COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Forget "Rocky Top." Chris Lofton may
have come up with a new Tennessee rallying cry.
Lofton led the way with 25 points as the Volunteers set off some
offensive fireworks to beat Long Beach State 121-86 Friday -
matching the most points scored by a team in a first-round NCAA
"It really was (fun)," Lofton said. "We're used to playing
like that. When a team plays (uptempo) like that, we get excited.
It was just a fast-paced game.
"We put the 'fast' back in 'fast break."'
Catchy - and accurate. The point total equaled the most in a
first-round game, set by UNLV in 1977 against San Francisco.
Both teams came in averaging 80 points - putting them among the
top 11 in the nation - so it wasn't a shocker that baskets came in
But the numbers were nonetheless staggering for old-timers who
believe defense drives teams into the elite field.
"I like an identity for a program. This is our identity,"
coach Bruce Pearl said. "We've never finished second in (any
league in) scoring in 14 or 15 years I've been a head coach. We
pride ourselves on, as Chris said, putting the fast back in fast
break. We do. We want to be able to do that and win. I enjoy being
uptempo and being aggressive in transition. We'll put four or five
guys on the floor that can score, and they've got a lot of
The Volunteer (23-10) hit triple digits on a dunk by Duke Crews
with more than 6½ minutes left and then stepped on the gas to tie
the school mark for points.
"They were scoring from all kinds of positions on the court,"
Long Beach State coach Larry Reynolds said.
JaJuan Smith added 24 points, Ramar Smith 22, Crews 12 and Wayne
Chism 10 points. Dane Bradshaw had a career-best 11 assists.
"We didn't come in with a game plan that says we want to put up
100 on these guys," Bradshaw said. "It was just the flow of the
The Volunteers improved to 29-3 in Pearl's two years when
scoring 80 or more points - a threshold they reached with 13
minutes remaining. They'll face Virginia in the second round of the
South Regional on Sunday.
Kejuan Johnson scored 24 points, Aaron Nixon 23 and Kevin
Houston 17 for the 12th-seeded 49ers (24-8), regular-season and
tournament champs of the Big West who were making their first NCAA
appearance in a dozen years.
Lofton, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, led the
way as the Volunteers shot 59 percent from the field and made 14 of
27 3-pointers. He hit half of his eight shots behind the arc and
JaJuan Smith hit 4-of-6.
Each team hit seven 3-pointers in a wild opening half that
featured the Volunteers racing to a 29-12 lead in the opening 7½
minutes. They did it with precision shooting, their full-court
press and trapping pressure.
Lofton keyed the defense, with two steals leading to a pair of
layups in a 5-second span.
The 49ers got as close as 41-35 thanks to their own long-range
marksmanship, with Nixon hitting four shots behind the arc and
Johnson three - each of which were arching rainbows that barely
rustled the net.
The 3-point shooting contest also was hardly a surprise. Both
teams set school records this year, with Tennessee hitting 286
3-pointers and the 49ers making 261.
Ahead 57-45 at the break, the Volunteers ran off 12 of the first
14 points in the second half - seven by Lofton - to build the lead
"The start of the second half was the key for us," Bradshaw
said. "We stopped them and got some easy buckets in transition as
well as out of our half-court offense."
From then on, the totals mounted. The Volunteers had 90 points
with 10 minutes left.
"We knew we had to score," Ramar Smith said. "We knew it was
going to be a high-scoring game and we came out and scored."
It wasn't as if the 49ers didn't have a big offensive game. They
hit 49 percent from the field and made 12 of 21 3-pointers. But
Tennessee had only six turnovers and picked up 22 points off
The game might have been the swan song for Reynolds, 63-83 in
five years at Long Beach State. School administrators allowed him
to finish out his contract, saying they would discuss the future of
the program after the season ended.
"The program has come a long way," Reynolds said. "There are
still steps the program needs to get to. I'm sure the gentlemen
that are in charge of that will make the best decision for Long