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Williams helps No. 18 Tennessee outlast South Carolina 70-67

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) South Carolina coach Frank Martin couldn't help but see the similarities between the team he faced Tuesday and the Final Four squad he coached last season.

''(Tennessee) reminds me a lot of my team last year, just a team that's tied at the hip and relentless on both ends of the floor,'' Martin said after the Gamecocks lost 70-67 to the 18th-ranked Volunteers.

Tennessee was just good enough Tuesday to get its NCAA Tournament drive back on track while continuing South Carolina's slide.

Grant Williams scored 22 points and made a big basket in the closing seconds as the Vols handed the Gamecocks their sixth consecutive loss.

Tennessee (19-6, 9-4 SEC) has won seven of eight and 10 of 12 overall. This latest victory served as a nice recovery three nights after Tennessee lost 78-50 at Alabama for its most lopsided defeat of the season.

''Defensively we were a much better team tonight than we were at Alabama,'' coach Rick Barnes said.

South Carolina (13-13, 4-9) continued to fade from postseason contention one season after its Final Four run. But the Gamecocks made this one interesting.

After trailing 68-59 with 2 1/2 minutes left, South Carolina scored eight straight points and pulled within one on Frank Booker's driving basket with 36 seconds remaining.

Tennessee answered on its next possession, with Williams scoring with 11 seconds left to make it a three-point game.

''The theme with our basketball team is it came down to one stop,'' Martin said. ''The defensive assignment that we laid out wasn't executed. Listening has been a weakness for this team the whole year.''

South Carolina spent the final seconds trying to get a potential tying 3-pointer. Barnes wanted the Vols to foul before the Gamecocks could get a shot off.

Barnes didn't get his foul, but the Gamecocks didn't get the look they wanted, either. Justin Minaya's 3-point attempt fell short of the front rim as the buzzer sounded.

''We were just being aggressive and understanding they were going to make a run,'' Williams said. ''They'd been doing it most of the game, where they'd get it to two and we'd get it back to six or seven. It never really was a blowout of a game. You knew it was going to be competitive. They don't really quit.''

Booker scored 19 points for South Carolina, and Chris Silva and Hassani Gravett added 12 points apiece. Jordan Bowden scored 14 and Admiral Schofield added 13 for Tennessee.

THE TAKEAWAY

South Carolina: Although the Gamecocks lost again, they deserve credit for staying close most of the way despite dealing with foul trouble. South Carolina had lost by an average margin of 21 points in the three games leading up to this one. The Gamecocks were much more competitive this time, though occasional scoring lulls proved costly and enabled Tennessee to build a 14-point lead after South Carolina had tied it early in the second half.

Tennessee: While the Vols did a nice job of recovering from their poor performance at Alabama, their inability to put away an inferior opponent at home offers some cause for concern. Tennessee had 15 turnovers and 12 assists for its third straight game with a negative assist-turnover ratio.

PHYSICAL CONTEST

The teams combined for more fouls (25) than baskets in the first half (21). All those fouls forced the Gamecocks into some unusual substitutions.

Maik Kotsar and Felipe Haase already had picked up three fouls each by halftime. Kotsar ended up playing just 10 minutes, well below his season average of 27. Jason Cudd ended up playing 14 minutes, more than twice his season average.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Tennessee had fallen from No. 15 to No. 18 after the loss to Alabama. The Vols could move back into the top 15 if they win at Georgia on Saturday.

UP NEXT

South Carolina hosts No. 10 Auburn on Saturday.

Tennessee is at Georgia on Saturday.

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This version corrects to Frank Booker instead of Chris Booker for South Carolina.

