March 6, 2004
KNOXVILLE - - Scooter McFadgon scored 17 points, including 9 of the Vols' last 15 in the final 5:21, to lead Tennessee to a 63-56 win over South Carolina Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Brandon Crump scored 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, while C.J. Watson added 15 points and 6 assists. Watson surpassed 300 career assists today, while Crump was 7-of-7 from the field and had seven boards in the second half.
Josh Gonner paced four South Carolina players in double figures with 13 points.
"I was worried late in the game because South Carolina had the momentum going for it, UT head coach Buzz Peterson said. “This was a game where Brandon Crump got us off to a good start, and Scooter McFadgon finished it for us.
With the win Tennessee improves to 15-12 (7-9 SEC), while South Carolina falls to 21-9 (8-8). The Vols must await tonight’s Vanderbilt-Georgia game before they know where they will be seeded for the SEC Tournament that begins Thursday in Atlanta.
If Georgia wins tonight, the Vols will be the SEC East’s No. 6 seed and will play the West No. 3 seed in Game 4 at 9:45 p.m. If Vanderbilt defeats Georgia, UT will earn the East’s No. 5 seed and will play the No. 4 seed from the West at 1 p.m. in Game 1.
“I'm excited about going to Atlanta right now; I like the way we're playing offensively,” Peterson said. Really, we're executing at both ends of the floor. Atlanta is a neutral site, and we need to go down there and play with confidence. I wish somebody would explain to me why we play so well at home, and play poorly on the road.
After South Carolina had cut the UT lead to two, 48-46, McFadgon hit consecutive jumpers, including a three-pointer to push the Vols' lead back to 53-46. On Tennessee's next possession Brandon Crump followed a McFadgon miss to give UT a 55-46 advantage with 3:21 remaining.
The Vols led 32-21 at halftime and opened their advantage to 13 points (40-27) on a Crump layup with 14:58 remaining.
But South Carolina came back to close the gap to 42-40 with 8:25 to go on a basket by Tre Kelley, capping an 13-2 Gamecock run.
"It was a half of missed opportunities,” said USC coach Dave Odom. “We'd get close, and then turn the ball over. There were the same one or two guys who turned it over. We have to get the ball into the right guys' hands.
Tennessee, which finished the season 14-3 (7-1 SEC) at home this season, outrebounded the Gamecocks 29-24 after amassing a 16-6 advantage in the first half.
The Vols had just one point off the bench today on a free throw by Stanley Asumnu as the USC bench outscored the Vols 12-1.
UT improved to just 3-11 this season when scoring less than 70 points.