USC put up a fight with 11th ranked Tennessee for a half, but the Vols eventually wore down the Gamecocks in the second half and ran away to an 85-45 win in front of 20,273 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville. The Gamecocks trailed 38-26 at the half but were outscored 13-4 in the first five minutes of the second half as the Vols turned the game into a rout.
USC hit back to back buckets to get back to within 17 points, but the Vols responded with the next 14 points for a 65-34 lead with 7:05 to play. The Vols went on to post a 40 point win. In early January they beat the Gamecocks in Columbia by 43 points.
USC shot 35% for the game including 18% from three (4-22). The Vols finished at 58% for the game and made 10-23 from three-point range. They outscored the Gamecocks in the paint 46-24 and turned 14 turnovers into 21 points. The Gamecocks forced only four turnovers.
Hayden Brown was the Gamecocks’ only double-digit scorer with 18 points. He had seven of the team’s 19 made field goals, and three of their four made three-pointers. The team’s leading scorer, GG Jackson, missed all four of his three-pointers. He was 2-12 overall and finished with five points and four rebounds.
The Gamecocks are 10-19 and 3-13 in the SEC. The loss clinched a spot for USC in the first round of the SEC Tournament as one of the bottom four teams in the standings.