Sensational Seniors: Tennessee finishes out regular season at home with an 89 to 56 route of South Carolina

Chris Lofton leads all scorers as the Vols win their 32nd at home to finish out the regular season back to back ALL Home Winners...

Chris Lofton scored 28 points, including six 3-pointers, and No. 4 Tennessee routed South Carolina 89-56 on Sunday.

JaJuan Smith fouled out with 17 points and four 3s, receiving a hearty standing ovation from the crowd on his and Lofton's final home games as Volunteers.

The Vols' fans engaged in a delayed celebration of Tennessee's first outright SEC title since 1967, which the team won last week with a win over Florida. A new championship banner was unveiled in Thompson-Boling Arena while orange and white streamers dropped from the ceiling and the players cut down the nets.

The 33-point margin was the worst of the season for South Carolina, which suffered its second worst defeat when the Vols won 80-56 in Columbia in January.

Tennessee led by one at halftime, but used 61.8 percent shooting to take over.

The Vols held a 40-39 lead a minute into the second half when they went on a 9-0 run. Duke Crews scored off a missed free throw by Tyler Smith to give Tennessee a 49-39 lead with 16:34 left.

A four-minute scoring drought by South Carolina allowed Tennessee to add some breathing room in the second half. A jumper by Tyler Smith gave the Vols a 64-43 lead with 9:04 left.

Both teams were hot from behind the arc in the first half, with South Carolina hitting 6-of-12 attempts and Tennessee nailing 6-of-13.

The Vols led by as many as eight twice in the half, the second time coming on two free throws by Crews to give Tennessee a 25-17 lead with 10:23 left before halftime.

But Tennessee couldn't manage to shake South Carolina, which whittled down the Vols' lead and tied the game at 35 with 1:50 before the break.

South Carolina, which averages the fifth-fewest turnovers per game in the nation at just over 10, had that many by halftime.

It was not only the final regular season game for the teams' seniors, but also for South Carolina coach Dave Odom, who will retire after a 22-year head coaching career after the Gamecocks play in the SEC tournament.

Story Courtesy: AP Wire Reports


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