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College basketball

Vols labor to finish Western Carolina

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 24, 2002


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Ron Slay had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Brandon Crump added 14 points Monday night as Tennessee beat Western Carolina 79-61.

Tennessee, playing its fourth game in nine days, had to work hard into the second half to put away a team that hasn't beaten a Division I opponent this season.

Jon Higgins added 12 points and six assists for the Vols, who recorded 11 steals.

Western Carolina stayed in the game by making 9 of 19 3-pointers while the Vols had 18 turnovers.

The Catamounts have beaten Toccoa Falls, Southeastern College and North Greenville. They lost by 27 last week to West Virginia, which beat Tennessee 65-62 on Saturday.

Western Carolina's Kevin Martin went in averaging 23.7 points but was held to 16. Kori Hatcher added 12 points for the Catamounts.

Western Carolina trailed by nine at halftime but started the second half with a 10-4 run to cut the deficit to 42-39.

Vols coach Buzz Peterson immediately called timeout, and Tennessee outscored Western Carolina 14-2 during the next five minutes.

Slay scored eight during the run, which Thaydeus Holden capped with a 3-pointer for a 56-41 lead with 11:37 remaining.

The Vols led by 18 with eight minutes left, but the Catamounts scored two quick 3s to keep the game from getting out of control.

Western Carolina got as close as 66-56 with 5:30 to go.

Tennessee used a 15-0 run in the first half to temporarily break open the game.

The Catamounts, who trailed 10-0 in the opening minutes, went ahead 19-17 on Rans Brempong's basket with 10:35 before halftime. Western Carolina went scoreless the next six minutes.

Stanley Asumnu made two free throws and Slay had a dunk to put the Vols ahead. Higgins hit two 3-pointers during the spurt, the last giving Tennessee a 32-19 lead with 4:56 left in the first half.

OLE MISS 87, EVANSVILLE 69: Emmanuel Wade and Justin Reed each scored 17 as the Rebels won their 18th straight home game.

Reed, who missed Mississippi's previous game with an eye injury that required six stitches, was 7-of-10 from the field and made two 3-pointers. The forward wore goggles to protect his right eye.

The Rebels have won 57 of the past 58 home games against nonconference opponents.

C-USA

TULANE 94, JACKSON ST. 70: Brandon Brown had 19 points to lead four players in double figures for the host Green Wave. Brandon Spann added 16 points, Nick Sinville 15 and Wayne Tinsley a season-high 11. Tinsley added eight rebounds for Tulane, which was coming off a 103-point performance Friday against Savannah State.

COASTAL CAROLINA 90, ECU 71: Torrey Butler had 23 points and nine rebounds and made all three 3-pointers as the host Chanticleers pulled in the second half. Gabriel Mikulas led the Pirates with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field.

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