Vols dunking and dishing, 73-67

Tennessee ends 3-game skid

Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson dunks over South Carolina guard Brian Richardson at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011.  Hopson scored 23 points for the Vols during their 73-67 defeat of the Gamecocks.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Scotty Hopson dunks over South Carolina guard Brian Richardson at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. Hopson scored 23 points for the Vols during their 73-67 defeat of the Gamecocks.

Bruce Pearl on beating South Carolina

Scotty Hopson added clips to his Tennessee highlight reel thanks in large part to new-and-improved play at point guard from Melvin Goins.

With Hopson dunking and Goins dishing the Vols scored a 73-67 men's basketball victory over South Carolina on Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

"It's been a while since I've had three big-time dunks like tonight,'' said Hopson, who scored an SEC career-high 23 points. "Our team feeds off energy, and I wanted to get the crowd into it to energize our guys.''

Cameron Tatum scored 13 points for UT, and Tobias Harris and Brian Williams each scored 10. Goins matched his career high with six assists.

A crowd of 18,402 welcomed coach Bruce Pearl back in Thompson-Boling Arena for the first time since Pearl finished serving an eight-game SEC suspension on Feb. 5.

Pearl's first two return games, at Kentucky and at Florida, ended with Tennessee (16-10, 6-5 SEC) on the losing end.

"It was good to get back on the winning track,'' said Pearl, who has won eight straight in the series against the Gamecocks (13-11, 4-7).

Prior to Wednesday, the most recent time Pearl coached a home game was on Jan. 5, when the Vols scored a runaway 104-84 win over Memphis.

While UT made its share of runs on South Carolina, leading by as many as eight points in the first half and 13 in the second half, the Vols couldn't completely put the Gamecocks away.

"I'm definitely not satisfied by the quality of play,'' Pearl said. "On offense, we had some turnovers and some sloppy play.''

While UT got to the line an SEC-high 35 times, it converted only 21 (60 percent). South Carolina also scored 20 points off 16 turnovers, and Gamecocks' all-time shot-block leader Sam Muldrow had six rejections.

"We were better than we've been on both ends of the floor in a few games,'' said South Carolina coach Darrin Horn, whose team lost its fourth in a row, despite Malik Cooke's 22 points. "We put two halves together against a pretty good team that's got a ton of veterans.''

On more than one occasion, the veteran Hopson turned the crowd on and the Gamecocks off.

Hopson's highlight dunks included an alley-oop from Goins, and another slam after he all but leaped over a defender.

"Those were energy plays, something that doesn't go in the stat sheet,'' Goins said. "You get a 50-50 ball, or a highlight play, it pumps everyone up. We were just feeding off Scotty's energy.''

And the Vols were taking feeds from Goins, who had more assists in the first half (four) than he had in the 94 combined minutes he played in the past three games (3).

"I just wanted to distribute the ball and get my teammates involved early and often,'' said Goins, who attempted two shots from the floor. "It's whatever Coach wants me to do to help this team to win. Just to see us play well and make shots felt good.''

Pearl was so impressed by Goins that he left the senior in for 31 minutes after planning to play back-up Skylar McBee more rotations.

"I thought (McBee) would have played more, but Melvin was playing well,'' Pearl said. "I think Skylar will continue to grow at the position.''

Melvin Goins talks about his adjustments

Pearl also gave kudos to Williams, who matched his career-high with five assists from the post.

"Brian is a patient passer,'' Pearl said. "He gets it, he takes his time with it and he reads the defense.''

Harris scored UT's first six points in the game, and the Vols raced out to a 14-7 lead.

South Carolina responded with an 8-0 run, taking what proved to be its final lead at 15-14 on a Ramon Galloway basket at the 8:01 mark.

But there was Hopson, getting to the foul line to hit a pair of free throws that triggered a 7-0 burst over the next two minutes as UT went on to a 33-25 lead at half.

The Gamecocks cut the Vols' lead to 44-42 at the 12:38 mark on a Galloway drive that capped a 7-1 run, but UT's bench turned South Carolina back.

A Steven Pearl reverse layup was followed by a McBee 3-pointer and a Josh Bone bucket in transition, and the Gamecocks failed to get closer than four points the remainder of the game.

