Sports

Four Tennessee players arrested

Four Tennessee basketball players, including starting senior forward Tyler Smith, were charged with gun possession and other counts after a Friday traffic stop.

The Knoxville Police Department said Smith, 23, junior point guard Melvin Goins, 22, junior center Brian Williams, 22, and sophomore guard Cameron Tatum, 21, were arrested during a traffic stop for speeding near Tennessee's campus.

According to a police report, officers smelled marijuana coming from the car and found a handgun with an altered serial number, a bag of marijuana and an open container of alcohol. Tatum was driving.

Officers could not determine whether any of the players were under the influence of marijuana, though the strong odor suggested marijuana had recently been smoked in the car, the police report said.

Tatum was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and having an open container of alcohol. Smith was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number. Goins and Williams both face gun and drug possession charges.

All four face misdemeanor charges.

Knoxville police told the Knoxville News Sentinel that information the police previously released that Smith and Williams faced felony charges was incorrect.

Tennessee Coach Bruce Pearl suspended the four players late Friday, according to the newspaper.

"I'm deeply saddened and troubled by today's news,'' Pearl said. "Accordingly, I'm suspending Melvin, Cameron, Tyler and Brian pending further information.

"I apologize for the embarrassment this has brought to the university."

It was not immediately clear if any of the players had attorneys.

Smith has started all 12 games this season and is averaging 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds. Tatum has started six games and is averaging 8.7 points. Williams averages 5.9 points and 5.4 rebounds off the bench. Goins has one start this season and is averaging 6.1 points.

Tennessee has a 10-2 record and is ranked No. 14 in the country, the highest-ranked team in the Southeastern Conference behind Kentucky.

The Volunteers won at in-state rival Memphis 66-59 on Thursday afternoon and face Charlotte in Knoxville on Wednesday.

Tennessee will face Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Feb. 13. The Cats travel to Knoxville on Feb. 27.

Purdue tops West Virginia in matchup of unbeatens

Purdue center JaJuan Johnson single-handedly negated West Virginia's overall size advantage and turned a showdown between unbeatens into a blowout.

Johnson had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 4 Purdue beat sixth-ranked West Virginia 77-62 on Friday.

Purdue Coach Matt Painter was concerned heading into the game because West Virginia's starters all stand between 6-foot-7 and 6-9. The 6-10 Johnson stood the tallest, making eight of 14 field goals and blocking two shots.

Johnson was more focused on the team effort and the perfect non-conference season than his individual statistics.

"We came ready to play," he said. "Once we get things clicking on offense, we're very dangerous."

Purdue expected Johnson to be a key factor because West Virginia switches on screens, which the Boilermakers thought would create mismatches. West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler said the Mountaineers didn't work together defensively.

"Johnson just had like, eight dunks, with no help-side at all," he said.

West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins was disappointed in his team's defensive effort against Johnson.

"I think our point guards did a better job of guarding him than our big guys did," Huggins said. "He destroyed our bigs. Maybe we should have kept our point guards on him."

Robbie Hummel scored 18 points and E'Twaun Moore added 15 for the Boilermakers, whose largest lead was 26 points.

Purdue (13-0) is one of five unbeaten teams in the nation. When asked if the Boilermakers made a case for the No. 1 ranking, Painter said check back in a month.

"We have to prove ourselves and be more consistent," he said. "We're getting into league play. We'll see how we play on the road."

The Mountaineers (11-1) were bidding for their first 12-0 start since the 1957-58 season, but Purdue handled West Virginia's star guard combination of Butler and Devin Ebanks. Butler scored 17 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Ebanks scored 11 points on 3-for-7 shooting.

Huggins said his young team had two major disadvantages heading into the game — youth and playing at Mackey Arena.

"It's a hard environment to play in, and second, I've got a lot of young kids, and they've got veterans."

Texas Tech avoids upset

Mike Singletary made two free throws with 18.4 seconds left and finished with 27 points, helping the No. 20 Red Raiders rally for a home 76-75 victory over McNeese State.

"These last four games we're giving up 40-45 points in the first half," Texas Tech Coach Pat Knight said. "At least this game, I give them credit, we only gave up 31 in the second half. We won because we played defense in the second half."

The Red Raiders (11-2) trailed by nine in the second half but rallied to take a 74-73 lead on Nick Okorie's three-point play.

P.J. Alawoya got the lead back for McNeese State but couldn't convert his opportunity for a three-point play. Singletary took advantage of the opening, making both of his foul shots to make it 76-75.

McNeese State had two opportunities to get the win in the final seconds but failed to get a shot off each time. Diego Kapelan scored 20 points for the Cowboys (5-8).

The Red Raiders were coming off 90-75 loss at New Mexico.

South Carolina's Holmes kicked off team

South Carolina Coach Darrin Horn dismissed forward Mike Holmes from the Gamecocks for repeatedly violating team rules.

A release from the school on Friday said Holmes did not meet Horn's expectations both on and off the court, but didn't specify what the junior did to get kicked off the team.

Holmes hasn't played since Nov. 27 after he broke a bone near his left eye.

Holmes was averaging 11 points and 4.8 rebounds a game this season, after scoring 10.8 points and a team-best 7.7 rebounds in 2008-09.

Holmes is the second starter the Gamecocks have lost this season. Senior Dominique Archie suffered a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 22.

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