Hot Carr is Vol concern

Tennessee's Chris Lofton will take the court in the NCAA East Regional today as the third-most prolific 3-point shooter in NCAA history. With 426 career treys, he trails only Duke's J.J. Redick (457) and St. Peter's Keydren Clark (435).

Still, Lofton won't be the hottest 3-point shooter on the floor.

That distinction falls to American University's Garrison Carr. Incredibly, Carr has attempted exactly the same number of 3s this season (284) as Lofton, but has made more (129 to 113) and hit a better percentage (45.4 to 39.8) than the Vols' long-range bomber.

If the 15th-seeded Eagles (21-11) are to give the second-seeded Vols (29-4) a good game, they probably will need a big outing from Carr, who also is averaging more points per game (18.1 to 16.1) than Lofton is this season. Carr had a season-high 32-point performance at Lafayette and a 30-point effort at Bucknell.

Carr isn't the only Eagle who excels from beyond the arc, though. Derrick Mercer has drained 35 of 80 (43.8 percent) and Bryce Simon has connected on 43 of 115 (37.4 percent). Lofton isn't the only Vol who excels from beyond the arc, either. JaJuan Smith has made 86 of 224 attempts (38.4 percent)

Although Tennessee shoots a solid 36.2 percent from 3 as a team, the Vols are not nearly as efficient as the Eagles, who check in at a sizzling 40.9.

"They shoot better than 40 percent," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl notes. "They're one of the top five 3-point shooting teams in the country. They make over eight 3s a game. They have great guard play and they spread you out."

Still, the Eagles struggled mightily in November, December and January – going just 11-10 and suffering a 27-point beat-down (78-51) at the hands of Georgetown. They have rallied since then, however, winning 10 of their last 11 heading into today's 11:15 CDT tipoff vs. the Vols.

Pearl, who can flatter an opponent with the best of them, notes that American's 21 victories include a 67-59 road win against Maryland of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Terrapin head man Gary Williams learned his uptempo style of play as an aide to the legendary Dr. Tom Davis, just as Pearl did.

"This team (American) beat a Maryland team whose system is very similar to my system," Pearl says. "Gary Williams is in my coaching family."

Like Williams, American head man Jeff Jones has ties to the ACC. He oversaw the University of Virginia program from 1990-91 to 1998-99.

"Jeff Jones, a former coach at Virginia, does a terrific job," Pearl says. "He was known as a great X-and-O guy when he was in the ACC. He's got these guys doing things, particularly offensively."

MORE FROM THE LOFTON LOG

Lofton's second 3-point attempt today will be the 1,000th of his career. He currently stands 426 of 998. With a 42.7 career percentage, the sharpshooting senior is on pace to break Allan Houston's career record (42.4) in that category.

Lofton needs just two points today to pass Reggie Johnson (2,103) for fourth place on Tennessee's all-time scoring list.

Lofton must score 118 points to pass Tony White (2,219) for third place on the all-time list. That essentially would mean averaging 30 points per game through the Elite Eight (four games) or averaging 20 points per game through the Final Four championship game (six games).


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