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Comments » 100

BigVolinCarolina writes:

At this point, a win is a win. I'll take it.

huntined#565710 writes:

A win is a win but other then Hopson they were not sharp at all. Harris needs to get off those slow passes and Williams needs to start hitting those two foot shots. All of them needs to start hitting foul shots..

dwa7#337691 writes:

early predict:

Vols 70
Ga Dawgs 66

DebKY writes:

It was disturbing as usual to see a talented young freshman go to the bench four minutes after the game had started. He will not have the opportunity of being freshman of the week because of his limited playing time. He also does not have the opportunity to develop his potential under Pearl.
This exposure will prevent future NBA talent from coming to Tennessee, because of limited playing time.
I hope Pearl has to pay for his lying to the NCAA!

master_belcher (Inactive) writes:

Hopefully they'll win at least four more to at least get a shot at the big dance.

Gart5 writes:

Skylar McBee is the worst player at UT in the past decade. He needs to stop seeing the floor. We got him because he was supposed to be able to hit shots, and he can hardly do that. He is terrible with the ball and an atrocious defender.

abnerPeabody writes:

How ugly was this game?
Thank you Scotty for winning this game for us fans.

Hate to say this,but I think we are a very average team and will fold early in the NCAA tourney if we indeed make it.

This team is completely out of control.

How many more times are we going to see Cam drive toward the basket,go up as if to lay the ball in only to throw an out of control pass back to the backcourt or to the corner?

How many times are we going to see Williams,Hopson,Tatum,Harris
etc. try to drive to the basket only to have the shot crammed down their throat and have it exit their rear end? this team will not win 20 games with this kind of play.

Something is very wrong in K town.As some has stated before,Winning ugly is better than loseing pretty.

givehim6 writes:

Glad the Vols broke the streak, now lets try a 3 game winning streak. GO VOLS!

jamgod writes:

Mark my words guys, if they make it to the NCAA tournament, it's gonna' be one-n-done. Hey, I'm not female dogn' or anything it's just these guys can't seem to get out of their own way. Too many stupid mistakes and clearly a lack of BB IQ. This is not the same team that started 7-0. If they advance after the first round, I will be amazed and shocked. You guys need to be worrying about next year because we have no "bigs" or front court that scares anybody. Unless we get some people to come in and I have to question Pearl's recruitment because a large number of guys except for a very few, has actually panned out. I like pearl as a coach and think he should be our coach, but his recruiting is questionable at best it seems.

carbonzip writes:

Good job in a rough game.

eduardo writes:

in response to DebKY:

It was disturbing as usual to see a talented young freshman go to the bench four minutes after the game had started. He will not have the opportunity of being freshman of the week because of his limited playing time. He also does not have the opportunity to develop his potential under Pearl.
This exposure will prevent future NBA talent from coming to Tennessee, because of limited playing time.
I hope Pearl has to pay for his lying to the NCAA!

Yeah love the one and doners...Calimari will have his day in court just you wait and see kenlucky fans!!!

bigdisbig writes:

Very sloppy performance AGAIN. Vols had SC on the ropes several times but terrible defense could not put them away. Fla. beat SC by 19. Vols missed 14 free throws. Tatum was 1 for 6 on the line. How can you be that bad at the free throw line?
It was a win but it was an ugly one. If they play like this Saturday the Dogs will bite em bad. Vandy will run the Vols out of the gym. Its too late in the season to be this lackluster.

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to DebKY:

It was disturbing as usual to see a talented young freshman go to the bench four minutes after the game had started. He will not have the opportunity of being freshman of the week because of his limited playing time. He also does not have the opportunity to develop his potential under Pearl.
This exposure will prevent future NBA talent from coming to Tennessee, because of limited playing time.
I hope Pearl has to pay for his lying to the NCAA!

LMAO U JELLY???

lguy (Inactive) writes:

in response to jamgod:

Mark my words guys, if they make it to the NCAA tournament, it's gonna' be one-n-done. Hey, I'm not female dogn' or anything it's just these guys can't seem to get out of their own way. Too many stupid mistakes and clearly a lack of BB IQ. This is not the same team that started 7-0. If they advance after the first round, I will be amazed and shocked. You guys need to be worrying about next year because we have no "bigs" or front court that scares anybody. Unless we get some people to come in and I have to question Pearl's recruitment because a large number of guys except for a very few, has actually panned out. I like pearl as a coach and think he should be our coach, but his recruiting is questionable at best it seems.

