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Chris Chase

Tennessee's Wayne Chism ditches his headband, leads Vols to win

The Dagger

Allen Iverson had the sleeve. Patrick Ewing had the T-shirt. And Wayne Chism has the headband. But in Friday night's Midwest Region semifinal, the Tennessee senior ditched his trademark accessory after a disappointing first half that led to a coach Bruce Pearl tirade at halftime. It worked.

Chism has worn the distinctive headband high atop his head (at times it resembled a yarmulke) since arriving in Knoxville four years ago. It was as much a part of his uniform as his jersey, shorts and shoes. As usual, he took to the court with the headband Friday night for the first half of Tennessee's Sweet 16 game against No. 2 seed Ohio State.

But with the Vols down six early in the second half and Chism struggling with only four points, the senior tossed aside the headband in disgust. Suddenly, his forehead and eyes were susceptible to sweat. His shaved head was floating free in the recirculated air of the Edward Jones Dome. But it didn't matter.

He scored the next time he touched the ball. And the next time after that. And 18 second half points later, Chism and Tennessee were en route to the first Elite Eight in school history.

Coincidence? I think not.

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