Tennessee keeps rolling, crushes South CarolinaJan 13, 2008 - 4:43 AM COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Tennessee surged to the lead and then turned it over to a suffocating defense to bring home its ninth consecutive victory.
JaJuan Smith led four players in double figures with 15 points as the ninth-ranked Volunteers cruised to an 80-56 win over South Carolina in a Southeastern Conference battle on Saturday.
"We go as JaJuan Smith goes," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "He went up against some great guards and was really impressive."
Tennessee (14-1, 2-0 SEC East) held South Carolina to 33 percent (8-of-24) shooting in the second half and outrebounded them 41-25 in the contest.
"We had a pretty good defensive effort tonight," Pearl said. "Our offensive efficiency lapsed at times. We were able to jump on them at the beginning of both halves."
Smith and Wayne Chism sparked an 11-0 run to begin the game with five points apiece and the Volunteers built the lead up to 28-15 with 8:07 left in the opening half after a pair of free throws by Ramar Smith.
South Carolina (8-8, 0-2) cut it to 43-35 at the break as Devan Downey scored nine points in the final 7:06 to finish with 14 in opening the half.
"It's definitely frustrating after a game like this, but we just have to stay positive," Downey said. "We have to work harder."
Downey ended up with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting to lead all scorers, but the Gamecocks fell out of it quickly in the second half, managing just one field goal in the first seven minutes.
"It doesn't matter that I had 24 points, our team lost," Downey said. "I don't know what we need, but Coach (Dave) Odom is a good coach so I know he will come up with something."
Chism, JaJuan Smith and Ramar Smith scored four points each during Tennessee's 20-3 run to begin the second.
"We started the second half off big," Pearl said. "We really came to play. I think the loss (against the Gamecocks) last year may have had something to do with it."
"I thought during halftime, if we could correct a couple things offensively and defensively, that we could make a run at them," Odom said. "I never dreamt that we would come out of the locker room so flat."
The Volunteers shot 43 percent (26-of-60) from the floor and 20-of-26 from the free-throw line in the win. They will go for their 10th straight win Thursday against 12th-ranked Vanderbilt, which fell from the ranks of the unbeaten earlier Saturday with a 79-73 overtime loss at Kentucky.
"Tennessee played extremely well for 40 minutes," Odom said. "They have a very good basketball team. They're good on defense. They're good on offense."
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
TENNESSEE (9) 43 37 80
SOUTH CAROLINA 35 21 56 FINAL
Jan 12 9:59 PM
- NCAA BB
(9) TENNESSEE 43
SOUTH CAROLINA 35 HALFTIME
Jan 12 8:56 PM
- South Carolina forward Raymond Doby leaving the program May 18
- Forward Lew Evans transferring from Utah State to Tennessee May 12
- Forward Ray Kasongo leaving Tennessee after 1 season Apr 21
- South Carolina dismisses suspended players Gregory, Cobb Apr 4
- Gamecocks give men's coach Frank Martin 4-year extension Apr 1
- South Carolina got told it was in - except, it wasn't Mar 31
- Offseason questions loom for Frank Martin, South Carolina Mar 23
- 2 South Carolina players arrested over BB gun shooting Mar 17
- 5 South Carolina players suspended before NIT game Mar 15
- South Carolina moving on from NCAA snub Mar 14
- Tennessee optimistic about future after rare losing season Mar 12
- South Carolina looking to take next step at SEC Tournament Mar 8