#1 Tennessee (18-1 | 6-0 SEC) at South Carolina (10-9 | 5-1 SEC)
Tuesday, January 29th, 2019 | 5:30pm CT
Columbia, SC | Colonial Life Arena | TV: SEC Network
Columbia, SC – No. 1 Tennessee Vols Basketball is back on the road Tuesday night, taking on the South Carolina Gamecocks at Colonial Life Arena.
The game will tip at 5:30pm CT and and will be televised on SEC Network and can also be viewed online through WatchESPN. Fans can listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp describing the action.
Tennessee (18-1, 6-0 SEC) is currently riding a 14-game win streak, most recently topping West Virginia in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday in front of a sold-out Thompson-Boling Arena.
Lamonte Turner dropped 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field in his first start since he was a freshman.
Grant Williams was named the Citizen Naismith Trophy National Player of the Week after averaging 31 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 steals in two games.
South Carolina (10-9, 5-1 SEC) has been one of the hottest teams in the SEC since the start of conference play, boasting wins over Auburn, Florida and Mississippi State. The Gamecocks brought back their best player from last year’s squad in Chris Silva.
The 2018 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-SEC honoree is averaging 13.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 2.1 bpg. The junior forward is shooting 51 percent from the floor and has a knack for getting to the free-throw line, where he is 85-of-112 (.759) on the season.
UT stays on the road after Tuesday’s showdown, heading to College Station to take on Texas A&M on Saturday. That game will tip at 7:00pm CT and will be televised on ESPN.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with South Carolina, 44-27, dating to 1927. The Vols have won each of the last two meetings.
South Carolina owns a 16-15 advantage when the series is played in Columbia.
A Win Would
Extend Tennessee’s win streak to 15 games, which would tie the longest win streak in program history. The Tennessee Vols won 15 straight from February 19th, 1915, through January 13th, 1917 (spanning parts of three seasons).
Stretch the Vols’ true road game win streak to seven.
Give UT an eight-game win streak in regular-season SEC contests.
Give Tennessee its first undefeated January since 1945.
Give the Vols a .500 record against South Carolina in Columbia.
Make the Tennessee Vols 4-1 all-time as the AP’s top-ranked team.
At tipoff Tuesday, 66 full days will have elapsed since Tennessee’s last loss.
This is Tennessee’s best start to SEC play since it won its first eight league games in 1981-82.
The Volunteers received 48 of 64 first-place votes in this week’s AP Top 25 poll. This is the third week in history that Tennessee has been ranked No. 1.
This is Rick Barnes‘ longest win streak since he led Texas to a 17-0 start to open the 2009-10 season.
The Vols have shot 50 percent or better in 13 games this season.
Tennessee’s average home attendance of 18,406 ranks fourth nationally.
Grant Williams leads the SEC in scoring (20.2 ppg), ranks second in field-goal percentage (.571), 10th in assists (3.6 apg) and ninth in rebounding (7.3 rpg).
Admiral Schofield is the SEC’s fifth-leading scorer (16.6 ppg), and is shooting .409 from 3-point range.
Williams and Schofield both earned a spot on the 25-man Wooden Award Midseason Watch List.
Point guard Jordan Bone owns the eighth-best assist/turnover ratio (3.53) in Division I and ranks 18th in the country in assists per game (6.3 apg).
Lamonté Turner is averaging 10.3 points off the bench in SEC play and scored a season-high 23 points Saturday vs. West Virginia.
During league play, SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jordan Bowden ranks second on the team and eighth in the SEC with 16.2 points per game.
About the South Carolina Gamecocks
One of the biggest surprises in SEC play this season has been the performance of South Carolina. The Gamecocks (10-9, 5-1 SEC) struggled during non-conference play, but head coach Frank Martin’s team has it rolling in league play.
The Gamecocks brought back their best player from last year’s squad in Chris Silva. The 2018 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-SEC honoree is averaging 13.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 2.1 bpg. The junior forward is shooting 51 percent from the floor and has a knack for getting to the free-throw line, where he is 85-of-112 (.759) on the season.
