Chism slams Dores

Nearly 21,000 fans showed up at Thompson-Boling Arena Thursday night to watch one of the best young big men in college basketball.

They wound up getting two for the price of one.

Six-foot-10 Vanderbilt freshman A.J. Ogilvy got the pre-game buildup but it was 6-foot-9 Tennessee sophomore Wayne Chism who got the best of the matchup in guiding the Vols to an 80-60 triumph.

Chism heard all week how Ogilvy was a budding star … how he was averaging 19.4 points per game … how he was shooting 63.9 percent from the field … how he was going to be a tough cover for Tennessee. Of course, a lot of this hype came from UT coach Bruce Pearl, who seemed intent on pushing his player's buttons.

Mission accomplished. Showing much more intensity than normal, Chism posted 18 points and 18 rebounds (most by a Vol since 1996), along with 4 blocks. He clearly outplayed Ogilvy, who finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 turnovers.

"Ogilvy was a huge key tonight," Pearl said. "We keyed on him with our defense, with our ball pressure and with Wayne Chism."

Pearl said on an SEC teleconference earlier this week that Ogilvy was the best big man in the league. Even after outperforming the Commodore rookie, Chism was inclined to agree.

"Oh, he is," Chism said. "I cannot take that away from the big guy. Somebody averaging 19 points … he's pretty good."

Vol guard Ramar Smith thought the big buildup for Ogilvy gave all of the Vols a little extra incentive.

"They had him (profiled) in our school paper," Smith said, referring to The Daily Beacon. "We was reading about him this morning. He's a great player but Wayne showed he's a better player, all-around."

Asked if he was motivated by the hype surrounding Ogilvy, Chism smiled.

"I can say that, too," he said. "But I'm glad my guards did a good job of ball pressure. They kept a lot of (entry) passes from getting in."

After being plagued by fouls in last Saturday's game at South Carolina, Chism played a foul-free first half Thursday night, despite blocking two shots during that time.

"Wayne's ability to play the first half without getting in any kind of foul trouble demonstrated that he really is one of the better defensive big men in the country," Pearl said. "For a man his size he moves his feet very, very well. He was just able to beat Ogilvy to the spots."

Not always. Ogilvy got the ball on the block on three consecutive second-half possessions, drawing three fouls on Chism in a span of just 67 seconds.

"Once Ogilvy got the ball he was very effective," Pearl noted, "but we kind of wore him out trying to get the ball."

In addition to stellar defense, Chism played a good game offensively. The Vol sophomore sank 8 of 13 floor shots, including two of four from beyond the 3-point arc. Fans typically groan whenever he unloads from outside but the big guy has Pearl's blessing to bomb from long range.

"I know there are times when he squares up to take that shot and the home crowd goes 'Nooooo … yes!'" Pearl said. "But we wouldn't let him shoot that thing unless he had demonstrated to us in practice that he's capable of that shot. It changes the way the opponent has to guard us when your center can make that shot."

Chism said the 18 rebounds represent a career high, noting that his best outing back at Bolivar Central High School was 16.

Rebounding had been a weak point in Chism's game previously, prompting Pearl to deadpan: "I think Wayne Chism had more rebounds tonight than he did in December."

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