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Thread: #11 Vols down Ragin' Cajuns, 98-70 coach Lee finds Positives

  1. #1

    UL Basketball #11 Vols down Ragin' Cajuns, 98-70 coach Lee finds Positives

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tyler Smith scored a game-high 22 points as the 11th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers held off Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns 98-70 Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

    Tennessee (7-1) handed Louisiana (1-4) its fourth straight loss of the season as well as its fourth straight loss to the Volunteers.

    Despite holding Tennessee’s leading scorer Chris Lofton to seven points, four other Volunteers reach double figures, including Jordon Howell (17), JaJuan Smith (15), Ramar Smith (14) and Duke Crews (10).

    Freshman forward Chris Gradnigo (Lake Charles, La.) scored a career-high-tying 15 points before fouling out in the second half. Sophomore point guard Randell Daigle (Lafayette, La.) recorded a career-high eight points. David Dees (Dayton, Ohio) chipped in a season-best 14 points, while Elijah Millsap (Grambling, La.) added 12 points.

    “Tennessee’s an outstanding team with a group of outstanding players,” Louisiana head coach Robert Lee said. “We gave up too many open looks in transition, especially from three-point range.

    “We didn’t go a good job on the interior,” Lee said. “Tennessee is a great team and not too many teams do what they need to do to win because of that.”

    Louisiana opened the second half with a Dees triple from the top of the key to cut Tennessee’s advantage to 46-30. But, the Vols then went on an 8-0 run thanks to a couple of transition baskets to give the 11th-ranked team in the nation a 24-point lead, 54-30.

    Trailing 63-36 with 15:36 remaining in regulation, Louisiana went on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to less than 20 points, 65-46. That would be the closest the Cajuns could close the gap as the Volunteers pulled away mid-way through the second half.

    Tennessee would seal the victory down the stretch late in the second half as the Volunteers were victorious by their largest margin of the game (28 points).

    Tennessee opened the first half with on a 9-2 run heading into the stanza’s first media timeout at the 15:57 mark. For the fifth time this season, Louisiana controlled the game’s opening tip. However, Willie Lago’s (Reserve, La.) errant pass sailed past a wide-open Millsap on a back-door cut.

    The Vols responded with a Lofton fast-break trey for a 3-0 lead. Louisiana answered with a Gradnigo fade-away along the baseline. Tennessee then added six more points to take a seven-point lead.

    A Millsap three-point bucket would cut the Vols’ lead to four points, 9-5, with 15:30 remaining until halftime. A 10-1 Tennessee run gave the Volunteers a 13-point cushion, 19-6, at the 12:55 mark. Gradnigo halted Tennessee’s run with a three-pointer from the right wing, cutting the Volunteers’ lead to 19-9.

    However, a Tyler Smith triple on Tennessee’s ensuing possession returned the Volunteers lead back to 13 points, 22-9. Tennessee’s lead would eventually reach 17 as the Volunteers took a 36-19 advantage at the 8:03 mark of the first half.

    Louisiana responded with an 8-2 run to cut the Volunteers’ edge to 38-27 at the under-four-minute media timeout. Gradnigo provided five of Louisiana’s eight points on the run, while Courtney Wallace (New Orleans, La.) and Dees hit crucial free throws.

    The Cajuns had an opportunity to cut the Tennessee lead below 10 points for the first time in more than 10 minutes, but a Millsap turnover led to a Howell three-pointer and a 41-27 Vols lead. Tennessee closed out the opening period with its largest margin of the first half, taking a 46-27 lead into the locker room, capped off by a pair of Howell treys.

    Gradnigo led all players with 13 points in the first half, while Tyler Smith and Howell each chipped in 11 points for the Volunteers. Louisiana shot just 30 percent from the floor in the first half (7-of-23), while going 8-for-10 from the charity stripe.

    Following final exams for the fall semester, Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns will return to action Tuesday, Dec. 11, when they travel to Orlando, Fla., to face the UCF Knights. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. (ET).


  2. #2

    UL Basketball Lee finds some positives in loss to Tennessee

      Even after suffering a 98-70 loss last week at No. 10 Tennessee, UL men's basketball coach Robert Lee found something positive: the play of guards Chris Gradnigo and Randell Daigle.

    Gradnigo, a 6-7 freshman guard, led the Ragin' Cajuns with 15 points and hit three 3-pointers. Daigle, a 5-10 sophomore guard, added eight points and two assists off the bench.

    "I think Chris showed he can play on a high level," Lee said. "I think Randell showed he can compete on that level. We got a good chance to see what those kids can do."

    That said, Lee was disappointed with UL's defensive effort. The Cajuns (1-4) dropped their fourth straight game after allowing a season-high 98 points. UT drilled 12 3-pointers and shot 54 percent from the floor in the victory.

    The rest of the story

    Joshua Parrott

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Baton Rouge

    Default Re: #11 Vols down Ragin' Cajuns, 98-70 coach Lee finds Positives

    Quote Originally Posted by NewsCopy View Post
    _ _
    I love sportswriters. The first sentence says Tennessee held off UL.

    Held off??? They beat the crap out of us. A few years ago we were neck and neck with them.

    All of our programs except for baseball and softball(who cares) are down the tubes.

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