UT KOs A&T, 99-78

North Carolina A&T's initials do not stand for Anxiety and Turnovers. It just seemed that way Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Aggies - apparently operating under the notion that the shot clock was set for 15 seconds instead of 35 - played so hurriedly that they went 0-5 from the field, 0-2 from the foul line and committed 12 turnovers in the first six minutes. The result was a 22-0 Tennessee lead that the 16th-ranked Vols parlayed into an easy 99-78 victory.

The bulge peaked at 32 points (55-23) in the first half and at 36 points (93-57) in the second. A&T, now 4-8, outscored Tennessee reserves 21-6 over the final six minutes to make the final score somewhat respectable.

Basically, the Vols (9-2) won by forcing a program-record 34 turnovers, including 23 in the first half.

"Obviously, our defense was turning them over," head coach Bruce Pearl said. "Thirty-four is a lot of turnovers ... most in school history. The 21 steals was just one shy of being (the most in) school history. And the 26 assists showed we made the extra pass."

The other positives were as follows:

- Tennessee outrebounded the Aggies 50-43, after being outrebounded 43-21 by Southern Cal last time out.

- Senior All-American Tyler Smith, who scored just 20 points in the previous three games combined, showed up long enough to register team highs in points (16) and steals (4) in just 20 minutes.

- Freshman Kenny Hall hit six baskets - all dunks - and matched Smith's point total in a mere 13 minutes.

- Freshman Skylar McBee broke out of an 0-for-6 slump from 3-point range by hitting his first three tries. He finished 4 of 7 overall and 3 of 6 from behind the arc en route to a 12-point, 3-steal effort in 17 strong minutes.

- Brian Williams came off the bench to grab a game-high 11 rebounds (7 off the offensive glass) in 22 minutes.

- Sophomore wing Scotty Hopson produced 10 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a blocked shot in 17 solid minutes.

- Sophomore forward Renaldo Woolridge almost notched a double-double in 17 relief minutes, finishing with 9 points and 8 rebounds.

Now for the negatives ...

- First-team post Wayne Chism, clearly hampered by a bruised pelvis, produced just 3 points and 3 rebounds in 8 first-half minutes. He did not play in the second half.

- Tennessee committed a season-high 23 turnovers, prompting Pearl to label the performance "sloppy." Williams had 5 turnovers and Smith 4.

- With Bobby Maze slowed by a flu virus, Melvin Goins started at point guard. Goins went 0-3 from the field and finished with more turnovers (3) than assists (2). Maze was 1 of 7 from the field but posted a nice ratio of assists (5) to turnovers (0).

- The Vols went 0 for 13 from 3 in the second half and finished 5 for 26, a mere 19.2-percent success rate. If you take away McBee's 3-for-6 performance, the rest of the team was 2 for 20.

"Our 3-point shooting continues to be a concern," Pearl said. "If you take out Skylar McBee, this team really struggled from 3. We got pretty good looks but didn't make enough shots."


Inside Tennessee Top Stories