LSU
TENN

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No. 18 Tennessee trounces LSU 84-61 for 4th straight win

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee's bench strength enabled the Volunteers to survive the temporary absence of their leading scorer.

Once Grant Williams returned from an injury, the Vols breezed to their fourth straight victory.

James Daniel III scored 17 points off the bench Wednesday night as No. 18 Tennessee trounced LSU 84-61.

With nine games remaining in the regular season, Tennessee (16-5, 6-3 SEC) already has matched its 2016-17 win total.

''I think this team can be one of the best in the country, if not the best,'' said Williams, who scored 16 points despite spending much of the first half in the locker room. ''We can compete with anybody in the country, especially when we're playing the way we're supposed to.''

Tennessee went 16-16 last year and failed to earn an NCAA Tournament or NIT bid for a third straight season. That streak appears likely to end this year, thanks in part to the Vols' improved bench.

During this winning streak, Tennessee has outscored opponents 134-48 in bench points. In three of its last four games, Tennessee has gotten more points from its bench than its starting five. Tennessee's reserves outscored LSU's 44-8.

''We really just try to come in and change the tempo and energy of the game,'' Daniel said of Tennessee's reserves. ''I really feel when we come in, the game gets a lot faster. We get after guys out there.''

Jordan Bone and Lamonte' Turner scored 12 points each for Tennessee, and Bone also had eight assists with no turnovers. Duop Reath scored 21 and Randy Onwuasor had 10 for LSU, which lost for the fifth time in its last six games.

Tennessee got a scare less than two minutes into the game when Williams landed awkwardly after attempting to get a rebound, causing the sophomore forward to walk slowly off the floor.

The Vols showcased their depth by outscoring LSU 26-17 while Williams was out of the game. Tennessee led 28-21 when Williams returned to action with 7:25 left in the first half and stayed ahead the rest of the way.

''When they don't have their best player, you should be able to hang in there a little bit better than that,'' LSU coach Will Wade said. ''When he came back, they were up (seven), so it's going to be a long march to climb back in from that point.''

Tennessee also exploited LSU's lack of depth.

Wade announced Monday that two reserves were suspended for one game each and two more were taking leaves of absence, leaving the Tigers with only seven available scholarship players to face Tennessee.

Guard Brandon Rachal and forward Wayde Sims were suspended for Wednesday's game. Sims has made eight starts this season, but none in conference play. Rachal has been coming off the bench all season.

Forward Galen Alexander won't play the rest of the season and is exploring a transfer. Forward Mayan Kiir has taken a leave of absence for the rest of the semester, but has the option of returning to the team next season.

Wade said after the game that their absences didn't impact Wednesday's result.

BIG PICTURE

LSU: Freshman Tremont Waters continued his recent slump by shooting 1 of 9 and scoring seven points. Waters entered the night with a team-high 15.2 points per game, but he has scored in double figures just once in his last five games. He has shot 2 of 16 over his last two games.

Tennessee: Bone remained in the starting lineup even as Turner and Daniel were outplaying him recently. Bone backed up the staff's confidence in him with a big performance against LSU. Bone's eight assists matched a career high he set last season against Appalachian State. Bone had scored a total of seven points in his last four games, so his 12-point outburst against LSU was an encouraging sign.

KEY STATS

Tennessee outscored LSU 36-9 from 3-point range. Tennessee shot 12 of 25 and LSU was 3 of 19 from beyond the arc.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Tennessee already has its highest ranking since December 2010 and should continue to rise next week if it follows this victory up by beating Mississippi on Saturday.

UP NEXT

LSU hosts Arkansas on Saturday.

Tennessee hosts Mississippi on Saturday.

