Vescovi leads No. 22 Tennessee over South Carolina 66-46

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Santiago Vescovi scored 14 points to help No. 22 Tennessee overcome a sluggish start and beat South Carolina, 66-46 on Tuesday night.

The Volunteers (11-4, 2-2 Southeastern Conference), who live by the 3-point shot, missed their first five attempts and didn’t hit their first 3-pointer until 2 minutes were left in the first half. The score was tied at 22 when Tennessee went on a 12-2 run that spilled over into the second half.

Josiah-Jordan James had 11 points and 12 rebounds to aid the Tennessee effort. James hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half that gave the Vols a spark. Zakai Zeigler had 11 points and John Fulkerson added 10.

James Reese led the Gamecocks (10-5, 1-2) with 15 points.

BIG PICTURE

South Carolina: In order for the Gamecocks to take any significant steps forward, they need to get production from their inside game. Wildens Leveque (10.5) has been consistent, but big men Josh Gray, Ta’Quan Woodley, Tre-Vaughn Minott and Ja’Von Benson all need to develop.

Tennessee: Big man super senior John Fulkerson flashed signs of being a dominant force down low against Arizona, but hasn’t shown that since, which has frustrated coach Rick Barnes. He has given Fulkerson the word it’s time to resume that mentality. Also, Josiah-Jordan James has struggled shooting the 3-pointer (14-62, 22%) this season. He shot 37% two years ago and 31% last season.

NEXT UP

South Carolina: The Gamecocks, who have played and lost to two ranked teams this season (Auburn and Tennessee), have a chance for their second SEC win Saturday at home against Florida, a team that has lost both its league games.

Tennessee: The Vols will have to find their focus in time for a Saturday matinee showdown with No. 18 Kentucky in Lexington.

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