Knoxville, TN – In front of a season-high crowd of 22,149, No. 1 Tennessee pulled away from the West Virginia Mountaineers, 83-66, to extend its winning streak to 14 games, tying the second-longest mark in program history.
The Vols move to 5-1 all-time in the SEC/Big-12 Challenge and are winners of their last three games in the cross-conference series.
In his first start since the final game of the 2016-17 season, Lamonte Turner led the Vols (18-1) with a season-high 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Admiral Schofield recorded his third double-double of the season, finishing with a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with 14 points.
Tennessee Vols Basketball’s Lamonte Turner ties his season-high with 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting to lead Vols to third straight win in SEC/Big-12 Challenge. (UT Athletics)
In total, Tennessee had four players score in double figures, with Grant Williams posting 19 points and Jordan Bowden tallying 15 off the bench. Those four players combined for 71 of the team’s 83 points Saturday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena.
After taking an 11-point lead into halftime, Tennessee played nearly the entire second half with a double-digit lead. Turner quickly pushed the lead to 15 points within the first minute of the second half. The redshirt junior had a layup on the opening possession then stripped West Virginia’s (9-11) Jermaine Haley before converting on another layup.
The Vols continued to pressure the Mountaineers in the second half, forcing them to turn the ball over 14 times in the final 20 minutes of play. In all, West Virginia turned the ball over 24 times, the most turnovers by any Tennessee opponent this season.
UT took advantage, scoring 24 of its 52 points in the second half off of Mountaineer turnovers. On the other end, Turner continued to stay hot in the second half, converting on all five of his field-goal attempts to add 12 points to his game-high scoring line.
With just two points at the midway point of the game, Bowden gave Tennessee a boost off the bench in the second half. The junior scored 13 points in just 14 minutes in the second half, going 5-of-8 from the field in the second frame.
After trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, Tennessee worked its way back into the game with its effort on the defensive end. The Vols held the Mountaineers scoreless for a stretch of more than nine and a half minutes from the 11:05 mark to the 1:34 mark of the first half.
That allowed UT to go on a 17-0 run, capped off by a Williams layup and-one conversion to give Tennessee a 24-19 advantage with just over two minutes left in the first half.
Over the last 11 minutes of the first half, the Vols limited West Virginia to just two points as Tennessee went on a 24-2 run to take a 31-21 lead into the locker room.
After being held scoreless for much of the half, Williams accounted for eight of UT’s final 11 points in the opening frame, scoring all eight points in the final 2:20 minutes. Turner led all scorers with 11 points in the first half, converting on a trio of three pointers on five attempts.
First-Half Defensive Stand
During the first half, Tennessee held West Virginia scoreless from 11:05 remaining in the half all the way until the 1:34 mark. Over the course of that span, the Vols forced the Mountaineers to miss 13 consecutive field goals.
Turner Starts and Shines
2018 SEC Co-Sixth Man of the Year Lamonte Turner’s start at guard against West Virginia was his first start since March 9, 2017. Turner responded by leading all scorers with a season-high 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Turner also had a game-high-tying five assists.
With the win over West Virginia, Tennessee has now won 14 games in a row. The streak is Tennessee’s longest since the 1922-23 season, when the Vols opened the year with 14 consecutive victories. Tennessee’s all-time longest win streak is 15 games, spanning from Feb. 20, 1915, to Jan. 20, 1917.
SEC/Big 12 Challenge: Tennessee improved to 4-1 all-time in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge following its win over West Virginia, and has now won three consecutive games in the event.
Up Next for Tennessee Vols
The Tennessee Vols travel to Columbia for a midweek matchup with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Tuesday’s night, January 29th tipoff is scheduled for 5:30pm CT on SEC Network.
SectionsAssociations, Basketball (Men), Colleges, Featured Story, NCAA, Southeastern Conference, Sports, University of Tennessee
TopicsAdmiral Schofield, Gamecocks, Grant Williams, Jordan Bowden, Knoxville TN, Lamonte Turner, Mountaineers, SEC, South Carolina, Southeastern Conference, Tennessee, Thompson-Boling Arena, UT, UT Basketball, UT Men's Basketball, Vols, Volunteers, West Virginia