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Feb. 8, 2012

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February 8, 2012
Coach Horn

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The South Carolina men’s basketball team suffered a 69-57 loss at Tennessee on Wednesday in SEC action in Knoxville. Sophomore guard Bruce Ellington led South Carolina with 12 points, while freshman guard Damien Leonard and sophomore guard Brenton Williams both added 11.

Ellington dished a season high six assists in the game, while also collecting two steals.

Junior guard Skylar McBee led the Volunteers with 18 points, while Jeronne Maymon added 12 and Trae Golden 14. Golden and Cameron Tatum both collected four assists. UT hit 50.0 percent (19-38) from the field, while the Gamecocks hit 33.9 percent (19-56).

South Carolina (9-14, 1-8 SEC) hit 10 shots against 11 by the Volunteers (12-12, 4-5 SEC) in the opening 20 minutes of play, but seven made 3s by Tennessee saw the Gamecocks trail at the half. UT also held an advantage on the boards, collecting 20 rebounds compared to 12 by Carolina.

After the teams traded baskets to open the game, a 3 by Ellington with 13:57 on the clock gave the Gamecocks a 12-7 advantage. Gill hit a free throw, but two 3s by UT’s Jordan McRae midway through the half knotted the score at 13-13.

Again the teams traded baskets and the Volunteers added four points from the free throw line towards the end of the half. With the contest tied at 27 with 1:31 remaining in the set, paced by three 3s, Tennessee used an 8-0 run to take a 35-27 upperhand into the locker room at halftime. McBee hit two 3s and Tatum added another during the stretch.

Tennessee pushed its lead to 45-32 with a 10-5 run to open the half, but following three straight UT turnovers midway through the half, South Carolina’s Brenton Williams’ hit consecutive 3s to pull the Gamecocks within seven at 51-44.

South Carolina followed with a run of its own, pulling within four at 54-50 with 6:36 remaining after a free throw by Cooke. The Gamecocks continued to chip away at the UT lead when Ellington hit a layup and free throw following a foul by Golden to put the score at 58-55 Volunteers at the 4:07 mark.

The Gamecocks were unable to overcome the lead, however, and two three-point plays and solid free throw shooting by Tennessee in the final minutes saw the Volunteers take the 69-57 victory.

South Carolina continues SEC action when it travels to Arkansas for a 1:30 p.m. ET contest on Saturday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.