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MBB: Gamecocks can't keep up with Tennessee

SOUTH CAROLINA MEN’S BASKETBALL

South Carolina couldn’t keep up with Tennessee, and fell 85-73 in Knoxville.

In the first meeting between the two teams, South Carolina hung with Tennessee until the midpoint of the second half, when Tennessee pulled away for a comfortable win. The Volunteers made their run about twenty minutes earlier this time.

Thanks to hitting three of its first four three-pointers, the Gamecocks led 15-12 seven minutes into the game. Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, they were down ten, and two blinks later down 18.

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Chris Gillespie

Lamonte Turner tied the game with a three, and then Johnson was fouled on a made three, hitting the free throw for a four point lead. Tre Campbell answered with a three, but Tennessee scored the next fourteen points for a 21-3 run. It was an offensive clinic for Tennessee, as the Vols scored in transition, in the half court, in the paint, and from three.

To its credit, South Carolina did not fold. In the second half, South Carolina pulled within 12 or 13 points on multiple occasions, but couldn’t get any closer. Tennessee always seemed to have a three-pointer to answer.

Offensively, South Carolina stayed in the game with the three-point shot. It hit 14-23 from three, 61 percent and a season-high for makes. But it was inconsistent everywhere else, shooting just 12-40 (30 percent) inside the arc and 7-12 from the foul line.

But Tennessee doesn’t have one of the country’s best offenses for no reason, and there was little South Carolina could do to slow Tennessee down. Tennessee shot 49 percent for the game, although it was close to 55 percent for most of the night, and 45 percent from three.

Chris Silva didn’t dominate like he did in the first game, but he quietly had a strong double-double with 17 points, a career-high 15 rebounds, and two blocks. Hassani Gravett added 15 points, but the freshmen A.J. Lawson and Keyshawn Bryant didn’t contribute a lot. Lawson had nine points and six assists, and Bryant had five points, but South Carolina needed more from them.

Admiral Schofield had a double-double to lead five Tennessee players in double figures. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Bowden, who did not play in the first game, had 16 points. Tennessee’s leading scorer, Grant Williams only had eight points, but also had nine rebounds.

Notes:

Earlier Wednesday, South Carolina released a statement that Evan Hinson was leaving the basketball team to focus on football. Read more HERE. ... Tre Campbell had a season-high 19 points and was a perfect 5-5 from three. … South Carolina attempted more free throws than Tennessee, but the Vols were a perfect 8-8 from the line. … If there is one thing South Carolina can take pride in, despite trailing by 18 in the first half and 19 in the second half, it never let Tennessee’s lead reach 20. … South Carolina’s next game is Saturday against Texas A&M.

Also see: What Frank Martin said after the Tennessee loss