KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tyler Smith scored 22 points to lead five Tennessee players in double figures, and the No. 11 Volunteers beat Louisiana-Lafayette 98-70 Friday night for their 22nd straight home victory.
Tennessee built a double-digit lead six minutes in and maintained it the rest of the way, with the final margin representing their biggest lead. The Ragin' Cajuns allowed the Vols to hit 53 percent of their shots from the floor.
Chris Gradnigo had 15 points and David Dees 14 for the Ragin' Cajuns (1-4).
Louisiana-Lafayette was in trouble from the start, making just 7 of its first 23 attempts and committing 14 turnovers that led to 17 Tennessee points. The Volunteers moved the ball more efficiently, compiling 16 assists on 20 first-half baskets while turning it over just six times.
Chris Lofton, who broke out of a shooting slump with eight 3-pointers against North Carolina A&T on Tuesday, scored just seven points on 2-of-5 shooting. But he still passed Carl Widseth for ninth on the Tennessee career scoring list, and is 10 3-pointers shy of Allan Houston's record of 346 career triples.
Tennessee held Elijah Millsap, the Ragin' Cajuns' leading scorer, to 12 points before he fouled out late in the game. Last year's Sun Belt Conference freshman of the year was coming off a career-high 26 points in his last game against Alabama-Birmingham.
The Vols and Ragin' Cajuns also met last year, when Louisiana-Lafayette put a scare into Tennessee before succumbing 77-67 in Lafayette, La.
This one wasn't nearly as close. Tennessee improved to 36-2 at Thompson-Boling Arena since the start of the 2005-06 season, and is 21-0 in non-conference games under third-year coach Bruce Pearl.
The Volunteers, averaging almost 90 points per game this season, are 35-4 when scoring more than 80 points under Pearl.