I think you're a fan of the Vols, so just stop being so negative. Get behind the team. See what happens if you are positive.

tennrich1 writes:

Scotty's best game since the Pitt game I think. Free throws in my opinion have cost us three or four this year...might have tonight except we were playing SC. Not to be negative but we don't seem to protect the ball enough....we were throwing passes everywhere tonite without running sets on multiply possessions...Tobias is still hurt a little I think as well...

TopTenn writes:

OK, win is a win. Must play better during these last games.

rockytopnation16 writes:

what a great picture.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to jamgod:

Mark my words guys, if they make it to the NCAA tournament, it's gonna' be one-n-done. Hey, I'm not female dogn' or anything it's just these guys can't seem to get out of their own way. Too many stupid mistakes and clearly a lack of BB IQ. This is not the same team that started 7-0. If they advance after the first round, I will be amazed and shocked. You guys need to be worrying about next year because we have no "bigs" or front court that scares anybody. Unless we get some people to come in and I have to question Pearl's recruitment because a large number of guys except for a very few, has actually panned out. I like pearl as a coach and think he should be our coach, but his recruiting is questionable at best it seems.

This team has as much POTENTIAL as any CBP we have had....could make us all look foolish and go deep into March or make you look like a genius and one and done or fool ALL of us and not make the NCAA....now personally I dont think any of those scenarios are going to happen...probably win first round and out after that...But like you I really have no clue...but it fun to predict..But wait you said to "mark your words"...whatever that means...so they have been marked!!!

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

I will take the win any day! GBO!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to DebKY:

It was disturbing as usual to see a talented young freshman go to the bench four minutes after the game had started. He will not have the opportunity of being freshman of the week because of his limited playing time. He also does not have the opportunity to develop his potential under Pearl.
This exposure will prevent future NBA talent from coming to Tennessee, because of limited playing time.
I hope Pearl has to pay for his lying to the NCAA!

What could YOU possibly know about basketball...by the way....CBP doesn't do the subbing.....that is left up to an assistant just like it is at UK....I can only assume you were referring to TH...he is still nursing a sprained ankle....

Vols7Twins writes:

Bob Kesling and Money Bert Suck.

Razor784 writes:

It was a lot closer than it should have been, but a win is a win. Georgia is gonna be a tough one on Saturday

allvol34 writes:

It was disturbing as usual to see a talented young freshman go to the bench four minutes after the game had started. He will not have the opportunity of being freshman of the week because of his limited playing time. He also does not have the opportunity to develop his potential under Pearl.
This exposure will prevent future NBA talent from coming to Tennessee, because of limited playing time.
I hope Pearl has to pay for his lying to the NCAA!

First off Harris is just getting over a high ankle sprain and has to have limited minutes. I dont see how this would discourage other top talent from coming to Knoxville. I think there will be plenty of time to develop his talent under pearl over the next few years as I don't see Harris being a one and done player no matter where he played. If you're a KY fan maybe you need to be on a Ky message board talking about why the cats can't win a game away from Rupp and let Pearl worry about Pearl.

allvol34 writes:

I'll take an SEC East win any way we can get it. I really liked the ball movement and I think Hopson needed a game like this after the ankle injury. Going to have to start hitting free throws if we're gonna break out the brooms against GA

Fryinpansvols writes:

in response to Vols7Twins:

Bob Kesling and Money Bert Suck.

And you can do any better? I actually think Bob and Bert do a great job of calling the games. There is more work to calling games on the radio or television then you would ever know. There is pre-game prep, testing the audio with the studio and also giving good analysis and input during the game. I would know since I got my degree in Communications Broadcast Media. So why don't you get lost troll! GBO and beat Georgia!

fpcoach writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

Very sloppy performance AGAIN. Vols had SC on the ropes several times but terrible defense could not put them away. Fla. beat SC by 19. Vols missed 14 free throws. Tatum was 1 for 6 on the line. How can you be that bad at the free throw line?
It was a win but it was an ugly one. If they play like this Saturday the Dogs will bite em bad. Vandy will run the Vols out of the gym. Its too late in the season to be this lackluster.

