Half-decent in halfcourt

Although Tennessee's basketball team is getting a little more production from its transition offense lately, the Vols have lost six of their last seven games. That's because their halfcourt offense is stalling in the clutch.

In the final minutes, when tired legs make fastbreak buckets hard to come by, most games are won by the team that executes best in its halfcourt offense. Tennessee did an excellent job of this in its Feb. 5 game with LSU, outscoring the Tigers 15-0 down the stretch to turn a 62-55 lead into a 77-55 victory. Conversely, the Vols did a lousy job with their halfcourt offense last Saturday against Florida, being outscored 20-8 in the closing minutes as the Gators turned a 65-64 deficit into an 84-73 triumph.

If the Vols are to get back on the right track Saturday at Ole Miss (5 p.m. EST tipoff on Fox Sports), they must get back to operating successfully in their halfcourt sets.

''Most every game comes down to halfcourt,'' Vol head man Buzz Peterson conceded this week. ''You've GOT to be able to execute in halfcourt. That's where we've got to get ourselves back. I'm glad we've got this (open-date) week, so we can get to where we're performing and executing in our halfcourt sets in late-game situations.''

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