No. 11 Tennessee put five players in double figures in scoring Saturday night and enjoyed its second lopsided win over South Carolina this season with an 85-45 Southeastern Conference romp in Knoxville, Tenn.
Josiah-Jordan James led the Volunteers (21-8, 10-6 SEC) with 18 points, going 4 of 7 from the 3-point line. Jahmai Mashack added 14 points and six rebounds, while Zakai Zeigler finished with 13 points, 11 assists and three steals. Olivier Nkamhoua and Uros Plavsic each tallied 10 points, with Nkamhoua grabbing eight rebounds.
Mired in an offensive slump that saw them lose five of their previous seven games, the Volunteers got well against a team it routed by 43 points last month. They canned 58.1 percent from the field, drilling 10 of 23 from 3-point range, and finished with 29 assists against only four turnovers.
Hayden Brown scored 18 points to lead the Gamecocks (10-19, 3-13), but he needed much more help than he got. South Carolina, which came within a defensive stop of stunning No. 2 Alabama on Wednesday night, made only 35.2 percent from the field and coughed up 14 turnovers.
Tennessee blew the game open with a 13-4 run to start the second half and led by at least 20 points for the final 11:53.
Tennessee didn’t waste much time putting its stamp on this one. Zeigler drilled a pair of 3-pointers and assisted James, who returned to the lineup after missing the last four games with a sprained ankle, on another 3-pointer to fuel an 11-0 run that gave the Volunteers a 17-5 lead at the 13:04 mark.
South Carolina managed a brief burst of competence, ripping off eight straight points to pull within 17-13 with 10:32 remaining when Brown drained a 3-pointer.
However, Tennessee rattled off an 11-2 burst that Mashack capped with a layup that made it 28-15 with 7:24 left.
James put the Volunteers ahead by 12 at the half when Zeigler fed him for a layup to make it 38-26. Brown kept the Gamecocks in contention with 13 points, but the rest of his teammates canned just 6 of 21 shots from the field.
–Field Level Media