After suffering a frustrating loss to Missouri in its last outing, No. 21 Tennessee (13-5, 4-3 SEC) traveled to South Carolina on Saturday evening and defeated the Gamecocks 70-63.
In the hard-fought win, Lamonte Turner led the way for the Vols, scoring 25 points, hauling in six rebounds and assisting on two buckets. In 32 minutes of play, the redshirt-sophomore turned it over just two times.
With the other primary guards struggling and just 1-of-8 from the floor, Turner picked up the slack. Turner was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line, four of which came with the game on the line and under 30 seconds remaining. Saturday was the third time this season that Turner has come off the bench and scored at least 20 points.
Tennessee shot an impressive 58 percent from the field to start the game, but thanks to nine first half turnovers, it only led South Carolina 33-30 at halftime.
Along with Turner stepping up, freshman forward Derrick Walker stepped up as well. In the first half, Walker scored eight points on 4-of-4 shooting. He would finish a perfect 5-for-5 from the field for a career-high 10 points.
“When your name is called,” Walker said after the game. “You have to step up.”
“Derrick has responded this week, in terms of what we need to do,” Barnes said of Walker. “And his teammates have told him we need you. We need you to come in and play physical for us, be a guy that can help us with some possessions.”
South Carolina (12-7, 3-4 SEC) jumped out to an early lead, but Tennessee would take the lead and not relinquish it for almost 37 minutes of play.
The Gamecocks shot 36 percent from the field in the first half and struggled from the floor for most of the second half as well. However, South Carolina found success from beyond-the-arc to stay within striking distance in the second half.
The Gamecocks connected on six of their ten three-point attempts in the final 20 minutes of play. Due to Tennessee’s success in the paint though, the Vols were able to counter the Gamecocks success from distance. The Vols out-scored South Carolina 32-16 in the paint.
Tennessee was able to close out the win with strong defensive play. The Vols went on an 11-3 run – making six clutch free throws – as South Carolina shot just 1-of-11 from the floor during this stretch.
Justin Minaya and Wesley Myers led South Carolina, both finding success from three-point range and scoring 16 points. Tennessee was able to keep Chris Silva in check after his breakout performance against Kentucky earlier in the week. Silva committed four fouls and was held to just six points on 1-of-5 shooting.
For the Vols, Grant Williams scored 14 points. Admiral Schofield contributed 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.
After back-to-back road games, Tennessee will return home to face Vanderbilt on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET. The Vols will then travel to Ames, Iowa for the Big 12/SEC Challenge. They’ll take on Iowa State next Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
Edited by Seth Raborn
Feature image courtesy of South Carolina Athletics