National Basketball Association
Tennessee 80, South Carolina Upstate 60
When: 5:00 PM ET, Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee
# Terry Wymer, # Keith Kimble, # Mike Nance
The eighth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers began their game against South Carolina Upstate on Wednesday looking to post their third consecutive 100-point outing. They ended up needing a late surge to keep their perfect record intact.
With their long-range shooting touch missing, the Volunteers displayed their usual defensive stinginess to move away late and defeat the pesky Spartans 80-60 in Knoxville, Tenn.
Victor Bailey Jr. had 18 points, two steals and three rebounds for Tennessee (6-0) while Josiah-Jordan James had 11 points and eight rebounds. John Fulkerson added 10 points and six rebounds for a Vols team that made just 5 of 16 3-point attempts.
Tennessee also held a big advantage around the basket on both ends of the floor -- they had a 32-18 rebounding advantage and outscored South Carolina Upstate 38-22 in the paint.
Also, Tennessee forced 15 turnovers.
South Carolina Upstate (0-8) did most of its damage on offense by way of the 3-point shot. The Spartans went 9 of 18 from beyond the arc.
The Big South Conference's Spartans were led Tommy Bruner's 18 points, 12 of them coming on threes. Everette Hammond added 13 points.
Tennessee was cold from the floor from the beginning and headed into halftime with a 33-26 lead. The Vols looked better in the second half, but the Spartans kept things interesting.
With 10:46 remaining in the second half, Tennessee's lead was only eight points, but from there, the Vols pulled away. They made 16 of their last 18 field-goal attempts.
The win was the 715th in coach Rick Barnes career -- just four short of tying Phog Allen and Don Haskins for 20th on the all-time Division I victories list.
Tennessee will now take a week off before taking to the road for the first time this season, where they'll visit the 14th-ranked Missouri Tigers on Wednesday in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
South Carolina Upstate will also get a week off before taking on Big South foe High Point in back-to-back games next Wednesday and Thursday.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
|South Carolina Upstate
Tommy Bruner 18
Victor Bailey Jr. 18
Tommy Bruner 6
Santiago Vescovi 8
Josh Aldrich 5
Josiah-Jordan James 8
Everette Hammond 1
||Free Throws Made
John Fulkerson 6
Dalvin White 3
Josiah-Jordan James 3
Josh Aldrich 1
Yves Pons 2
Team Stats Summary
|South Carolina Upstate