Lofton continues torrid shooting

Eight players in the SEC are shooting over 50 percent from the field. All of them are basically inside players except for one – Chris Lofton of Tennessee. What Lofton is doing is not only eye-popping, it makes him a leading candidate for SEC Player of the Year.

Chris Lofton is averaging 22.2 points per game. Second is LSU's Glen Davis at 19.6 points. No one else is averaging as many as 18 points.

Lofton leads the league in 3-pointers made per game (3.67), well ahead of Georgia's Levi Stukes at 2.62. Third is UT's JuJuan Smith (2.60).

Lofton is shooting 45.8 percent from beyond the arc and 82.4 percent at the foul line to rank second in the SEC.

Why has Tennessee been able to rally from behind to win four games in its nine-game winning streak?

``No. 5,'' said coach Bruce Pearl.

As a shooter, it helps to have the green light. Lofton is such a great shooter, even when contested, it's hard to define when he's taking a bad shoot.

When he was 30 feet from the basket against Texas, his jumper appeared to be ill-advised – until it went in.

``I don't know if I've taken a bad shot this year,'' Lofton said.

That's hard to believe, considering he's pulled the trigger an SEC-high 206 times, with 120 coming from long distance.

Lofton admits: ``I take some bad shots.''

When is the last time Pearl complained about Lofton's shot selection?

``I don't remember,'' Lofton said. ``Not this year.''

Lofton added: ``It does help to have that freedom to shoot, but if I take a bad shot, he'll let me know.''

Thus far, the silence has been golden.

WHY SCHEDULE BUCKEYES?

Tennessee continues its brutal non-SEC schedule with a game at No. 5 Ohio State, which is 13-3, but 0-3 against ranked opponents.

Pearl said he schedule the game for four reasons: 1. Major Wingate, and 2-3-4, C-B-S. Wingate is gone, but the game will be televised at 1 p.m.

Pearl said Buckeyes center Greg Oden will be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft and that Ohio State has one or two other NBA players.

TENNESSEE BREAKS EVEN AT OUTBACK

Tennessee will basically break even after its trip to the Outback Bowl in Tampa to play Penn State.

The Outback pays $3 million per team, but the SEC team gets penalized $350,000 because its game overlaps the Cotton Bowl, which also features an SEC team, according to Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton. So, UT's overall take was $2.65 million.

UT's director payout was $1.04 million, plus travel, which brought the total to about $1.2 million. UT also gets an SEC share of 1-13th of the remaining revenues, which is about $123,000.

Hamilton said UT will break even, plus or minus $25,000.

VOLS GET 5 TO ENROLL AT MID-TERM

Tennessee has five signees who are mid-term enrollees.

They include offensive lineman Darius Sawtelle, defensive tackle Donald Langley, receiver Todd Campbell, athlete Art Evans and offensive lineman Cody Pope, a 2006 signee who was initially denied admission for academic reasons.

Tennessee is scheduled to have 18 visitors this weekend, including seven who have committed: Chris Donald, Deshaun Barnes, Kevin Cooper, Josh Hawkins, Rufus Williams, Anthony Anderson and Eric Berry. .

UT AMONG 4 RANKED IN FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL

Tennessee is one of only four schools to have its football and men's and women's basketball teams ranked in the top 25 of the AP poll.

The football team finished No. 25. The Vols' basketball team is No. 16 and the Lady Vols are No. 4.

Ohio State, Texas and LSU are the other three.

Ohio State's football finished No. 2. The men's basketball team is No. 5 while the women are No. 6.

LSU's football team finished No. 3. The Tigers' basketball team is No. 13 and the Lady Tigers are No. 5.

Texas was No. 13 in football and is No. 25 in men's hoops and No. 23 in women's basketball.


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