KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee took sole possession of second place in the SEC standings Saturday night, dominating Ole Miss from start to finish in a 94-61 victory.
The No 18 Vols (17-5, 7-3 SEC) have won five straight and eight of nine after the blowout victory over the Rebels (11-12, 4-6) before the crowd of 18,316 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee’s front line dominated the paint against Ole Miss. Kyle Alexander, Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield filled up the stat sheet:
• Williams 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
• Alexander 14 points, 6 rebound, 4 blocked shots
• Schofield 15 points, 12 rebounds
Guards Lamonte Turner (17 points) and Jordan Bowden (10 points) also hit double-figure scoring for Tennessee.
Six different players hit 3-pointers for the Vols, led by Turner’s 5-of-6 marksmanship.
The Vols’ win, combined with Florida’s 68-50 loss to Alabama, moved Tennessee up in the league standings heading into next week’s games at Kentucky and against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Auburn, which played Vanderbilt Saturday night, was two games ahead of the Vols in the SEC standings in first.
Tennessee held a 35-25 lead at the half after leading by as 12 early on. Alexander was the leader in the plus-minus category, the Vols out-scoring the Rebels by 15 in the first half with him on the floor.
Ole Miss never led, but the Rebels did throw a scare into the Vols at the start of the second half. Ole Miss came out of the locker room and went on a 7-0 run to cut the Tennessee lead to 35-32 on a Terence Davis 3-pointer, providing just enough suspense to keep the crowd tuned in to what was otherwise a blowout.
Tennessee fans held their collective breath with 17:53 left as Schofield lay writhing on the floor in pain, clutching his right ankle. A replay showed Schofield stepped on Terence Davis’ foot. Schofield was helped up and walked slowly off the court, going directly to the locker room. At the 16:56 mark, Schofield checked back into the game, and appeared to be at 100 percent.
Ole Miss Zone
Tennessee raced out to a 12-3 lead accentuated by a James Daniel 3-pointer, and the Vols were up 17-9 after a Turner 3-pointer when Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy made what at the team appeared to be a key adjustment, switching to a 2-3 zone. The Rebels closed to 17-15 before the Vols solved the zone with an 8-0 run.