, Crews 3-4 0-0 6, Childress 3-4 2-2 10. Totals 22-54 22-32 77. VIRGINIA-Diane 0-4 0-0 0, Cain 0-1 9-10 9, Soroye 0-2 2-2 2, Reynolds 8-16 6-6 26, Singletary 4-14 10-12 19, Harris 0-0 0-0 0, Mikalauskas 0-0 3-4 3, Tucker 1-2 0-0 3, Joseph 4-7 1-2 10, Pettinella 0-0 0-0 0, Tat 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-48 31-36 74. Halftime-Virginia, 38-35. 3-point goals-Tennessee 11-26 (J.Smith 3-7, Lofton 3-9, Childress 2-2, Chism 2-2, Bradshaw 1-2, Howell 0-1, Tabb 0-1, R.Smith 0-2), Virginia 7-26 (Reynolds 4-11, Tucker 1-1, Joseph 1-3, Singletary 1-7, Diane 0-4). Fouled out-Chism, R.Smith. Rebounds-Tennessee 39 (Childress 8), Virginia 29 (Singletary 6). Assists-Tennessee 12 (Bradshaw 5), Virginia 5 (Singletary 5). Total fouls-Tennessee 25, Virginia 26. A-NA.

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