Dane does the job

He may be college basketball's smallest power forward but that didn't stop Dane Bradshaw from delivering a solid performance in Tennessee's 86-78 exhibition defeat of Southern Indiana last Thursday night.

After serving as the Vols' backup point guard last year, the 6-foot-4 junior must adjust to playing 15 feet closer to the basket and among taller guys this year. He suffered some growing pains offensively Thursday night – sinking just two of 10 floor shots – but he provided solid contributions in other areas.

Bradshaw sank three of four free throws, pulled down three rebounds, dished out two assists, recorded a game-high four steals and committed just one turnover in 28 minutes of action. He also took a couple of late charges that sparked the Vols' winning rally and earned praise from head coach Bruce Pearl.

"Those plays where we jump in and take charges are huge plays," Pearl said. "I thought there were a couple more (charges) to tell the truth. I thought they ran him over pretty good several times. Those were big, big plays. There's nothing like taking a charge to turn the momentum."

Although pleased with Bradshaw's willingness to be flattened, Pearl said part of the credit for the charging calls must go to his fellow guards. Last year, whenever an opponent had a breakaway opportunity, Tennessee's players routinely conceded the basket. Thursday night, however, the Vols gave chase at full speed, occasionally forcing the USI player to get out of control enough and charge.

"Southern Indiana chose to attack the pressure," Pearl noted, "and C.J. (Watson), Stanley (Asumnu), Chris (Lofton) and JaJuan (Smith) were coming from behind so well that we forced them into 27 turnovers."

Although 6-7 senior Andre Patterson should be available for Friday's exhibition finale against Carson-Newman, Bradshaw will continue to play some at power forward.

"I think he's got to keep playing the 4; I really do," Pearl said. "The frontline's where you're most likely to get in foul trouble, so I need his minutes there."

Unless sophomore guard Jordan Howell works his way into the playing rotation, the versatile Bradshaw will continue to get a few minutes of action each game in the Vol backcourt, as well. Howell did not see action vs. USI.

"We're OK in the backcourt," Pearl said. "You've got C.J., Dane, JaJuan, Chris and Stanley. That's five guys playing three positions. That's not as deep as I'd like but still OK."

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