SC also beat Florida....This team is frustrating to watch sometimes, but they are still our team. GBO

landofhypocracy writes:

If college sports were abolished then more people could afford to go.It would be a better country.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Hopson and Pearl really played good tonight. Hopson is the most under appreciated player in recent UT history,in ANY sport. Many saying he isn't NBA material, yet NBA scouts say he is. This program will suffer if he leaves after this year. And talking heads can say what they want, but he will receive coaching at another level in the league. Think Rajon Rondo. Average to good in college, awesome in the pros. Scotty is a scorer plain and simple. Good coaches and scouts will see that and allow him to do what he does best. At the beginning of the year I predicted a final four from this team. At this point, they could completely miss the tourney, or they could get in and go on a run. They need to learn to put teams away. If they can do that down the stretch they have a chance to finish strong. Need a BIG win against UGA.

Fryinpansvols writes:

in response to DebKY:

It was disturbing as usual to see a talented young freshman go to the bench four minutes after the game had started. He will not have the opportunity of being freshman of the week because of his limited playing time. He also does not have the opportunity to develop his potential under Pearl.
This exposure will prevent future NBA talent from coming to Tennessee, because of limited playing time.
I hope Pearl has to pay for his lying to the NCAA!

I guess you know so much about coaching since you coach a major college program? And you're a Kentucky fan on a Tennessee message board. You must have all the time in the world. Since you have all of this time why don't you see if you can convince your coach to stop recruiting all of this one and done talent. Oh wait, thats how Coack Calipari has always done it. And guess what? It didn't pay off at UMass or Memphis. And he will have UK on probation soon enough. GBO!

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to Vols7Twins:

Bob Kesling and Money Bert Suck.

If my option is to listen to Kesling or nothing. I choose nothing. I don't need to guess what happened or is happening and I need a score given before tv to's. Seems like a good guy. Terrible at hoops play by play.

murrayvol writes:

in response to DebKY:

It was disturbing as usual to see a talented young freshman go to the bench four minutes after the game had started. He will not have the opportunity of being freshman of the week because of his limited playing time. He also does not have the opportunity to develop his potential under Pearl.
This exposure will prevent future NBA talent from coming to Tennessee, because of limited playing time.
I hope Pearl has to pay for his lying to the NCAA!

If one pretends to be a UK fan, one should know something about basketball.

murrayvol writes:

in response to landofhypocracy:

If college sports were abolished then more people could afford to go.It would be a better country.

Go where??

EarlThePearl writes:

in response to ztoshiningz2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Poultry had 22 Fouls Vols had 11, there you go.

Good win for Vols against a Team that beat Florida. So much parity in the SEC this year but UT can finsih their last 5 games 4 and 1. Must have a good Turnout this Saturday for the Bullpups.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to allvol34:

It was disturbing as usual to see a talented young freshman go to the bench four minutes after the game had started. He will not have the opportunity of being freshman of the week because of his limited playing time. He also does not have the opportunity to develop his potential under Pearl.
This exposure will prevent future NBA talent from coming to Tennessee, because of limited playing time.
I hope Pearl has to pay for his lying to the NCAA!

First off Harris is just getting over a high ankle sprain and has to have limited minutes. I dont see how this would discourage other top talent from coming to Knoxville. I think there will be plenty of time to develop his talent under pearl over the next few years as I don't see Harris being a one and done player no matter where he played. If you're a KY fan maybe you need to be on a Ky message board talking about why the cats can't win a game away from Rupp and let Pearl worry about Pearl.

I somewhat disagree. Tobias Harris dominated the McDonalds AA game before breking his foot. Some of those kids he schooled are having much better freshman years. Larry Bird said he would have drafted him from HS if he could, but I'm sure he doesn't know what he's talking about. I'm not crazy about the 1 and done mess myself, I think its messing up college hoops. If a kid can go to war he should be able to play NBA ball. But when equal or lesser talent are prepared for the league and he's not, it doesn't look good on Pearl's player development IMO. That in itself will make ELITE players think twice about coming.

murrayvol writes:

in response to ztoshiningz2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We knew you would Zzzzippy.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

How'id they do against the Vols?

EarlThePearl writes:

in response to ztoshiningz2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The Poultry had 22 Fouls UT had 11, there you go.

Good win for Vols over a Team that beat Florida. It goes to show how much parity is in the SEC when SC can beat the number one team in the East.

GoVols025 writes:

in response to ztoshiningz2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whatever name you use lil' zzgatafellar, your stupidity and silliness stays the same!

