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February 9, 2008
No. 7 Tennessee survives at LSU
BATON ROUGE, La. — JaJuan Smith's steal and layup with 11 seconds left gave seventh-ranked Tennessee a 47-45 victory over LSU on Saturday, in the Tigers' first game since the firing of coach John Brady.
The Volunteers (21-2, 8-1 Southeastern Conference) had lost all of a 12-point second-half advantage when Chris Johnson converted a three-point play with 1:15 left. After Chris Lofton missed an open 3-point attempt, the Tigers had an opportunity to take the lead.
After the inbound, Smith made his steal from Marcus Thornton and drove almost three-quarters of the court for the go-ahead layup. The basket represented his only points of the game.
Alex Farrer put up a rushed 3-pointer in the final seconds for the Tigers, but the shot came up short. Johnson rebounded and dunked, but it came just after the final horn.
Lofton led Tennessee with 15 points, while Tyler Smith finished with 12. The Vols made just 32 percent of their field goal attempts and scored the second-fewest points in Bruce Pearl's three seasons as coach.
Johnson led LSU (8-14, 1-7) with 17 points, and Thornton had 12. The game was the first for interim coach Butch Pierre, who replaced Brady on Friday.
Tennessee, which scored its fewest points of the season, managed only a two-point advantage with fewer than 4 minutes remaining in the game. Lofton knocked down a 3-pointer out of a timeout to end a 6 1/2-minute scoring drought.
Trailing 45-40, LSU came back to tie the score for the first time since the first half. Randolph made a basket and Johnson tied the score with his three-point play.
A 3-pointer by Garrett Temple left the Tigers behind 27-24 at halftime. The Vols were just 3-of-9 on 3-pointers in the first half, and their 27 points were a season-low.