Tennessee (8-8, 1-3 SEC) and South Carolina played an ugly contest on Wednesday evening with the teams combining for 44 turnovers in the 70-60 win for the Gamecocks (13-3, 3-0 SEC).
Here are a few quick takeaways:
1. “Prehistoric” performance from the Vols and Gamecocks
South Carolina coach Frank Martin called the performance “prehistoric” as the two teams played one of the ugliest games of the SEC season thus far. Both teams had 22 turnovers, while SC shot 22-of-54 (41%) and Tennessee shot 17-of-52 (33%) from the field.
It was ugly, out-of-sync, discombobulated – whatever you want to call it. Rick Barnes could only laugh when he took the podium.
“That was really a thing of beauty, wasn’t it?” Barnes said sarcastically in his postgame remarks. He went on to call the offense “woeful” and said that he didn’t enjoy watching the team play tonight after one of the worst performances of the season.
2. Late 9-0 run salvages terrible first half
Tennessee was able to cut South Carolina’s lead to seven points a couple times during the final 10 minutes. The Vols, however, needed a late run in the first half to keep the game within a manageable distance.
The first 16 minutes or so of Wednesday night’s game might’ve been the worst start of the season for Tennessee. South Carolina built a 27-12 lead as Tennessee struggled to find any kind of rhythm offensively and turned the ball over on a regular basis.
A late first-half 9-0 run, however, salvaged at least some of that slow start. The Vols were able to cut the SC lead to a more manageable 27-21 mark at the break despite UT committing 14 turnovers and shooting 6-of-25 (0-of-4 from 3-point territory) in the opening 20 minutes of the game.
3. Barnes downplays missing Mostella
With Tennessee fledgling offensively, it’s easy to look to the absence of second-leading scorer Detrick Mostella, who averaged just over 10 ppg before he was booted from the program on Tuesday evening, as a big factor in Tennessee’s struggles.
Barnes downplayed that line of thinking in his postgame comments.
“It wouldn’t have been a difference,” he said. “South Carolina pressures better than anybody we’ve played, and he, like our guards, haven’t shown that they want to play against that kind of pressure.”
Tennessee finished 1-of-11 (9%) from 3-point territory.
Final stats (NSFW): pic.twitter.com/OofpKvPaEN
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) January 12, 2017