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Key Players
T. Waters
3 G
G. Williams
2 F
29.7 Min. Per Game 29.7
16.2 Pts. Per Game 16.2
2.0 Ast. Per Game 2.0
6.4 Reb. Per Game 6.4
42.5 Field Goal % 47.8
36.4 Three Point % 14.3
81.0 Free Throw % 74.2
  Defensive rebound by Derrick Walker Jr. 4.0
  Tremont Waters missed 3-pt. jump shot 6.0
  Defensive rebound by LSU 16.0
  James Daniel III missed jump shot 18.0
  Defensive rebound by Derrick Walker Jr. 39.0
  Brandon Sampson missed 3-pt. jump shot 41.0
+ 3 Chris Darrington made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by James Daniel III 54.0
+ 2 Randy Onwuasor made jump shot 1:04
+ 1 Derrick Walker Jr. made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:18
  Derrick Walker Jr. missed 1st of 2 free throws 1:18
  Shooting foul on Aaron Epps 1:18
Team Stats
Points 61 84
Field Goals 22-56 (39.3%) 33-61 (54.1%)
3-Pointers 3-19 (15.8%) 12-25 (48.0%)
Free Throws 14-18 (77.8%) 6-10 (60.0%)
Total Rebounds 29 39
Offensive 7 8
Defensive 20 29
Team 2 2
Assists 9 24
Steals 9 5
Blocks 4 4
Turnovers 10 12
Fouls 13 14
Technicals 0 0
21 PTS, 5 REB
17 PTS, 1 REB, 4 AST
12T
away team logo LSU 12-9 313061
home team logo 18 Tennessee 16-5 424284
Team Stats
away team logo LSU 12-9 77.5 PPG 35.5 RPG 14.2 APG
home team logo 18 Tennessee 16-5 73.8 PPG 39.2 RPG 15.7 APG
Key Players
1
D. Reath F 12.5 PPG 5.3 RPG 0.7 APG 54.4 FG%
3
J. Daniel III G 5.6 PPG 1.4 RPG 2.8 APG 36.6 FG%
Top Scorers
D. Reath F 21 PTS 5 REB 0 AST
J. Daniel III G 17 PTS 1 REB 4 AST
39.3 FG% 54.1
15.8 3PT FG% 48.0
77.8 FT% 60.0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
D. Reath 31 21 5 0 2 1 2 2 9/17 1/2 2/5 2 3
R. Onwuasor 28 10 3 3 1 0 1 1 3/6 0/0 4/5 1 2
A. Epps 35 9 7 0 1 3 2 3 4/7 1/4 0/0 2 5
T. Waters 32 7 1 3 1 0 2 3 1/9 1/5 4/4 0 1
S. Mays 32 6 6 1 1 0 2 1 1/7 0/3 4/4 2 4
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
D. Reath 31 21 5 0 2 1 2 2 9/17 1/2 2/5 2 3
R. Onwuasor 28 10 3 3 1 0 1 1 3/6 0/0 4/5 1 2
A. Epps 35 9 7 0 1 3 2 3 4/7 1/4 0/0 2 5
T. Waters 32 7 1 3 1 0 2 3 1/9 1/5 4/4 0 1
S. Mays 32 6 6 1 1 0 2 1 1/7 0/3 4/4 2 4
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
D. Edwards 25 6 2 2 1 0 1 0 3/6 0/2 0/0 0 2
B. Sampson 16 2 3 0 2 0 0 3 1/4 0/3 0/0 0 3
M. Graves 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
J. Combs - - - - - - - - - - - - -
W. Sims - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Vial - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Alexander - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Kiir - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Rachal - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 61 27 9 9 4 10 13 22/56 3/19 14/18 7 20
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
G. Williams 22 16 6 3 1 0 2 1 7/13 0/0 2/5 3 3
J. Bone 26 12 4 8 0 0 0 0 5/8 2/4 0/0 0 4
A. Schofield 18 6 8 2 0 0 3 5 2/6 2/3 0/0 1 7
K. Alexander 26 4 5 2 0 3 1 1 2/3 0/0 0/0 1 4
J. Bowden 29 2 5 1 1 1 1 2 1/5 0/3 0/0 2 3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
G. Williams 22 16 6 3 1 0 2 1 7/13 0/0 2/5 3 3
J. Bone 26 12 4 8 0 0 0 0 5/8 2/4 0/0 0 4
A. Schofield 18 6 8 2 0 0 3 5 2/6 2/3 0/0 1 7
K. Alexander 26 4 5 2 0 3 1 1 2/3 0/0 0/0 1 4
J. Bowden 29 2 5 1 1 1 1 2 1/5 0/3 0/0 2 3
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Daniel III 22 17 1 4 2 0 2 2 6/10 5/7 0/0 0 1
L. Turner 27 12 1 2 1 0 0 1 4/9 1/6 3/3 0 1
D. Walker Jr. 14 5 6 2 0 0 0 1 2/2 0/0 1/2 1 5
J. Fulkerson 5 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 2/3 0/0 0/0 0 0
J. Johnson 6 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 1/1 1/1 0/0 0 0
C. Darrington 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1/1 1/1 0/0 0 0
Y. Pons 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1
B. Woodson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Campbell - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Fleschman - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Kent - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 84 37 24 5 4 12 14 33/61 12/25 6/10 8 29