State blasts UT, 82-60

When Tennessee jumped to a 7-2 lead Wednesday night at No. 11 Mississippi State, Vol fans must've been wondering: Could the Big Orange spring a colossal upset?

Nope.   

The homestanding Bulldogs took the lead for good with an 11-0 run, led 39-29 at halftime, then coasted to an 82-60 victory.   

MSU (17-1 overall, 6-1 SEC) put the game away by outscoring UT 22-8 to start the second half, building the bulge to 61-37 with around 10 minutes left. Tommy Bowers opened the spurt with two baskets and Winsome Frazier nailed a pair of 3-pointers during the decisive run.   

State built the lead to 28 points (75-47) on a Lawrence Roberts dunk with around 5:00 left, then cleared its bench.   

''What happened the second half is, we kind of wore down a little bit,'' UT head man Buzz Peterson said on his post-game show.''Roberts was able to post up a little bit, Frazier hit some 3s and we kind of fell apart right then.''   

Roberts, a 6-9 transfer from Baylor, scored 20 points to pace the Bulldogs. Bowers chipped in 18.   

''Roberts is tough to handle,'' Peterson conceded.   

Scooter McFadgon, wearing a padded glove on his injured right hand (a CTscan showed no fracture), scored 20 points to pace the Vols. Jemere Hendrix added a double-double -- 11 points and 14 rebounds.   

Tennessee won the backboards 37-36 but shot a chilly 36 percent from the field with 21 turnovers and just eight assists. The Vols have produced more turnovers than assists in each of their past six games, losing the last four in a row.   

Peterson said the woeful turnover/assist ratio is something he is ''very concerned about,'' adding that ''a lot of it (15 turnovers) was from our guards.... When you give up 35 points off transition you can't even get your defense set.''  

Tennessee faces another top-20 foe Saturday, hosting Florida at 3.  


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