Silva’s big night not enough, as No. 1 Tennessee tramples USC, 92-70
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Admiral Schofield had 20 of his 24 points in the second half to lead No. 1 Tennessee to its school record-tying 15th straight victory, 92-70 over South Carolina on Tuesday night.
Grant Williams added 23 points for the Vols (19-1, 7-0 Southeastern Conference), who saw a double-digit lead cut to 60-58 with 13 minutes to play. Jordan Bone then scored five straight points to start an 18-6 run over the next six minutes that helped Tennessee stay perfect in SEC play.
Tennessee matched its program-best winning streak, which began in January 1915 and lasted through February 1917. It was Williams early on and Schofield late who kept the run of success going as the Gamecocks (10-10, 5-2) tried to rally in the second half.
Williams scored 17 points in the opening period to move Tennessee out front by as many as 12 points. Schofield, 1 of 4 shooting the first 20 minutes, found his touch after the break in scoring nine of his team’s first 13 points to keep the Vols in the lead.
Chris Silva had 28 points — only six the second half — and 10 rebounds for South Carolina, which fell to 1-13 all time against No. 1 opponents.
The game featured two of the SEC’s top post players in Tennessee’s Williams and South Carolina’s Silva — and the pair did not disappoint as both were practically unstoppable early on.
Silva, the 6-foot-9 senior who set his career high of 32 points against then-No. 16 Auburn a week ago, looked like he aimed to surpass that with 22 points in the first 20 minutes. Williams, a 6-7 junior and a candidate for SEC player of the year, matched Silva shot for shot before the break.
Tennessee: The Vols are fast, strong and skilled around the basket. There’s a good chance they’ll return to Colonial Life Arena in March as a high NCAA seed. The building is hosting tournament first- and second-round games.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks saw their Tuesday night magic against SEC ranked opponents fall short. South Carolina had beaten then-No. 14 Mississippi State on Jan. 8 and then-16th-ranked Auburn seven days ago.
Tennessee played without guard Jordan Bowden, who started the season’s first five games, but has become the team’s first reserve off the bench. Bowden tweaked his knee during shootaround. He has averaged 27.2 minutes and 10.9 points per game.
Tennessee finishes a two-game trip at Texas A&M on Saturday night.
South Carolina plays at Georgia on Saturday.