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Tennessee paints NCAA round of 16 bright orange

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Go ahead, Tennessee fans. Break out the orange paint and slather up.

It sure seems to work for the head coach.

JaJuan Smith led a second-half comeback, Chris Lofton made one free throw after another in the final seconds and the Volunteers held off Virginia 77-74 Sunday in the NCAA second round.

Fifth-seeded Tennessee (24-10) reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2000 under second-year coach Bruce Pearl, who painted himself orange before a Lady Vols’ game last month to show some spirit.

Now, his team is showing some staying power.

“When you reach the Sweet 16 at the University of Tennessee with the way we’ve had to rebuild, you’ve made a special place in history for yourself,” point guard Dane Bradshaw said.

A certain shade of history, no less.

Pearl took off his shirt and painted his torso orange to support the Lady Vols at one of their January games. The sight of his brightly colored belly was shown repeatedly on basketball highlight shows, bringing him some grief.

On Sunday, Pearl wore a conservative white shirt and did some of his most creative coaching, bringing down Virginia.

Lofton, the Southeastern Conference’s player of the year, hit all six of his free throws in the last 27.7 seconds, keeping Tennessee ahead. Lofton finished with 20 points.

Memphis 78, Nevada 62: John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers finally have a victory worth bragging about in their run of 24 straight.

Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 16 points before leaving with a sprained ankle and his high-flying, versatile teammates took over from there for a victory over Nevada.

Midwest Regional

Oregon 75, Winthrop 61: Aaron Brooks scored 22 points and third-seeded Oregon smothered the frazzled Eagles to eliminate the last remaining double-digit seed from the NCAA tournament.

The 11th-seeded Eagles (29-5) lost for the first time in 20 games to end their most successful tournament in seven tries.

UNLV 74, Wisconsin 68: Kevin Kruger connected on three straight 3-pointers late in the second half and the Runnin’ Rebels rallied to beat second-seeded Wisconsin.

The Badgers (30-6) became the highest-seeded team to lose in the tournament, so far.

West Regional

Southern Illinois 63, Virginia Tech 48: The team that no one wants to play is still playing — thanks to its suffocating defense.

Southern Illinois got three big 3-pointers from Jamaal Tatum and pulled away from Virginia Tech. Tatum, the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year, scored 21 points.

East Regional

USC 87, Texas 68: If Kevin Durant decides to leave college after one year, it will be without a championship — or even a trip into the second week of the tournament.

Southern California made sure of that, getting 22 points from its more seasoned star, junior Nick Young, in a runaway.

As he often has this season, Durant led everyone with 30 points and added nine rebounds for fourth-seeded Texas.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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