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Key Players
C. Silva
30 F
G. Williams
2 F
28.8 Min. Per Game 28.8
15.9 Pts. Per Game 15.9
2.0 Ast. Per Game 2.0
6.0 Reb. Per Game 6.0
46.2 Field Goal % 48.5
41.7 Three Point % 13.6
75.0 Free Throw % 75.8
  Justin Minaya missed 3-pt. jump shot 0.0
+ 2 Grant Williams made jump shot 11.0
+ 2 Frank Booker made layup 36.0
  Out of bounds turnover on James Daniel III 1:01
+ 1 Chris Silva made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:16
+ 1 Chris Silva made 1st of 2 free throws 1:16
  Shooting foul on Grant Williams 1:16
  Bad pass turnover on Jordan Bowden 1:33
+ 2 Wesley Myers made layup 1:56
  Defensive rebound by Maik Kotsar 2:02
  Grant Williams missed jump shot 2:04
Team Stats
Points 67 70
Field Goals 22-50 (44.0%) 24-50 (48.0%)
3-Pointers 6-20 (30.0%) 8-24 (33.3%)
Free Throws 17-21 (81.0%) 14-22 (63.6%)
Total Rebounds 29 32
Offensive 7 8
Defensive 21 20
Team 1 4
Assists 13 12
Steals 4 6
Blocks 2 4
Turnovers 12 13
Fouls 23 17
Technicals 0 0
19 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST
22 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo South Carolina 13-13 343367
home team logo 18 Tennessee 19-6 383270
Team Stats
away team logo South Carolina 13-13 74.7 PPG 42.8 RPG 13.8 APG
home team logo 18 Tennessee 19-6 82.8 PPG 44.1 RPG 21.1 APG
Key Players
00
F. Booker G PPG RPG APG FG%
2
G. Williams F 19.9 PPG 9.3 RPG 4.6 APG 57.4 FG%
Top Scorers
F. Booker G 19 PTS 2 REB 2 AST
G. Williams F 22 PTS 5 REB 1 AST
44.0 FG% 48.0
30.0 3PT FG% 33.3
81.0 FT% 63.6
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
C. Silva 26 12 7 0 0 1 3 4 3/4 0/0 6/6 3 4
H. Gravett 28 12 3 4 0 0 1 1 5/6 2/3 0/0 0 3
J. Minaya 34 6 7 2 2 0 4 2 2/6 2/5 0/0 1 6
E. Hinson 8 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 2/6 0/2 0/2 0 0
M. Kotsar 10 3 2 1 0 0 2 4 1/1 1/1 0/0 1 1
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
C. Silva 26 12 7 0 0 1 3 4 3/4 0/0 6/6 3 4
H. Gravett 28 12 3 4 0 0 1 1 5/6 2/3 0/0 0 3
J. Minaya 34 6 7 2 2 0 4 2 2/6 2/5 0/0 1 6
E. Hinson 8 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 2/6 0/2 0/2 0 0
M. Kotsar 10 3 2 1 0 0 2 4 1/1 1/1 0/0 1 1
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
F. Booker 32 19 2 2 1 0 0 0 4/11 1/6 10/11 0 2
F. Haase 11 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 2/5 0/2 0/0 0 0
I. Famouke Doumbia 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/1 0/0 1/2 0 1
W. Myers 18 2 3 2 0 0 0 1 1/5 0/1 0/0 1 2
J. Cudd 14 2 2 0 0 1 1 1 1/4 0/0 0/0 1 1
K. Gueye 13 0 1 0 1 0 0 3 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 1
D. Beatty 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 0
K. Holden - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Corchiani - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Schmitt - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 67 28 13 4 2 12 23 22/50 6/20 17/21 7 21
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
G. Williams 34 22 5 1 0 2 1 3 7/10 0/0 8/9 2 3
J. Bowden 34 14 5 3 2 0 1 1 4/12 4/10 2/3 2 3
A. Schofield 34 13 4 2 1 0 2 3 6/9 1/3 0/2 1 3
J. Bone 15 2 3 4 0 0 0 1 1/3 0/0 0/0 0 3
K. Alexander 9 0 1 0 1 1 1 3 0/0 0/0 0/2 0 1
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
G. Williams 34 22 5 1 0 2 1 3 7/10 0/0 8/9 2 3
J. Bowden 34 14 5 3 2 0 1 1 4/12 4/10 2/3 2 3
A. Schofield 34 13 4 2 1 0 2 3 6/9 1/3 0/2 1 3
J. Bone 15 2 3 4 0 0 0 1 1/3 0/0 0/0 0 3
K. Alexander 9 0 1 0 1 1 1 3 0/0 0/0 0/2 0 1
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
L. Turner 25 8 5 2 1 0 2 4 3/6 2/5 0/0 0 5
J. Daniel III 26 5 0 0 1 0 4 0 1/6 1/6 2/2 0 0
J. Fulkerson 7 4 1 0 0 1 0 0 2/3 0/0 0/0 1 0
C. Darrington 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0/0 0/0 1/2 1 0
D. Walker Jr. 5 1 2 0 0 0 2 1 0/1 0/0 1/2 1 1
Y. Pons 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1
B. Woodson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Campbell - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Fleschman - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Kent - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 70 28 12 6 4 13 17 24/50 8/24 14/22 8 20