Vols vanquish Siena, 78-64

When Tennessee's Tyler Smith went to the bench with two quick fouls in today's Old Spice Classic opener against Siena, you figured the momentum might shift.

You just didn't figure it would be in the Vols' favor.

Two minutes after Smith took a seat, his teammates took off on an 18-0 run that turned a 17-15 lead into a 35-15 bulge. The Big Orange (4-0) coasted home from there, winning 78-64 to earn the berth opposite Georgetown in Friday's semifinal game. Tipoff for that one is 1 o'clock.

Smith scored Tennessee's first six points vs. Siena and appeared primed for a huge night before trudging to the bench with two fouls at the 13:20 mark of the first half. He would not be missed, however.

Tennessee's 18-0 explosion began with freshmen Scotty Hopson and Orlando Woolridge sandwiching 3-pointers around a traditional three-point play by Bobby Maze.

After Brian Williams scored on a follow dunk, Woolridge nailed another 3. Cameron Tatum then closed the eruption by stealing the ball and feeding J.P. Prince, then scoring himself off a Steven Pearl steal. The lead was still 20 at the break (47-27).

"It was an unbelievable first half," UT coach Bruce Pearl said on his post-game show. "We had great, great preparation, and they (Vols) really paid close attention to detail."

The Saints, coming off a 23-win season last winter that ended in the NCAA Sweet 16, were not inclined to go quietly.

"You just KNEW they were going to come out and hit us in the mouth," Pearl said.

He was right. Siena opened the second half with an 11-0 run that narrowed the gap to 47-38 with 16:20 remaining. The lead was still nine points (50-41) when Tennessee put together its second explosion, and this one removed all doubt about the outcome.

After a free throw by Tatum, Wayne Chism drained a 3 from the left wing. Following a Siena free throw, Prince made two free throws, then scored on a follow shot with an and-one. Chism swished a pair of foul shots, then dunked off a laser-like 50-foot pass from Maze to complete a 13-1 burst that widened the gap to 63-42 with 8:46 to go.

Tennessee shot 50 percent (29 of 58) from the floor and 42.8 percent (6 of 14) from 3. The Vols had fewer rebounds (40-39) and more turnovers (19 to 19) but limited Siena to 36.9 percent shooting from the floor and a frigid 6.7 percent (1 of 15) from beyond the arc.

"I thought our guys really stepped up," Pearl said. "I thought we built a real wall defensively. Offensively, we established some things with Wayne and Brian. Tyler played very, very well early in the game."

Chism led the way with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Woolridge added 14 points and 6 boards. Smith chipped in 14 points and Prince 11.

"J.P. was quiet with his 11 points, 3 assists and no turnovers with a bad ankle," Pearl said.

Alex Franklin led Siena (2-1) with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Edwin Ubiles added 14 points, while Ryan Rossiter chipped in 12 and 14 rebounds. Ken Hasbrouck made just 1 of 10 shots and finished with 6 points, 15 off his average.

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