Potent 3-point shooting guided the Vols to their 10th consecutive victory over South Carolina with a 69-57 win on Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Junior Skylar McBee nailed four 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 18 points to key the trifecta explosion as the Vols made 10 from beyond the arc.
The win evened Tennessee’s overall mark at 12-12 and moved the Vols to 4-5 in the SEC. The Gamecocks dropped their fourth in a row and fell to 9-14, 1-8 SEC. The Vols have now won 10 straight games over USC which has not won in Knoxville since 2002.
Trae Golden added 14 while Jeronne Maymon had 12 points and six rebounds. The Gamecocks were led by two-sport athlete Bruce Ellington, who had 12 and six assists.
AUDIO: Darrin Horn post game press conference
Senior Cameron Tatum became the 44th Vol in history to record 1,000 career points as he netted six with his 1,000th point coming on a 3-pointer in the final minute of the first half.
Tennessee led by as many as 15 in the second half, but that lead was short-lived as South Carolina clawed back to within five at 54-50 with 6:36 left in the second half, which finished a 16-5 run for USC. A Josh Richardsonjumper put the Vols back ahead 58-50, but USC scored the next five points to cut the deficit to three at 58-55 on a Bruce Ellington 3-point play with 4:07 on the clock.
The Vols withstood the charge as a pair of 3-point plays by Golden and Maymon moved the lead back to 10 points at 65-55 with 2:20 left.
The Vols used an 8-0 early in the second half to take a 43-30 lead that was punctuated by McBee’s fourth 3-pointer of the game with 16:46 left in the second half. A 3-pointer by Richardson with 13:44 left in the second half extended the lead to 15 at 49-34.
South Carolina got back to within seven points at 51-44 thanks to an 8-0 run keyed by back-to-back 3-pointers by Brenton Williams with 9:39 left in the half.
McBee scored all 11 of his first-half points in the final 2:54 as the Vols went on a 14-4 run to end the first half to lead 35-27 at intermission. Tatum scored his 1,000th career point on a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left in the half.
After being down by as many as five (12-7), the Vols took their first lead of the game since 2-0, at 21-20 on a pair of Golden free throws with 5:38 left in the game. Damien Leonard regained the USC lead on a 3-pointer with 3:15 left in the first half. But McBee answered seconds later as UT retook the advantage at 24-23. The teams traded leads on the game’s next four baskets.