James Scores 18 in Return as Vols Stomp South Carolina



Tennessee – 85

South Carolina – 45

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee hosted the South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday night looking for their second conference win in their last six games and their first since knocking off Alabama last week. Tennessee needed to pull together some wins as the season was coming to a close to stay in the double-bye range for the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina started off the game with four offensive rebounds in one possession, but the Vols were able to escape without any damage done. However, Barnes had seen enough and subbed in Uros Plavsic for Jonas Aidoo. Plavsic immediately contributed on the offensive end with four quick points and a nice assist from Santiago Vescovi.


Josiah-Jordan James was back from injury and hit his first attempt of the game for three. This was a welcome sight for the fans and team alike as James’ presence was clearly missed during his absence. Tennessee was looking more like themselves starting 7-11 from the floor on an 11-0 run. The offense seemed to slow down as it had been prone to do lately before James again, hit another three and a midrange to start 3-3 from the floor. James’ contributions along with Plavsic continuing to do work under the rim sprung the Vols on a 10-2 run.

Tennessee took a 38-26 lead to the locker room after getting back to form in the first half, ending a really tough stretch of offensive basketball for the Vols. Tennessee shot 57% from the floor and 40% from three.

The second half started the way the Vols ended the first, stretching their lead out to 21 at the 15-minute mark. In the next six minutes, the lead would extend to 27 and Tennessee was in full control and looking much more like the Tennessee team that was in the hunt for a one-seed before suffering key injuries and fighting offensive lapses.

Tennessee continued to pour it on as James continued to look impressive in his return, and Mashack found some offensive success for the Vols as Tennessee got the win with a final score of 85-45. This game could end up being the spark the Vols needed as they continue to try to get healthy before tournament play.

Josiah-Jordan James tied with Hayden Brown for the lead in points with 18 in his return. Josh Gray led all players with 10 rebounds. Olivier Nkamhoua led Tennessee with seven. Zakai Zeigler led all players with 11 assists. Jacobi Wright led South Carolina with three.

This is what Tennessee Head Coach, Rick Barnes, had to say post-game via Ben McKee of Govols247 on Twitter:

Tennessee’s next game is against Arkansas in Knoxville at 8:00 on Tuesday.

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