The Tennessee Volunteers defeated Carolina 73-67 in Knoxville this evening. Scotty Hopson led all scorers with 23, while Malik Cooke had what was perhaps his best game as a Gamecock with 22 points, 8 boards, and 2 steals.
I'll have to admit that Carolina played better than I expected in this one, particularly considering that Lakeem Jackson was out. We kept the game relatively close throughout, and considering that I was expecting a blowout, I suppose we should be pleasantly surprised with how things turned out. However, let's not make too much of this game. If the score was close, it was largely so because Tennessee failed to take advantage of its many opportunities to put the game away. The Vols shot only 60% from the free-throw line, their failure to convert belying the fact that they dominated the interior for much of the game. The same old problems for the Carolina offense popped up, including a 6-20 shooting performance from Bruce Ellington, which I guess we should view as progress after 1-12 last weekend. The positive to take away was that Carolina did play some good defense at times, registering nice blocks and turnovers numbers. Overall, though, not much has changed other than that we failed to take advantage of a vulnerable Tennessee team instead of getting crushed by one.
Next up is UK in Lexington. Excuse me if I'm not looking forward to it right now.