JaJuan keeps shooting

If at first you don't succeed ... well, just keep shooting.

That was JaJuan Smith's motto during his career as a Tennessee Vol and it's still serving him well. After a horrendous start in Monday night's Rocky Top League action at Bearden High Gym, Smith found his stroke just in time to give The News-Sentinel a dramatic victory.

First Tennessee Bank, which led 71-55 at halftime, seemed to have the game in hand with a 127-119 lead entering the final two minutes. Incoming UT freshman Skylar McBee and Vol sophomore Scotty Hopson drained back-to-back 3s, however, narrowing the gap to 127-125.

Moments later, with First Tennessee up 129-127, JaJuan Smith was intentionally fouled on a drive to the basket. The ex-Vol drained both free throws to tie the score with 27.7 seconds left, then nailed a spectacular fallaway 3-pointer from the right baseline with 2.6 seconds remaining to win the game.

Hopson led The News-Sentinel with 41 points. Smith added 22. Vol junior Brian Williams chipped in 21 and McBee 19. McBee continues to impress with his long-range bombing, sinking 5 of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Vol sophomore Emmanuel Negedu was brilliant in defeat, scoring 38 points on an assortment of putbacks, drives and dunks. He even made three 3-pointers. Former Vol Rashard Lee added 33.

In other action involving UT players:

Vol senior Wayne Chism scored 28 points to propel HT Group to a 125-118 defeat of Choice Spine. Vol sophomore Cameron Tatum hit 35 for the losers.

Incoming Vol freshman Kenny Hall produced 24 points, including the game-winning free throws with 14.4 seconds left, as Ray's ESG nipped Richardson Construction 120-118. Former Vol C.J. Watson, now with the NBA's Golden State Warriors, led Ray's with 28 points. Ex-Vol Jon Higgins chipped in 14. Vol seniors Tyler Smith (22 points) and Josh Tabb (20) carried the scoring load for Richardson, along with ex-Vol Damon Johnson (20).

The Rocky Top League's regular season concludes Wednesday night. The third-place game and title game will be played on Thursday evening.

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