Vols come to life late in the first half


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Bruce Pearl’s orange jacket was loud enough.

But the loudest roar of the first half Wednesday came just before the buzzer when Pearl’s son, Steven, flew in for a nifty reverse layup on a fast break to give Tennessee its biggest lead of the half, 35-31, over Vanderbilt.

Neither team was able to get into much of an offensive flow. The lead changed 10 times until the Vols’ flurry to close the half.

Ironically enough, Tennessee was able to sprint out front thanks to a couple of 3-pointers. Scotty Hopson connected and then J.P. Prince (who was 1-for-7 from 3-point range coming in) followed with another one from long distance.

That’s after the Vols started 1-for-4 from 3-point range.

Hopson, as he’s done on occasion, sort of drifted in and out of the game. The Vols desperately need him to be more assertive.

Historically, Tennessee’s Wayne Chism has gotten the best of his Vanderbilt post counterpart, A.J. Ogilvy. But in the first half Wednesday, neither player was much of a factor.

Ogilvy had two points, no rebounds, two fouls and three turnovers, while Chism went the entire half without a field goal and managed just one free throw in the final minutes.

Tennessee started slow on defense, but picked it up as the first half wore on.