South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from road win over Tennessee

South Carolina basketball defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 63-59 in Knoxville on Tuesday night.
South Carolina basketball seniors Myles Stute, BJ Mack, and Ta'Lon Cooper
South Carolina basketball seniors Myles Stute, BJ Mack, and Ta'Lon Cooper / Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
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The Gamecocks don't need your stinking top-25 ranking. With another top-10 win (this one on the road against the 5th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers), South Carolina basketball proved that snubbing them from the polls was a mistake.

The 63-59 victory was the Gamecocks' first in Knoxville since 2017, and it marked the first time South Carolina basketball knocked off top-10 opponents in a 3-game stretch since the John Roche-led Gamecocks smacked Duke and North Carolina back in 1968.

In this one, Carolina got up early, and outside of a short stretch in the 1st half, they held their small lead the rest of the way. Another good game from Ta'Lon Cooper (18 points, 2 assists, and 4-5 3-point shooting) and some timely scoring from Myles Stute (13 points and 3-3 3-point shooting) and BJ Mack (16 points and 7-8 free throw shooting) powered the USC offense, but it was the defense that was the story.

The Vols shot 10-27 from the field outside of star wing Dalton Knecht, and even in his impressive 31-point outburst, the 'Cocks held Knecht to 11-24 shooting. Despite only forcing 6 turnovers, the Gamecocks limited UT to just 59 points. South Carolina made everything difficult for the Tennessee offense, holding veteran players like Zakai Zeigler, Josiah Jordan-James, and Jonas Aidoo to 3-17 shooting and the same number of personal fouls and turnovers as points (8).

Carolina won the rebounding battle (40-37), they were better at the free throw line (15-18 to 12-20), and they made 5 more 3-point shots. Clutch end-of-game play from Ta'Lon Cooper, BJ Mack, and Myles Stute sealed the victory (though, Kenecht made things interesting), and the South Carolina Gamecocks exited Thompson-Boling Arena with a hard-fought win.

Final. 63. 533. South Carolina Basketball vs. Tennessee Volunteers. 59. 534