Freshman guard A.J. Lawson leads the team in scoring (13.2 ppg), assists (2.7 apg) and steals (1.4 spg). He’s joined by redshirt senior guard Hassani Gravett (11.4 ppg, 2.3 apg) in the backcourt. Gravett has been the team’s leading scorer (15.0 ppg) in conference play and is threat from beyond the arc (36 3FG; .400 3FG%).
South Carolina also has a versatile performer in junior forward Maik Kotsar (8.5 ppg), who is second on the team in rebounding (5.3 rpg), blocks (1.4 bpg) and steals (1.2 spg).
Tennessee Vols Last Meeting vs. South Carolina
Despite a strong final push from South Carolina, No. 18 Tennessee held on and completed the regular-season sweep of the Gamecocks, 70-67, on February 13th, 2018, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Grant Williams hit a challenged layup with 11 seconds left to put Tennessee ahead by three points, and South Carolina’s Justin Minaya missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.
In the possession preceding Williams’s basket, South Carolina cut a Tennessee lead that had grown to as many as 14 points down to just one with 36.8 seconds left on a Frank Booker driving layup.
Trailing for most of the first half, South Carolina came out firing in the second half and tied the game at 40 with 18:29 remaining, but a 18-5 run by the Vols helped UT regain control. Soon after, the Gamecocks responded with a 10-0 run of their own to cut the Tennessee lead to four points, but the Vols answered once again with a spurt that extended the lead to nine points.
Tennessee led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but did not make a field goal in the final 4:27 of the half and went into the break ahead by just four points, 38-34.
Memoralable Tennessee Vols Performances Against South Carolina
On December 6th, 1969, unranked Tennessee strolled into Columbia and upset the No. 1-ranked Gamecocks, 55-54, thanks to 20 points from Jimmy England, and double-doubles by Don Johnson (18 pts, 12 rebs) and Bobby Croft (12 pts, 13 rebs).
A two-overtime thriller in Columbia saw South Carolina pull out a 111-107 win on February 10th, 1993, despite 20-point efforts from Allan Houston (29), Lang Wiseman (26) and Corey Allen (22).
Wayne Chism scored 23 points, JaJuan Smith added 19 and Tyler Smith had 13, but it was Chris Lofton’s 25-footer with 12.0 seconds remaining that lifted the Vols to an 89-87 win over South Carolina in the 2008 SEC Tournament in Atlanta on March 14th, 2008.
2011 first-team All-SEC guard Scotty Hopson had a bright career against South Carolina, owning a sterling 6-0 record against the Gamecocks. Hopson threw down a posterizing dunk in the 2011 Knoxville win that placed fourth in the CBS Dunk of the Year Contest.
Former Big 12 Rivals Barnes, Martin New Under SEC Banner
Tennessee coach Rick Barnes and South Carolina headman Frank Martin meet for the 14th time as conference rivals Tuesday, but just the seventh time under the SEC banner.
The two squared off seven times as coaches in the Big 12 Conference, when Barnes was with Texas and Martin was at the helm at Kansas State.
Martin owns a 7-6 edge in head-to-head meetings.
The 52-year-old Martin went 117-54 in five seasons at Kansas State, taking his 2009-10 squad to the Elite Eight and winning the Big 12 Coach of the Year award that same season. Barnes was one of the top coaches in the Big 12 during his 17-year tenure at Texas, winning four Big 12 Coach of the Year awards.
Martin accepted the head coaching position at South Carolina in 2012 and owns a 109-86 record with the Gamecocks.
Tennessee Vols Off To Hot SEC Start
Tennessee’s 6-0 start to SEC play is its best start in league play since it won its first eight conference games in 1981-82.
That season also marks the last time Tennessee won its first four SEC road games. This year’s Vols could match that feat with a victory on Tuesday.
Head coach Don DeVoe guided Dale Ellis and the Vols to a 13-5 league mark to tie for the SEC Championship that season. Tennessee finished 20-10 overall after falling to a Ralph Sampson-led Virginia squad in the NCAA Tournament.
Dating to the start of last season, Tennessee has won 18 total games away from home.
That includes victories this year over Louisville and Gonzaga (both at neutral sites) as well as wins at Memphis, Missouri, Florida and Vanderbilt.