No. 5 Tennessee will look to continue its dominance over visiting Vanderbilt in Southeastern Conference play on Tuesday night in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Volunteers (13-2, 3-0) have won 10 straight over the Commodores (8-7, 1-1) dating to February 2017.
Tennessee extended its overall winning streak this season to four with an easy 85-42 victory over host South Carolina on Saturday.
Vanderbilt had its three-game winning streak snapped with an 85-82 loss at then-No. 20 Missouri on Saturday.
The Volunteers overwhelmed South Carolina from the start, jumping to a 15-3 lead 5:37 into the game and leading by 22 at halftime and by as many as 45 in the second half.
Olivier Nkamhoua shot a perfect 10-for-10 from the field, including making his lone 3-point attempt, to finish with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jonas Aidoo added 15 points, while Santiago Vescovi chipped in 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Josiah-Jordan James added 12 points and three rebounds for Tennessee, which has won 12 of its past 13 games and is 3-0 in conference play for the first time in four seasons.
“This team, they work,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “They deserve where we are right now, but I think they are smart enough to know we have got to get better. There’s so many ways we can get better, and I think they understand that. I think they understand we just now are starting to put our team together with everybody.”
Tennessee forced South Carolina to shoot just 12 of 48 (25 percent) from the field, including 4 of 26 (15.4 percent) from beyond the arc, in addition to outrebounding the Gamecocks 48-21.
“We tell our guys, the name of the game is rebounding,” Barnes said. “The ball goes up; that should be our best offense. We can get so much better there. Take our shots when they come, but on the defensive end there’s not a lot of negotiation there.”
Vescovi averages a team-high 12.8 points per game to go with 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Nkamhoua averages 12.0 points and 4.9 rebounds, while Zakai Zeigler adds 10.2 points to go with a team-high 4.1 assists per game.
Julian Phillips averages 10.0 points and is the Vols’ second-leading rebounder at 5.4 per game, just behind Aidoo, who averages 5.6 rebounds and 5.4 points.
The Commodores rallied from an 11-point, second-half deficit to tie the game at 73 following Ezra Manjon’s jumper with 3:32 remaining.
But the Tigers scored the next five points to take a lead they wouldn’t relinquish after making four free throws in the final four seconds after the Commodores pulled to 81-79.
Liam Robbins, who averages a team-high 12.9 and 6.0 rebounds per game, posted team highs of 16 points and seven rebounds against the Tigers.
Jordan Wright, who averages 10.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, added 14 points, six rebounds and an assist against Missouri. Manjon, who averages 8.9 points, finished with 12 points.
“We had plenty of opportunities to finish around the basket, plenty of opportunities to take care of the ball a little bit better,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. … “It’s just the ebbs and flows of the game that you live with, especially on the road.”
–Field Level Media