Press pays dividends

The fullcourt pressure utilized by new Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl has two benefits: It forces turnovers and it forces fatigue.

The latter was clearly in evidence as the Vols hung 59 second-half points on Carson-Newman in last Friday's 106-73 exhibition romp. Still, Pearl wants to keep that in perspective.

"I don't know how much of that was just Carson-Newman being fatigued," he said. "That's why having eight men (now that Andre Patterson has rejoined the team) is so important."

Pearl traced the Eagles' fatigue to "a combination of the press, running the fast break and covering our offense when there's a lot of movement. They got to the point where they just couldn't go anymore."

Actually, Tennessee could've scored more than 59 points in the second half if Pearl hadn't shown some mercy on his fatigued foe.

"I took the press off with 16 or 17 minutes to go but we obviously still scored very well the second half," he said. "It just takes its toll."

Although Pearl was happy that guards C.J. Watson (27 points) and Chris Lofton (26) combined for 53 points in the first exhibition against Southern Indiana, he was even happier when they combined for just 28 in the second.

"C.J. and Chris had to take the game over against Southern Indiana for us to win," the coach noted. "Obviously, everything came within the flow (in Game 2 vs. Carson-Newman). I'm glad our guards got everybody involved."

After committing seven turnovers in Game 1, Watson was guilty of zero in Game 2. He finished with 15 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal. Still, Pearl says the best is yet to come.

"I think C.J. will turn it up when he has to," the coach said. "I think he had it a little bit on cruise control (vs. the Eagles)."


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