KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee basketball hit a garnet-clad wall Wednesday night.
South Carolina scored a 70-60 victory against the Vols at Thompson-Boling Arena, winning in such convincing fashion that half of the half-full arena emptied long before the final horn.
South Carolina’s ball-pressure defense pushed the Vols’ offense far from the basket, complicating entry-level passes and making catches difficult.
Tennessee falls to 8-8 and 1-3 in the SEC with the loss, while South Carolina improves to 13-3 and 3-0.
Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Grant Williams paced the Vols with 15 points, hitting 3-of-8 shots from the field and 9 of 12 from the free throw line.
Both teams were sloppy with the basketball, each committing 22 turnovers.
The difference was on the perimeter, where the Gamecocks were 7-of-13 shooting the 3-pointer, the Vols just 1 of 11.
Lamonte Turner’s 3-pointer with 1:51 left was UT’s first of the night and drew a sarcastic cheer from what remained of the crowd.
South Carolina held a 27-21 lead at the half, even though the Vols held the Gamecocks scoreless over the final 4:40 and finished on a 9-0 run.
South Carolina opened the second half on a 7-0 run and UT couldn’t draw closer than six points for the rest of the game.
Tennessee basketball player of the game
Williams is only 6-foot-5, but the true freshman makes the most out of his size. Williams had 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots to go along with his 15 points.
What’s next for Tennessee basketball
The Vols play at Vanderbilt at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville. The Commodores are coming off an 87-81 home loss to Kentucky on Tuesday night and are 8-8 overall and 2-2 in SEC action.
Tennessee basketball boxscore vs. South Carolina
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) January 12, 2017