Notice leads South Carolina to 84-58 victory over Tennessee

Tennessee guard Shembari Phillips (25) pushes the ball down court against South Carolina guard Duane Notice (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Duane Notice had 17 points off four 3-pointers and South Carolina ran past Tennessee 84-58 on Wednesday night, matching the team’s most victories in 10 years.

The Gamecocks (23-5, 10-5 Southeastern Conference) built a 15-point lead by halftime and finished with their largest margin of victory against an SEC opponent since defeating Texas A&M 80-52 here two seasons ago. It also kept South Carolina tied for second with the Aggies in the SEC race, just a game behind league-leader Kentucky.

And it was Notice’s long-range shooting that turned a tight game into a runaway. He hit all four of shots from behind the arc — including three straight — in an 18-6 run to close the opening half.

It was the second game the Vols (13-15, 6-9) played without top-scorer Kevin Punter, out with a right foot injury. Devon Baulkman led Tennessee with 19 points.

Michael Carrera had 16 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth consecutive game and 10th this season with double-figure points and boards.

South Carolina looked like it had fallen out of SEC title contention with consecutive losses to Kentucky and Missouri earlier this month. But the Gamecocks came into the night just a game behind the Wildcats for the top spot.

And South Carolina came out quickly to take control, running to an 11-2 lead less than 3 minutes on. Tennessee was down just 31-28 on Baulkman’s 3-pointer — he had four in the opening half and five overall — with 8:33 to go.

That’s when the Gamecocks closed the half with an 18-6 run to take a 49-34 lead into the break. Notice had 13 points, off four 3-pointers, in that South Carolina stretch.

The Vols played a second straight game without leading scorer Kevin Punter, a 22-point-a-game scorer who has a stress fracture in his right foot.

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