Lauding Lofton

Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl doesn't know if there is a National Player of the Week award for college basketball or not. But, if there is one, he knows who should get it.

"If there was a National Player of the Week award, I can't imagine anybody in the country getting it over Chris Lofton," Pearl said at Monday's weekly news conference. "What he did was pretty special."

You could say that. Lofton hit 11 of 18 shots (7 of 10 from 3-point range) and totalled 31 points in a win at Kentucky last Tuesday, then topped that by hitting 10 of 14 (9 of 12 from 3-point range) and totalling 33 points in a win at Georgia on Saturday.

What he did was remarkable. HOW he did it was downright amazing.

"Half of the shots he made there was a hand in his face," Pearl noted. "That is tremendously uplifting to his teammates and, I would imagine, just as deflating to the opponent."

Lofton's two-game stats for last week include 21 of 32 from the field (65.6 percent), 16 of 22 from beyond the arc (72.7 percent), 6 of 6 from the free throw line (100 percent), 64 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.

The spectacular showing has given him the team lead in scoring (17.2 points per game) but it hasn't given him the big head. He's as low-key and modest as ever.

"We sure do appreciate him and especially the way he is about it," Pearl said. "It's no big deal to Chris. He's just doing what's necessary, what's required of him. He probably doesn't look at his making shots as any more significant to the outcome of a game than Andre Patterson playing great defense or C.J. and Dane handling the ball.

"You just have to appreciate how humble he is and what a special kid he is."


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