Starkville, MS – No. 16 Tennessee went to one of the toughest environments in the SEC and dominated Mississippi State, 76-54, in Humphrey Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Coming off a career performance Saturday at Ole Miss, Admiral Schofield played lights out once again, finishing with 24 points and seven boards to lead the Vols (22-7, 12-5 SEC). The win guaranteed Tennessee a top-two finish in the SEC this season and a double-bye in the SEC Tournament next week.
Mississippi State (21-9, 9-8 SEC) pulled within four points early in the second half at 44-40, but UT responded with a 12-2 run to make it a 14-point game with 12:08 remaining.
Tennessee extended its lead to 19 after a layup by Lamonte Turner made it a 64-45 game at the 8:40 mark. Turner finished with 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting.
In the second period, Tennessee rattled off 11 consecutive made shots to take the crowd out of the game and gain an insurmountable lead. The Vols shot an impressive 68 percent (15-of-22) from the floor in the period.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 25-18 advantage with less than 10 minutes remaining in the opening period, but an 8-0 run evened things up for the Volunteers after a 10-foot jumper by Jordan Bone.
With the shot clock under four seconds, James Daniel III was forced to take a 35-foot three to avoid a shot-clock violation, which he banked in to tie things up at 30-30. The clutch shot sparked a 13-4 run for UT over the final five minutes of the frame.
Schofield had another strong start, dropping 11 points to give Tennessee a 40-34 lead going into halftime. Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 10 points for Mississippi State.
With 14:44 left in the game, Derrick Walker knocked down a basket to make it a 48-40 game. The bucket marked the first of what would be 11 consecutive made shots by the Volunteers over the next nine minutes of play, capped off by a trey from Lamonte Turner. During the stretch, UT outscored the Bulldogs, 23-12, to pull away.
Winning In the Hump
Entering Tuesday night’s contest, Mississippi State was 18-1 at home this season, but UT became just the second team to come up victorious in Humphrey Coliseum, joining Auburn. Between the men’s and women’s teams, MSU is now a combined 34-2 on the season when playing at home, the best record in college basketball.
Next Up for UT Men’s Basketball
The Vols return home for their regular-season finale and Senior Night in a rematch against Georgia on Saturday, March 3rd at 5:00pm CT. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.