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Volunteers over Cavaliers, 77-74: somebody say wooo!

Final Stats
  Tennessee Virginia
Field Goals 22-54 (40.7%) 18-48 (37.5%)
3-Point FGs 11-26 (42.3%) 7-26 (26.9%)
Free Throws 22-32 (68.8%) (81.3% in the 2nd half, including 100% on their last eight, when it counted most!) 31-36 (86.1%)
Rebounds 39 (12 off, 27 def) 29 (6 off, 23 def)
Turnovers 16 12
Assists 12 5

Immediately following yesterday's victory over the Virginia Cavaliers to advance to the Suh-weeeeet Sixteen, Vol fans were extraordinarily articulate. (Scroll down for the verbosity.) We weren't the only ones guilty of incoherent post-game celebration, though. Senior forward Dane Bradshaw fell victim to incomprehensible speech patterns as well. "Success is so much sweeter when you struggle," said Bradshaw. "Back in 2003 and 2004, I didn't think we could do it. I didn't even celebrate after the game. It was just a sigh of relief. It was great to jump around in the locker room later with the team. It feels great to advance in my last year."

Had I been asked to say anything other than "woo," I would have sounded the same, I'm sure. So "Woo!" and "Woo!" some more.

Before the game, one of the Virginia guards said something about the Albany guard they just played being more of a threat than Chris Lofton. All together now: Okay, then.

So it was exceedingly appropriate that down the stretch, it was none other than Lofton, who had indeed been held without a field goal in the entire second half (!), who iced the game. Over the final 18.7 seconds, Lofton hit six straight freebies. Why? Because he's mun-nay! Woo!

And everybody on the court knew it. On the final inbounds play, Virginia doubled Lofton to make sure he didn't get the ball. Bradshaw, who was inbounding the ball, had other ideas. He never took his eyes off of Lofton, knowing that Lofton would some way, somehow, get open. He did. He was fouled. He hit the free throws. He won the game. Woo!

I had wondered about the giant Ohio State logo at center court possibly being a distraction. Instead, it served as a motivator. Lofton, on the same floor earlier in the year, effectively lost the game against Ohio State by missing the front end of a one-and-one as the game wound down. Pearl subsequently nicknamed Lofton "Buckeye," knowing that it would motivate him. It did. And he put us in the final 16. Don't think that nickname won't get some play this week, either.

And a woo for Ryan Childress, too. Childress and Duke Crews both played substantial minutes with Wayne Chism riding the bench for so much of the game due to foul trouble. Chill hit a couple of key three-pointers and helped the Vols win the rebounding game. When Pearl decided to go with Childress "due to free throws," that, too, paid off, as he hit two in a row with 27 seconds remaining before tagging off to Lofton, who hit the next six in a row.

So wooo! And wooo again!

And one more for the road.

To the Sweet Sixteen.


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