VOLKING writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Vandy romped at GA..ahahahahahahaha! Poindexter you kill me! UGA once again choked that game away. Romped. Please...whew! Really, you should take this act on the road. A Vandy fan on a UT site....after we ROMPED Vandy in Knoxville.Oh wait, we didn't romp you...you choked...just like UGA tonite. My little brother, I appreciate your sense of humor. I always pull for my little brothers, Memphis and Vandy...so keep on coming back. I don't understand why you didn't come on here after we beat you earlier this year and say 'good game.' We didn't hear from you again until we lost. C'mom man, show show sportsamnship. I don't know why you hate us so. We like you, little guy! Oh, yeah, UT romped at UGA too!!! Ahahahahahaha!

PeeEllthree writes:

in response to bankofdad3:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bradshaw ran pt at White Station and won 2 state titles. Hustling and ball IQ are really their ony similar qualities. I like the subtle things that SP does on D, but he's not the player DB was.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to VOLKING:

Vandy romped at GA..ahahahahahahaha! Poindexter you kill me! UGA once again choked that game away. Romped. Please...whew! Really, you should take this act on the road. A Vandy fan on a UT site....after we ROMPED Vandy in Knoxville.Oh wait, we didn't romp you...you choked...just like UGA tonite. My little brother, I appreciate your sense of humor. I always pull for my little brothers, Memphis and Vandy...so keep on coming back. I don't understand why you didn't come on here after we beat you earlier this year and say 'good game.' We didn't hear from you again until we lost. C'mom man, show show sportsamnship. I don't know why you hate us so. We like you, little guy! Oh, yeah, UT romped at UGA too!!! Ahahahahahaha!

Dude is just a Fulmerite, not a Vandy fan, grad, or anything else. Just mad at Hamilton for firing Coach Fulmer.

Bigger_Al writes:

This is the worst comment thread I have ever seen.

Lostvolinhighweeds writes:

in response to Bigger_Al:

This is the worst comment thread I have ever seen.

And just think, you are now a part of it.

GreeneVol writes:

Give It for the fans, Give It for your team, and Take It to the rest of the SEC.

flatrock writes:

in response to Gart5:

Skylar McBee is the worst player at UT in the past decade. He needs to stop seeing the floor. We got him because he was supposed to be able to hit shots, and he can hardly do that. He is terrible with the ball and an atrocious defender.

You are an idiot. A classless idiot.

VOLKING writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Now who's living in the past, Poindexter? You are too funny, little brother.

richvol writes:

UT,in spite of the win,was very disappointing tonight. Tobias missed several in close...he never fakes to get off a clean shot,and had several bad passes picked off. Brian still can't shoot a layup. Tatum played his usual poor game...1 for 6 at the foul line,fouls,turnovers,bad defense. Skyler finally made one...wow.

If not for Hopson's exceptional game UT loses this game at home. This team is not good at all.

FeelVol writes:

in response to richvol:

UT,in spite of the win,was very disappointing tonight. Tobias missed several in close...he never fakes to get off a clean shot,and had several bad passes picked off. Brian still can't shoot a layup. Tatum played his usual poor game...1 for 6 at the foul line,fouls,turnovers,bad defense. Skyler finally made one...wow.

If not for Hopson's exceptional game UT loses this game at home. This team is not good at all.

Well said richvol,turnovers and poor freethrow shooting continue to plague this team.

VOLDoll writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

How ugly was this game?
Thank you Scotty for winning this game for us fans.

Hate to say this,but I think we are a very average team and will fold early in the NCAA tourney if we indeed make it.

This team is completely out of control.

How many more times are we going to see Cam drive toward the basket,go up as if to lay the ball in only to throw an out of control pass back to the backcourt or to the corner?

How many times are we going to see Williams,Hopson,Tatum,Harris
etc. try to drive to the basket only to have the shot crammed down their throat and have it exit their rear end? this team will not win 20 games with this kind of play.

Something is very wrong in K town.As some has stated before,Winning ugly is better than loseing pretty.

How awesome would it be to have a legitimate division 1 coach actually coaching these kids?
You really have to feel sorry for Scotty and Tobias. They are killing their careers playing for Pearl.

baneberry writes:

Whine, Whine, Whine - by the the self-professed "experts"

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