Vols pull away from South Carolina for 15th straight win

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Despite a push from the Gamecocks in the second half to make it a one-possession game, No. 1 Tennessee pulled away in the second half for a 92-70 victory Tuesday at South Carolina’s Colonial Life Arena.

The victory marked the 15th consecutive win for the Vols (19-1, 7-0 SEC), matching a program record that has stood for more than a century (Feb. 20, 1915, until Jan. 20, 1917).

Tennessee’s defense stepped up big in the final nine minutes of the game, holding the Gamecocks (10-10, 5-2 SEC) to just seven points and 1-of-10 shooting from the field down the stretch. During that span, UT was able to use a 19-6 run to secure the 22-point victory.

The offense was firing on all cylinders Tuesday, connecting on 56 percent (36-of-64) of its shots from the field. Tennessee’s 92 points were the most allowed by the Gamecocks in a game this season.

The duo of Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams posted a dominant performance, finishing with 24 and 23 points, respectively. Schofield added nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal, while Williams finished with nine rebounds and four steals. The pair helped UT hold a scoring advantage in the paint (42 to 22) and an edge on the boards (39 to 31).

Jordan Bone had an impressive game at the point, dropping 19 points and dishing out nine assists to fuel the offense. Lamonte Turner chipped in 13 points behind three 3-pointers, three assists and two steals.

Chris Silva led the way for South Carolina, finishing with a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Tennessee went to the paint early and often in the first half, scoring 20 of its 47 points there. The Vols had the hot hand shooting, knocking down 58 percent (19-of-33) of their shots over the opening 20 minutes. During one stretch, UT hit 13 out of 16 shots to help take a 47-38 lead into halftime over the Gamecocks.

The storyline in the first period was the battle between Williams and Silva in the post. Williams was 7-of-11 from the field for 17 points, while Silva posted 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting and six rebounds.

The two teams swapped buckets early in the second half, with the Vols keeping a small lead. However, South Carolina started to gain some momentum after a big three by Tre Campbell. On the next trip down the floor, Campbell pulled another quick three in transition to draw a foul and knocked down all three free throws to cut Tennessee’s lead to 60-58.

The Big Orange would answer, though, using an 11-3 run behind a trio of 3-pointers to extend its lead back to double digits at the 10:14 mark.

Up next, Tennessee stays on the road for a matchup against Texas A&M on Saturday night. That game will tip at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.

Story and photo courtesy for Tennessee Athletics.