A 23-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome asSouth Carolina (8-15, 1-9 SEC) was defeated 72-53 by Tennessee (15-8, 6-4 SEC)this afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Senior guard Jordan McRae led the Vols with a game-high 24points, shooting 6-of-8 from 3, as Jarnell Stokes added 17 points and eightrebounds. Freshman guard Sindarius Thornwell paced the Gamecocks with 15 pointsand four assists.
Carolina was unable to slow the Volunteers down from the getgo as Tennessee started the game on a 14-2 run, that saw Thornwell scoreCarolina's first basket of the game just over five minutes into the contest.
Thornwell continued to try and keep the Gamecocks in thegame as he score five-straight to cut the deficit to 16-7 with 12:14 on theclock. The freshman added a jumper a minute later before another Carolinaplayer scored. Sophomore forward Laimonas Chatkevicius recorded the next sixfor the Gamecocks, but the Vols kept coming in the form of McRae with three 3sin a two and a half minute span.
Tennessee ended the half on a 17-7 run with McRae burying adeep 3 for his 20th point of the half to lead all scorers. Thesenior went 5-7 from beyond the arc as the Vols took a 45-22 lead into thehalf.
The Gamecocks started the second half with a 7-3 edge in theearly going, with a pair of buckets from Mindaugas Kacinas and an and-one fromDuane Notice. After a pair of free throws from Tennessee's Antonio Barton,Brenton Williams sunk three free throws for his first points of the game afterbeing knocked down on the 3-point attempt.
The senior guard followed that up with a 3 that ignited a10-0 run to cut the Vols' lead to 54-41 with 9:41 remaining. Armani Moore,though, hit a triple for the Vols just before Tennessee called a timeout. McRaeadded three more less than a minute later as the lead began to hover around the20-point mark the remainder of the game.
South Carolina would outscore Tennessee 31-27 over the final20 minutes, but it wasn't enough as the Vols shot 28-53 (52.8 percent) for thegame compared to Carolina's 20-56 (35.7 percent). Tennessee held a 36-31 edgeon the glass and a 38-28 scoring advantage in the paint.
Sophomore Brian Steele finished the day with a career highseven points in 26 minutes, while Williams added nine points and Notice chippedin eight.