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Jan 29, 2003

Box Score

AP Sports Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Reserve Stanley Asumnu made three straight baskets during a critical second-half run and Ron Slay scored 16 points as Tennessee beat South Carolina 60-56 Wednesday night.

Brandon Crump had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Volunteers (10-6, 3-3 Southeastern Conference), who had 21 turnovers but was able to fend off a late Gamecocks surge.

South Carolina (7-9, 1-5) cut a seven-point lead to three with 1:06 to go when Tennessee’s C.J. Watson was called for a reach-in foul on Chuck Eidson, who made both free throws.

The Vols missed on their next possession, and Carlos Powell hit a jumper to trim it to 57-56 with 22.4 seconds remaining.

The Gamecocks, who have lost five straight, stopped the clock with 10.8 seconds left by intentionally fouling Watson. He made the pair of foul shots for a 59-56 lead.

South Carolina’s Ivan Howell missed a jumper with three seconds left, and Asumnu iced it by making the first of two free throws with 1.9 seconds to play.

Asumnu finished with seven points for Tennessee, which lost at Columbia, S.C., last year by 18 points and by 34 at home.

Slay missed both games because of a torn knee ligament and didn’t play much of Wednesday’s game because of foul trouble. He scored just two points in the second half.

The teams traded the lead four times early in the second half until the Vols had a 9-0 run.

Asumnu scored six straight points and Jon Higgins finished it with a 3-pointer to give Tennessee a 51-42 lead at 7:12.

But the Vols couldn’t sustain the rally, and South Carolina got back in it with seven straight points.

The Gamecocks forced a turnover, and Tony Kitchings scored inside to cut it to 51-49 with 4:30 remaining.

Kerbrell Brown led South Carolina with 17 points while Eidson added 14 and Kitchings had 12. Powell, not starting for the first time since the season opener, finished with six points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field.

The Gamecocks, who trailed by five at halftime, started the second half with an 11-5 run to take their first lead of the game, 36-35, with 14:06 left.

The Vols had to play most of the second half without leading scorer Slay because he picked up his fourth foul a minute into the half.

The Vols were ahead by as many as seven points early and stayed in the lead with short runs in the first half.

Three technical fouls were called, and twice the ball became stuck between the basket and back board in the first half.

Slay and Powell both got technicals at the same time for bumping in the lane.

Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson received a technical foul for arguing a jump ball call. Jon Winchester appeared to have wrestled the ball away from two South Carolina defenders when the official ruled a jump ball.