Hefty lefty

Because Tennessee's roster lacks size, the Volunteers routinely face match-up problems against taller teams. Still, the challenge in today's game with Mississippi State may be heft more so than height.

That's because the Bulldogs' Jamont Gordon is a freak of nature. At 6-feet-4 and 225 pounds, he's a perimeter player who is built like a middle linebacker. He also is left-handed, which adds to the challenge. Thus, Gordon could be a handful for JaJuan Smith, the 6-2, 195-pound Vol wing most likely to guard him when the Vols (12-2) and Bulldogs (9-4) tip it up at 4 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Gordon leads the 2006-07 Bulldogs in scoring (15.3 points per game), rebounding (7.6 per game) and assists (4.7 per game). He has led the team in at least one of those categories in every game but two. Some nights he leads the Bulldogs in all three categories.

Smith is no stranger to Gordon, having guarded him quite a bit in last year's game at Starkville, won 88-65 by Tennessee. Only a freshman, Gordon struggled that night – hitting just 5 of 13 from the field and producing 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 turnovers before fouling out after 27 minutes.

Gordon wound up leading the Southeastern Conference in turnovers last season but has added some polish to his game this year. He boasts a positive ratio of assists (61) to turnovers (58) for 2006-07.

"He's going to be one of the better guards we face in the SEC this year," Smith says. "Because of his size, he can do it all. He can post you up, he can play outside, he can rebound. He's got all the tools a guard needs."

One of the SEC's most consistent scorers, Gordon posted 15 consecutive double-digit outings between February of last season and November of this season. After scoring just 9 points against Clemson, he put together a string of 10 double-digit performances prior to hitting just 3 of 13 shots en route to 8 points in a recent loss to George Mason. He bounced back the next game to hit 6 of 10 shots in a 15-point performance against Missouri.


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