Feb. 8, 2012
(9-14, 1-8 SEC)
(12-12, 4-5 SEC)
RJ Slawson 5
Cameron Tatum 4
RJ Slawson 1
McBee scored a career-high 18 points as he knocked down 4-of-7 on 3-pointers and 6-6 from the foul line.
4: Skylar McBee made four 3-pointers, his most in SEC play in his career.
10: The Vols have won 10 games in a row in the series with South Carolina, the longest win-streak in the series.
10: Tennessee made 10 3-pointers, the Vols most in an SEC game this season and equalling their most in two years as they also made 10 vs. LSU last season (1/26/11).
38: The Vols attempted just 38 field goals in the win. It was the lowest total for the Vols since Feb. 25, 1997, when UT shot 18-of-33 in a loss to Kentucky.
1,000: Cameron Tatum became the 44th Vol in history to score 1,000 points as he reached the mark with a 3-pointer in the final minute of the first half.
BY JOSH PATE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Skylar McBee scored a career-high 18 points behind four 3-pointers as Tennessee held off pesky South Carolina to win 69-57 Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Vols (12-12, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) shot 50 percent from the floor, including an 10-of-20 clip from beyond the 3-point line. South Carolina (9-14, 1-8 SEC) hit seven 3-pointers to keep pace, but 33.9 shooting from the floor slowed the Gamecocks.
"We did a good job tonight really shooting the ball around the perimeter," Martin said. "Fifty percent from the field, 50 percent from 3, 80 percent from the line - you've got a chance to win a lot of ball games when you play that way."
McBee, who earned his second consecutive start, scored in double figures for the second time in a row and third time in the last four games.
"Of course, when you hit one or two, your confidence boosts up a little bit and you just let them fly, don't even think about them, and I think that's what happened," McBee said of his 4-of-7 performance from 3-point range.
The Vols continued their hot streak at home, having won eight of the last nine games in Knoxville. They also beat the Gamecocks for the 10th consecutive time, although it wasn't easy.
Tennessee broke open a tight game late in the second half when McBee made three consecutive 3-pointers and two foul shots to help spark an 8-0 run and give the Vols a 35-27 lead at the break.
The Vols built upon their lead early in the second half. Trae Golden nailed a 3-pointer, and McBee added another one to make it 43-30 Vols. Kenny Hall hit a jumper and added a foul shot. Then Josh Richardson joined the scoring party by draining a 3-pointer with 13:44 remaining to make it 49-34, capping a 14-4 run by the Vols.
South Carolina, however, battled back. The Gamecocks cut the margin to just 4 points at 54-50 with 6:36 to play, mostly thanks to pressure defense that forced four turnovers during that span.
The Vols were held without a field goal for 7:38 until Josh Richardson's jumper ended the drought to preserve a 58-50 lead with 5:02 to play.
Still, the Gamecocks chipped away. Two free throws from Malik Cooke and a three-point play by Bruce Ellington cut the margin to 3 points at 58-55.
That's when Tennessee's shooters found the rim again. Golden converted a three-point play, then Jeronne Maymon matched him with a power move inside and the free throw conversion to build the lead back to 65-55 with 2:20 left. The Gamecocks couldn't recover as two free throws were all they could muster the rest of the way.
"It was a good fight to get back in it," said South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn. "Our pressure bothered them and our guys continued to play, but again we got down double figures on the road and in this league that's hard to deal with."
Golden scored 14 points for the Vols, and Maymon added 12 as the only other UT players in double figures. Hall, who earned the starting spot in place of an injured Jarnell Stokes, responded with a strong defensive effort of 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
The freshman Stokes was held out of the game with an injured right wrist.
Senior guard Cameron Tatum scored 6 points, but it was all he needed to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career at Tennessee. His money shot came on a 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining in the first half, making him the 44th Tennessee player to reach the milestone.
"A thousand points, a tremendous honor for him and his family," Martin said. "With the time he's put into it as a basketball player, it's a great thing and I'm really glad he got it done."
Ellington led South Carolina with 12 points. Damien Leonard and Brenton Williams added 11 each.
Tennessee's biggest concern was 14 turnovers. However, Martin went with a four-guard lineup in specific situations and admitted he had players out of position at times. The Vols were also a little winded as four of the starters played more than 30 minutes with Martin keeping his bench short against the Gamecocks.
Tennessee hits the road this weekend when it travels to Gainesville on Saturday to take on No. 8 Florida for a 4 p.m. tipoff (SEC Network).