COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The energy was high at Colonial Life Arena as fans packed the building from top to bottom.
South Carolina fans hoped to pick up their first win over a top-ranked team since 2010.
However, Grant Williams and the Vols ensured that wouldn’t happen. Tennessee had four players in double figures against the Gamecocks to hand the home team a 92-70 loss.
“We tried,” said South Carolina head coach Frank Martin. "They’re just too physical for us. We made bad mistakes defensively. Like I told you guys earlier in the week, they’re relentless in making the right play on offense and defense and every time we made a mistake, they made us pay. Their guys
South Carolina stuck with Tennessee early on, but the Vols found separation following the first media timeout. Rick Barnes’ squad went on a 10-4 run to take a 20-14 lead with just under 12 minutes left in the half. In that run, South Carolina committed five turnovers.
Chris Silva did his best to keep the Gamecocks within striking distance. The South Carolina senior had 22 of his 28 points in the first half. However, Grant Williams matched Silva’s production coming up with 17 first-half points as Tennessee entered halftime with a 47-38 lead. Tennessee shot 58 percent from the floor at the half with 16 points off turnovers and 20 points in the paint.
With South Carolina trailing by eight, Tre Campbell helped the Gamecocks cut the deficit down to two. Knocking down a three and coming away with another three free throws, Campbell’s six-point swing made it a 60-58 game. Campbell finished with 14 points.
But Tennessee would again show their resolve to win. The Vols would go on an 18-7 run to go up 78-65. The Volunteers would lead by as many as 18 on their way to their 15th consecutive win.
South Carolina is now 10-10 and will travel to Georgia on Feb. 2.