#23 Tennessee (10-4 | 1-2 SEC) vs. South Carolina (10-4 | 1-1 SEC)
Tuesday, January 11th, 2022 | 5:30pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: SEC Network
Knoxville, TN – The 22nd-ranked Tennessee men’s basketball team returns to Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday, taking on South Carolina at 5:30pm CT. Fans can catch
Tuesday’s game on SEC Network and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (analysis) will have the call.
Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp calling the action. The broadcast is also available on channel 137 on Sirius, channel 190 on SiriusXM and channel 961 on the SiriusXM app.
Freshman guard Kennedy Chandler led Tennessee with 19 points. Junior guard Santiago Vescovi added 14, while junior forward Uros Plavsic had a season-high 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting along with seven rebounds off the bench.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with South Carolina, 48-28, dating to 1927. The Vols have won six of their last seven games against the Gamecocks.
The Volunteers own a 29-9 lead when this series is contested in Knoxville and have won four straight over the Gamecocks at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Victor Bailey Jr.’s best outing as a Vol came during last season’s home win over South Carolina. See “Last Meeting” note below.
Tuesday marks the 19th head-to-head meeting between good friends Rick Barnes and Frank Martin. See note below.
The Volunteers are riding a nine-game win streak at Thompson-Boling Arena, dating to last season.
In its last home game, Tennessee forced Ole Miss to commit 27 turnovers—a Barnes-era record.
Layup-Lines – Team
According to KenPom, the Vols rank third in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 87.7 points per 100 possessions. College teams typically average close to 70 possessions per game.
The Vols rank among the Division I top 15 in turnover margin (+6.3, 6th), steals per game (10.6, 8th), assists per game (17.6, 13th), and assist/turnover ratio (1.49, 15th).
Tennessee’s 11.8 turnovers per game is the lowest (best) average in the SEC.
The Vols have pulled down 10 or more offensive rebounds in 11 games this season, including each of the last seven.
Tennessee is one of only three SEC teams that has yet to surrender 80 points this season, joining LSU and Ole Miss.
Each of the four teams that have beaten Tennessee this season are ranked in this week’s AP Top 25.
Layup Lines – Players
Junior guard Santiago Vescovi has made at least three 3-pointers in each of the last four games. His 3.33 makes per game during SEC play ranks third in the league.
Junior forward Uros Plavsic is averaging 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds over UT’s last two games. He scored a season-high 12 points Saturday at LSU.
Kennedy Chandler’s 2.31 steals per game lead all Division I true freshmen. And his 5.2 assists per game rank second nationally among true freshmen.
Chandler ranks second in the SEC and 14th nationally with 2.31 steals per game.
The SEC record for career games played is 152, held by Kentucky’s Darius Miller (2008-12). John Fulkerson is closing in, having now appeared in a Tennessee-record 144 career games.
Fulkerson also is just 18 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
About the South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina (10-4, 1-1 SEC) enters Tuesday’s game having split its first two SEC games—falling to No. 9 Auburn at home, 81-66, before winning at Vanderbilt on Saturday, 72-70.
The non-conference portion of South Carolina’s schedule featured notable wins over Florida State and UAB, but losses to Princeton, Coastal Carolina, and Clemson.
The Gamecocks are 1-2 in true road games this season.
South Carolina ranks 40th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing 94.9 points per 100 possessions. The Gamecocks rank 188th in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 102.7 points per 100 possessions.
The Gamecocks’ leading scorer, senior guard Erik Stevenson, is averaging 17.0 points per game through South Carolina’s first two SEC games. Stevenson is in his first season at South Carolina, having transferred from Washington. Prior to playing the 2020-21 season at Washington, Stevenson played two seasons at Wichita State.
In total, South Carolina added six incoming transfers this season.
The Gamecocks rank 17th in the nation and second in the SEC with 13.5 offensive rebounds per game.
South Carolina is also holding its opponents to shooting 38.3 percent from the field, a mark that ranks 20th in the nation and third in the SEC.
Tennessee freshman guard Zakai Zeigler has a history playing against a pair of players on the Gamecocks’ roster. Zeigler played against South Carolina sophomore forward Josh Gray when they both attended high school in Long Island, NY and played against freshman forward Ta’Quan Woodley in various AAU tournaments and camps.
Last Meeting With South Carolina
An electrifying, 29-point performance from Victor Bailey Jr. and three other double-figure outputs pushed 19th-ranked Tennessee past South Carolina, 93-73, on February 17th, 2021, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Bailey finished the night 9-of-16 from the field and 7-of-10 from 3-point range. His seven treys tied for the most by a Volunteer during the Rick Barnes era.
Bailey also tallied a career-high-tying four assists with no turnovers, one block and a steal.
South Carolina was led in scoring by AJ Lawson, who finished the night with 20 points.
Tennessee forward John Fulkerson was all over the stat sheet, totaling a season-high 19 points, six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
Freshman Jaden Springer put together a consistent performance, scoring 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. Springer also logged five assists and three rebounds.
Senior Yves Pons was the fourth Vol to score in double-figures, totaling 10 points, a game-high nine rebounds, a pair of steals, and a block.
Coming off the bench for the first time in his career, sophomore guard Santiago Vescovi scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out five assists in 29 minutes of action.
The first half was defined by efficient shooting from both teams, as the combined field-goal percentage at the half was 49 percent (31-63). The teams also combined to shoot was 54 percent (13-24) from 3-point range over the first 20 minutes.
Despite the even shooting numbers, Tennessee used its ability to get to the line on a regular basis to take a 50-39 lead into the halftime break.
The Vols maintained their 11-point advantage for a majority of the opening 10 minutes of the second half while continuing to convert from the field at an efficient, 54-percent clip.
The Vols used a late 12-0 run to extend their advantage to as many as 22 points.
Memorable Tennessee 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 vs. the Cocks. 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 Now Under SEC Banner
Tennessee coach Rick Barnes and South Carolina headman Frank Martin meet for the 19th time as conference rivals Tuesday and the 12th 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 Kansas State.
Barnes holds a 10-8 edge in head-to-head meetings.
Next Up For UT Men’s Basketball
Following Tuesday’s game against the Gamecocks, the Tennessee men’s basketball team hits the road again this weekend for a matchup with Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00pm CT on ESPN.