Columbia, SC - Another double-double by Jarnell Stokes and clutch 3-pointers by Jordan McRae and Skylar McBee lifted the Vols to their first road win of the season, 66-61, over South Carolina, at Colonial Life Arena on Sunday. The Vols moved to 12-10 overall, 4-6 in the SEC. South Carolina fell to 12-11 and 2-8 in the league.
Stokes continued to exert his power as he recorded his fifth consecutive double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. That included five offensive rebounds, including two crucial ones in the final minutes. It was Stokes’ second-career 20-point game and ninth double-double of the season.Junior guard Trae Golden returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a hamstring injury and tallied 16 points, his most points in nearly two months.
The Vols have now won 12 consecutive games vs. South Carolina, winning every meeting since 2007, including six in a row in Columbia.
South Carolina was led by Michael Carrera, who had a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Brian Richardson tallied 14 points.
The Vols’ Josh Richardson did a great job defending USC’s Bruce Ellington, limiting him to just six points.
The game tied 12 times and the lead changed hands 16 times. Neither team led by more than seven points all afternoon
McRae picked a great time for his first basket of the game after missing his first five shots. McRae knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:30 left to give the Vols a 58-57 lead, forcing Frank Martin to call a South Carolina timeout. That basket gave the Vols the lead for good.
Ellington missed a trey on the ensuring possession. Then Stokes corralled an offensive rebound off a Golden miss which was converted by Skylar McBee for another 3-pointer. That put the Vols ahead by two possessions with less than two minutes left, 61-57.
Golden added two more free throws with 46.8 left in regulation to put the Vol ahead 63-58. McRae sealed the game with two more foul shots with 24 seconds left, as the Vols equalled their largest lead of the game at seven, 65-58.
McBee’s first 3-pointer of game regained the Vols lead at 54-52 with 5:35 left.But Carrera answered with a jumper to re-tie the game at 54 with 4:40 left.
The Vols used an 8-0 run to rally from a 39-36 deficit to take a 44-39 lead as Golden turned up his game. The guard reeled off six consecutive points to put the Vols back in front by two possessions with 12:48 left in the second half.
South Carolina responded with a 10-2 spurt to regain the lead at 49-46 with 10 minutes left in regulation on a layup by Brian Richardson.
Tennessee held a 32-29 lead at halftime led by Stokes’ 12 points. For the first 15:45 of the game, neither team led by more than one possession in the first half as the largest margin for both teams was three.
The Vols ripped off a 6-0 run including the first four points from Golden in his return to action. Stokes’ tip-in with 3:52 left pushed the lead to 28-21– the largest of the half.
The teams were virtually even for the first 11 minutes as neither team led by more than two points. The game was tied six times and the lead changes hands five times after a Stokes layup with 9:40 left in the first half. That tied the game at 16.
The Vols return to action on Wednesday night as Tennessee plays at Vanderbilt. That game airs on the SEC Network and can be heard on the Vol Network at 7 p.m.