Chism, Vols Muzzle Bulldogs 69-60

Chism, Vols Muzzle Bulldogs 69-60

Published Feb. 18, 2010 8:09 a.m. ET

AP Sports Writer

February 18, 2010

Tenn. (AP) -- Bruce Pearl asked his Tennessee players at halftime if
they were enjoying playing together. He didn't give them a chance to

"I answered the question before they had the chance,"
Pearl said, "and that was, 'Hopefully not, because we did not do
anything as a team to enjoy the basketball.'"

No. 20 Tennessee
bounced back from that lackluster first-half play with the help of 16
points and 11 rebounds from Wayne Chism to beat Georgia 69-60 on
Wednesday night.

Georgia led Tennessee 29-24 at halftime, but a
3-point shot by Chism two minutes into the second half seemed to ignite
the Vols (19-6, 7-4 Southeastern Conference). J.P. Prince dunked on an
alley-oop pass from Bobby Maze to tie the game at 37.

The teams traded baskets as Trey Thompkins tried to single-handedly save the Bulldogs by scoring three straight baskets.

Maze hit a 3 and Prince had a three-point play followed by a dunk to give Tennessee a 57-50 lead with 6:24 left.

Bulldogs (11-13, 3-8) used a strong inside presence to beat Tennessee
78-63 on Jan. 23, but it was the Vols who took command of the paint
this time, scoring 46 inside.

"It was very tough outscoring them
in the paint," Chism said. "They blocked (seven) shots down there, but
we did a great job getting the ball in there and finishing."

fiddled with his rotations hoping to spark some offense. For the first
time this season, he put Maze and Melvin Goins -- both point guards --
on the floor at the same time and gave Brian Williams his first
significant playing time since returning Feb. 6 from a nine-game

The changes seemed to help. Prince finished with 15 points, Maze had 13 and Scotty Hopson added 10.

did a good job of knocking down shots and executing offense," Thompkins
said. "We didn't defend at all in the second half."

didn't get much help from Travis Leslie, who scored 19 in the first
meeting between the teams. Leslie picked up his second foul with 8:23
left in the first half and sat out until halftime. He finished with
only four points.

Thompkins led the Bulldogs with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

only had one guy score for us," coach Mark Fox said. "We couldn't get
another guy score for us, and it's hard to win when you've only got one

Through the first half, it appeared Tennessee was on
its way to only its second three-game losing skid under Pearl. The Vols
lost to both Kentucky and Vanderbilt on the road last week.

was a lot of pressure on us here tonight, and I think we came out a
little tight," Pearl said. "We had no cohesion. It was a very gutsy

A dunk by Thompkins launched a 12-2 run that helped
Georgia take command of the first half. Thompkins hit a pair of free
throws that gave the Bulldogs a 23-15 lead with 6:12 in the first half.

Bulldogs, the SEC's most accurate team from the line, hit 9 of 11 free
throws in the first half but only went to the line twice in the second

Georgia also controlled the backboards, grabbing 22
rebounds in the first half compared to Tennessee's 16, and finished
with four more boards than the Vols.

Georgia has lost nine
straight in Knoxville and is 0-9 in road games this season. The
Bulldogs' two other wins against Top 25 teams -- victories against
Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt -- both came in Athens.

"We're still
immature on our approach, our consistency," Fox said. "We're not a
complete enough team to overcome mistakes, a small margin for error. At
home, we try to correct some of those."