USC los to Tennessee 72-53 Saturday afternoon in Knoxville. As the score indicates, it wasn’t even close. The Gamecocks have now lost 13 in a row to the Vols. You have to go all the way back to February 17th of 2007 to find the last time the USC solved the Tennessee riddle. Saturday’s loss drops the Gamecocks to 1-9 in SEC play. They return home next week to face Vanderbilt and Alabama.
Here’s what Frank Martin had to say after the game:
A 23-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome as South Carolina (8-15, 1-9 SEC) was defeated 72-53 by Tennessee (15-8, 6-4 SEC) this afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Senior guard Jordan McRae led the Vols with a game-high 24 points, shooting 6-of-8 from 3, as Jarnell Stokes added 17 points and eight rebounds. Freshman guard Sindarius Thornwell paced the Gamecocks with 15 points and four assists.
Carolina was unable to slow the Volunteers down from the get go as Tennessee started the game on a 14-2 run, that saw Thornwell score Carolina’s first basket of the game just over five minutes into the contest.
Thornwell continued to try and keep the Gamecocks in the game as he score five-straight to cut the deficit to 16-7 with 12:14 on the clock. The freshman added a jumper a minute later before another Carolina player scored. Sophomore forward Laimonas Chatkevicius recorded the next six for the Gamecocks, but the Vols kept coming in the form of McRae with three 3s in a two and a half minute span.
Tennessee ended the half on a 17-7 run with McRae burying a deep 3 for his 20th point of the half to lead all scorers. The senior went 5-7 from beyond the arc as the Vols took a 45-22 lead into the half.
The Gamecocks started the second half with a 7-3 edge in the early going, with a pair of buckets from Mindaugas Kacinas and an and-one from Duane Notice. After a pair of free throws from Tennessee’s Antonio Barton, Brenton Williams sunk three free throws for his first points of the game after being knocked down on the 3-point attempt.
The senior guard followed that up with a 3 that ignited a 10-0 run to cut the Vols’ lead to 54-41 with 9:41 remaining. Armani Moore, though, hit a triple for the Vols just before Tennessee called a timeout. McRae added three more less than a minute later as the lead began to hover around the 20-point mark the remainder of the game.
South Carolina would outscore Tennessee 31-27 over the final 20 minutes, but it wasn’t enough as the Vols shot 28-53 (52.8 percent) for the game compared to Carolina’s 20-56 (35.7 percent). Tennessee held a 36-31 edge on the glass and a 38-28 scoring advantage in the paint.
Sophomore Brian Steele finished the day with a career high seven points in 26 minutes, while Williams added nine points and Notice chipped in eight.
Game story from USC SID**