Dec. 15, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Scotty Hopson scored 14 points to help No. 9 Tennessee pull away from Wyoming for a 77-58 victory Tuesday night.
The Vols (8-1) struggled to slow down the normally high-scoring Cowboys (5-5) in the first half, but Tennessees defensive pressure and fast break offense wore Wyoming down in the second.
Leading by one point at halftime, the Vols ran out to a 57-49 lead with 14:45 to go on a steal and layup by Hopson. The sophomore also punctuated Tennessee's second-half surge with several fast break dunks.
Melvin Goins put Tennessee up by double figures for the first time with a 3-pointer that made it 64-53, and the Vols cruised from there.
Afam Muojeke led Wyoming with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Both teams boast pressure defenses and fast-paced offenses that average more than 80 points a game. The Cowboys force more than 20 turnovers a game, but the Vols committed just 13 and had 18 assists, including six each from Tyler Smith and J.P. Prince.
Wayne Chism had 14 points for Tennessee and Smith added 10.
The Volunteers finished two short of a season high with 15 steals, and held Wyoming to 18 points in the second half.
The Vols finished just 4 of20 from 3-point range.
Hopson, the Vols? leading scorer, had one point in their last game, a 74-53 win over Middle Tennessee State on Friday night.
Wyoming took a 25-23 lead on a 3-pointer by senior Ryan Dermody, who shortly after added another 3 to extend the lead to 31-25. The lead reached 35-25 but Tennessee crawled back and a tip-in by center Brian Williams put the Vols up 42-41 at halftime.
The Cowboys scored the first seven points of the game, but the Vols answered with a 9-0 run to take their first lead.
The Vols improved to 15-0 at home in December under coach Bruce Pearl.