Head Coach Rick Barnes and the Volunteers look for an important in-conference win over South Carolina (13-12, 4-8 SEC) on Tuesday at 9 p.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Gamecocks lost their last five games, including three straight losses by deficits of 14 points or more.
In the last meeting, the Vols notched a 70-63 win over South Carolina in Columbia behind guard Lamonte Turner’s career-high tying 25 points.
Tennessee (18-6, 8-4 SEC) seeks redemption after a 78-50 loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. The Crimson Tide held Tennessee to a season-low 27 points in the first half and handed the Big Orange its worst loss of the season. Just one Volunteer reached double-digit scoring – Grant Williams with 16 points on just 5-of-12 shooting.
Alabama out-rebounded the usually stout Vols by a 40-35 margin. The Crimson Tide seemed to hit everything, as they shot 57 percent from the field and 35 percent from beyond-the-arc.
Meanwhile, Tennessee shot an incredibly low 27 percent from the field and just 23 percent from 3-point range. Alabama tallied at least two points from 10 different players. Freshman Collin Sexton led the Tide with 16 points and five rebounds on the night.
“We pretty much got what we deserved, it took us 10 minutes into that game before we were even close to being the defensive team we’ve been all year,” Barnes said. “Our offense didn’t help us at all because of guys breaking out on their own.”
The Gamecocks have not won since Jan. 24 at Florida. However, in their last game against the Gators on Saturday, South Carolina failed to get a win at home and sweep Florida for the season. Senior guard Frank Booker led the team with 17 points off the bench. Chris Silva added an additional 10 points in the 65-41 loss.
Florida got up early with a 41-20 lead at halftime and didn’t let up behind the guard duo of Chris Chiozza and Jalen Hudson, who tallied 24 points. The Gators held the Gamecocks to just 28 percent shooting from the field and just 15 percent shooting from 3-point range. Florida dogged South Carolina on the boards by a 46-24 margin. The Gators tallied 11 offensive rebounds in the win.
Silva and Booker headline the Gamecocks’ offensive attack, as the only two players averaging more than 10 points per game. Meanwhile, the Vols have three players including Grant Williams who average double-digits per game. Jordan Bowden just misses the mark with an average of 9.7 points per game. However, if Tennessee plays like it did Saturday, the Gamecocks may get the win.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for South Carolina obviously,” Barnes said. “They’re going to fight hard… They’ve had some offensive struggles as well, but they went to Florida and won a big game.”
Edited by Ben McKee
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics