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Olivier Nkamhoua perfect from floor as No. 8 Tennessee routs South Carolina

Jan 7, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Josh Gray (33) tries to hang onto the rebound pressured by Tennessee Volunteers forward Uros Plavsic (33) during the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Olivier Nkamhoua poured in a season-high 21 points on 10-for-10 shooting from the field in No. 8 Tennessee’s 85-42 blowout of South Carolina on Saturday afternoon in Columbia, S.C.

The Volunteers were hitting shots from the opening minutes and rarely let up in adding another romp to their credentials.

Nkamhoua, a forward, made one 3-point basket and collected 10 rebounds. He has reached the 20-point mark in two of his last four games.

Jonas Aidoo supplied 15 points off the bench, while Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James both compiled 12 points for Tennessee (13-2, 3-0 Southeastern Conference), which reached the 85-point mark for the third time in its last four games.

The Volunteers, who have won four games in a row, shot 51.5 percent from the field. They also made 10 of 22 shots from 3-point range.

Meechie Johnson racked up 19 points for the Gamecocks (7-8, 0-2), but otherwise there wasn’t much to be excited about in the team’s SEC home opener.

South Carolina, which was charged with 18 turnovers, shot just 25 percent from the field and shot 4-for-26 from 3-point range. Johnson was 1-for-9 from beyond the arc. Heralded recruit G.G. Jackson, the team’s leading scorer entering the day with 16.9 points per game, was scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting from the field.

South Carolina’s 12 field goals were barely more than Nkamhoua’s total and the fewest in a game by the Gamecocks since matching that total on Jan. 24, 2015 against Kentucky.

Tennessee did its damage despite limited opportunities on free throws (5-for-7) and committing 14 turnovers.

Tennessee had leads of 8-0, 15-3 and 28-9 in the game’s first 11 minutes. Julian Phillips, Nkamhoua and Zakai Zeigler had 3-pointers in the first seven minutes, while Vescovi posted four early points.

Tennessee led 43-21 at halftime and picked up more offense on the way to a 59-28 edge less than five minutes into the second half. That scoring outburst was capped by Aidoo’s 3-point basket.

The Volunteers slowed down after reaching a 40-point lead. They scored only nine points across the final 8:54.

–Field Level Media