Nashville, TN – A second-half run vaulted the No. 5 Tennessee Vols to an 83-76 victory over Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday night at Bridgestone Arena.
All-SEC wing Admiral Schofield finished with a game-high 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor. Kyle Alexander posted a dominant performance, dropping 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Grant Williams also chipped in 16 points in the game. Jordan Bone narrowly missed a double-double with 14 points and nine assists. Lamonte Turner was also effective at getting open shots for his teammates, dishing out eight assists to go with four steals. Jordan Bowden rounded out UT’s double-digit scorers with 10 points.
Mississippi State had four players scorer in double figures, with Aric Holman’s 20 points on five 3-pointers leading the way.
Similar to the first half, both teams traded buckets to begin the second half. However, a 10-0 run by Tennessee made it a 13-point game with 9:33 to play. The run was highlighted by a one-handed slam by Schofield over a Mississippi State player to give the Vols all the momentum.
The game was never close than seven points after the swing in UT’s favor. Tennessee sealed the victory by knocking down seven of its final nine shots. For the game, UT shot 52 percent (34-of-66) from the floor.
The first half went back and forth between the both teams swapping baskets. The Bulldogs held an early lead, but the Vols responded with a 9-0 run to pull ahead with 10 minutes left.
Tennessee kept at least a two-possession game for the remainder of the period to head into the break up, 34-28. UT dominated the paint in the first half, outscoring Mississippi State, 24-18, down low. On the defensive side of the court, the Big Orange had six steals, three blocks and limited the Bulldogs to just 18-percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Williams led all scorers in the half with 10 points. Schofield chipped in nine points, while Alexander had eight points, four rebounds, two steals and a block.
Next Up For Tennessee Vols
The Tennessee Vols will play Kentucky on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals. That game will start at approximately 2:30pm CT and will be televised on ESPN.