TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Chris Lofton and JaJuan Smith got hot from outside in plenty of time to bail Number 7 Tennessee out of serious trouble.
Lofton had 23 points and five 3-pointers and Smith added 22 points and four from beyond the arc to lift the Volunteers to a win over Alabama tonight, averting a second upset loss in six days.
The Vols (18-2, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) blew most of a 10-point lead but hit 9-of-12 second-half 3s.
The Crimson Tide (12-9, 1-5) managed to pull within two points five times in the final 7 minutes, but never grabbed the lead.
Richard Hendrix's basket inside made it 83-81 with 1:45 left. But Smith hit a 3-pointer and Lofton added two free throws with 59 seconds left for an 88-81 lead to all but end the scare.
The Vols had lost to Kentucky last week, but this time shot 69 percent after a halftime tie to overcome a season-high 23 turnovers.
Lofton and Smith each hit three 3s in the last 11 minutes.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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