The South Carolina Gamecocks (14-12 5-7 SEC) usually rock their homecourt, only losing to a pair of ranked opponents: Baylor and Vandy and even upsetting UK with Devan Downey's monumental 30 pts in that big game. But Tennessee (20-6 8-4 SEC) was hungry for a road win.
But the home rims didn't help anyone's shots. The first half was dominated by sloppy play with both teams stars: Wayne Chism and Devan Downey having subpar performances (4 pts and 3 pts respectively).
South Carolina had the edge at half because of great perimeter and post defense. Their undersized big men fronted Wayne Chism and Brian Williams and stopped them from getting their usual touches. Tennessee, traditionally a three point shooting machine, was only shooting 2 of 7.
In the second half, the teams began to heat up with Downey using his quickness to the line and the young big men Brian Williams and Kenny Hall really starting to help out inside and on the boards.
This game finally got entertaining when scorers like Devan Downey and Chism finally started knocking down outside shots. A highlight of this segment was an emphatic throwdown by Bobby Maze.
The 'Cocks cut Tennessee's lead to two with a clutch triple by Mr. Reliable- Downey, but the boys from Rocky Top hadn't finished cookin their grits.
Starting out with an athletic putback slam by the diaper dandy Kenny Hall, Tennessee played at a much faster pace and aggressively attacked SC's less athletic frontcourt and got to the line. This 9-0 run ended the Gamecocks' chance at an upset.
The two wins over Georgia and South Carolina should be great for Tennessee's confidence when they play two talented rivals: Florida and Kentucky at Thompson Boling Arena.
The player of the game was Wayne Chism, who might have not had his best scoring performance (11 points) but along with Brian Williams and Hall dominated the boards for Tennessee and gave them those extra dunks and free throws which gave them the win.