February 9, 2002
By PETE IACOBELLI
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Aaron Lucas scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half and South Carolina routed Tennessee for the second time in three weeks, 72-54, on Saturday night.
The Gamecocks (14-9, 4-6 Southeastern) should face the Volunteers every game. On Jan. 23 at Knoxville, South Carolina shot 60 percent in a 94-60 victory.
Tennessee (12-11, 5-5) had won four in row since then, including a 76-74 overtime victory against Kentucky on Wednesday night. But the Vols needed a late rally to reach 40.5 percent shooting (24-of-53), committed 18 turnovers to South Carolina’s seven, and were held to its lowest point total this season.
Vols coach Buzz Peterson wasn’t around to see the end after picking up two technicals for arguing a foul call early in the second half. It was his first ejection of the season.
Lucas, who had slumped with only 30 points the past five games, picked up the Gamecocks after Tennessee had cut a 15-point first-half lead to 28-20 at halftime.
He hit a jumper and a 3-pointer as South Carolina opened the second half with a 17-3 run that included four free throws from Chuck Eidson on Peterson’s technicals.
Lucas closed the run with a sharp driving layup to put the Gamecocks up 45-23 with 15:50 remaining.
A basket by Lucas with 14:07 made it 50-25 for South Carolina’s biggest lead.
When Tennessee used a garbage-time run to cut the lead to 60-47 in the final five minutes, Lucas made four foul shots to restore control for South Carolina.
It was the first time in six games that Lucas hit double figures. He scored 20 in a 60-51 loss to Vanderbilt game on Jan. 19.
Vincent Yarbrough had 16 points to lead the Vols. Jon Higgins added 15.
Tennessee’s 20 first half points was a season-low.