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Feb. 20, 2010

Final Stats | Quotes

Post-Game Blog: Not Enough Magic

Coach Horn

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -Bobby Maze scored 14 points and No. 20 Tennessee reached 20 victories for the fifth straight season with a 63-55 win over South Carolina on Saturday.

The Vols (20-6, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) needed a late 17-3 run to pull out their seventh straight win over South Carolina (14-12, 5-7). Tennessee had been lethargic most of the game and trailed 46-43 after Devan Downey’s two foul shots with 9:18 to go.

That’s when the Vols took control and Kenny Hall’s jam off a feed from Wayne Chism put them ahead for good, 47-46. By the time J.P. Prince stole the ball at halfcourt and went in for layup 4 minutes later, Tennessee was up 56-49.

Brandis Raley-Ross had 16 points to lead the Gamecocks, who have lost four of six since their upset of then-No. 1 Kentucky last month. Chism had 11 points and Prince 10 for the Vols.

Downey, the SEC’s leading scorer, shot just 4 of 18 from the field for 15 points, his lowest output in a league game this season. Still, the Gamecocks hung around long enough that it appeared a typical home showing by Downey – he hadn’t had fewer than 24 points in South Carolina’s previous five home SEC games – might pull this one out, too.

But Tennessee tightened up its defense to blunt any comebacks. The Vols held South Carolina to just 1-of-12 shooting from behind the arc.

Maze equaled the 16 points he scored when Tennessee defeated No. 1 Kansas 76-68 on Jan. 10.

For all of Tennessee’s success this season, the Vols have struggled on the road in the SEC this season. Three of their four league losses have come away from home, including the last two – Vanderbilt and Kentucky. South Carolina hasn’t been the easiest out at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks had won five of their past six here, including the win over Kentucky on Jan. 26.

Maybe it was the sunny, 60-degree weather outside, but the Vols didn’t look ready for this one early. Chism and Prince both had two fouls less than 11 minutes in, and Tennessee had 11 first-half turnovers, nearly equaling its game average of 12.8.

The Gamecocks used the long-range shooting of Brandis Raley-Ross to offset Downey’s slow start. The SEC’s leading scorer was 1 of 8 as the Volunteers ran two or three players at him to keep him out of synch the first 20 minutes.

Raley-Ross hit consecutive 3-pointers and Ramon Galloway added another as South Carolina moved ahead 22-18. Tennessee made had two field goals over the final 7 minutes of the half and trailed 28-24, the fourth straight game it was behind at halftime.