Tennessee-South Carolina: Chism's Career Night Downs Downey, Gamecocks

Patrick MacCoonContributor IFebruary 6, 2010

It was all smiles and laughs for the Wayne Chism and the No. 14-ranked Tennessee Volunteers Saturday night, as they downed Devan Downey and South Carolina, 79-53.

Chism had a career-high 30 points. His previous high of 27 points came against Auburn March 14, 2009.

Chism, who has averaged 14.1 points in SEC play, was 11 for 17 from the field, including two three-pointers, and he hit six of eight free throws.

Downey, the SEC's leading scorer, finished with 26 points on five of 20 from the field.

Coming into this game, the Vols knew that it was key to keep Downey in check, especially in the first half. They did exactly that, as Bobby Maze and others managed to outman Downey.

By halftime, the Vols held a commanding 30-16 lead.

Early in the second half, the Vols broke away from the Gamecocks as they went on an 8-0 run, and a three-point jumper by Scotty Hopson put the score at 42-20 just more than four minutes into the second half. Hopson would finish with 11 points.

Another big story for the Vols was that Brian Williams was reinstated and joined the team. He was in a warmup jacket on the bench the whole game. 

With the Vols' team chemistry as good as it has ever been right now, it will be interesting to see when and how they will use Williams—especially considering in the next week, they will be traveling to Nashville to take on No. 20 Vanderbilt, and later in the week, they will have a showdown with the No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats.

The next two games for the Vols will be most likely the two biggest SEC games for the rest of the year, as they are in a three-way battle for first place. Kentucky is currently in first with a 7-1 record in SEC play, with Vanderbilt and Tennessee right behind them at 6-2.

After destroying the Gamecocks, the Vols find themselves in the thick of the SEC East race.