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No. 17/16 Gamecocks Fall to No. 4/4 Vols, 66-59, in home finale
Men's Basketball  . 

No. 17/16 Gamecocks Fall to No. 4/4 Vols, 66-59, in home finale

South Carolina Athletics

Carolina's three-game win streak comes to an end on Senior Night at Colonial Life Arena

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Dalton Knecht had 26 points as No. 4 Tennessee withstood a late run by No. 17 South Carolina for a 66-59 victory Wednesday night that wrapped up its first Southeastern Conference regular-season title since 2018.

The Gamecocks (24-6, 12-5 SEC) cut a 14-point second-half deficit to 59-56 on Meechie Johnson‘s inside shot with 1:13 to go.

But the Volunteers (24-6, 14-3) hit seven foul shots the rest of the way to hold on and open a two-game cushion in the SEC with one to play.

Tennessee shared the regular-season title six years ago with Auburn. The last time the Vols had won it outright was 2008.

The game was billed as a showdown for the SEC lead and a full house turned out at the 18,000-seat arena for the chance to see South Carolina, picked last by the media in the SEC preseason poll, chase a title.

And the Gamecocks kept things close much of the first half, trailing 24-22 after Myles Stute‘s 3-pointer with less than four minutes left before the break.

That’s when Knecht took over. He had 3-pointers on three of four possessions as Tennessee went on an 11-2 run over the final 3:29 of the period to lead 35-24 at the break.

Knecht made the opening basket of the second half and kept pouring it on. Midway through the period, with Tennessee ahead 42-34, Knecht drained a 3-pointer, got fouled and hit the free throw to extend the lead back to double digits.

Johnson led South Carolina with 18 points.


Tennessee closed the final 1:14 of regulation on a 7-3, run after the Gamecocks cut the deficit to 59-56. The Volunteers went 7-of-9 at the charity stripe over that stretch.


  • Junior guard Meechie Johnson led Carolina with 18 points, shooting 8-of-19 from the field. It marks Johnson’s 20th game this season in double-figures and his 14th leading the team in points. He added five rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes of action.
  • Freshman forward Collin Murray-Boyles recorded his second straight double-double notching 11 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. It marks three straight games he has recorded 10 or more boards and eight of his last nine games scoring in double-figures.
  • Johnson and junior guard Jacobi Wright each had three helpers to lead the Gamecocks in passing. It is Wright’s fourth game leading the team in assists and Johnson’s 11th.
  • Carolina has held 24 opponents to less than 70 points this season, which is T-3rd nationally and leads the SEC. The Gamecocks have held 13 league opponents below 70 points, which leads the conference in front of Tennessee (10), Texas A&M (8) and Auburn (8).
  • The Gamecocks held a 30-8 advantage scoring in the paint and a 15-3 advantage on second chance points.


Carolina (24-6, 12-5 SEC) hits the road for the regular sea­son finale at Mississippi State (19-10, 8-8 SEC). Kevin Fitzgerald (pxp) and Daymeon Fishback (analyst) will be on the call for the 2:30 p.m. (ET) tip on SEC Network. The Gamecocks last win at The Hump was a 77-73 win on Feb. 11, 2017.