KNOXVILLE - South Carolina didn't make it easy, but Tennessee finally fended off the pesky Gamecocks in the second half with a 73-67 home Southeastern Conference victory on Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Scotty Hopson scored a game-high 23 points for the Volunteers (16-10, 6-5 SEC), and Cameron Tatum (13) and Tobias Harris (10) each scored in double figures. Brian Williams had 10 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. The Vols shot 52 percent in the second half and held South Carolina (13-11, 4-7) to 33 percent shooting.
Malik Cooke led South Carolina with 22 points and made three of the Gamecocks' 10 3-pointers.
The Vols led 33-25 at halftime and pushed the lead to 39-27 early in the second half, but UT never led by more than 10 until Hopson's three-point play with 3:50 left pushed the lead back up to 11. Even then, South Carolina forced UT to finish the game at the free-throw line, where UT made just 21 of 35 attempts.
It was UT's eighth consecutive win over the Gamecocks, who haven't won in Knoxville since 2001.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...