Vols fend off S

Dalton Knecht gladly used his orange SEC Champs hat. He knows, however, that Tennessee’s goals do not end with its very first Southeastern Conference regular-season title in six years.Knecht had 26 points, consisting of a four-point play, as the fourth-ranked Volunteers endured a late run by No. 17 South Carolina for a 66-59 victory Wednesday night.The Gamecocks (24-6, 12-5 SEC )cut a 14-point

second-half deficit to 59-56 on Meechie Johnson’s within shot with 1:13 to go. However the Vols(24-6, 14-3)hit seven nasty shots the remainder of the method to hold on and open a two-game cushion in the SEC with one to play.Tennessee shared the regular-season title six years ago with Auburn.

The last time the Vols had actually won it outright was 2008. It was pleasing performance for Knecht.

“It feels fantastic,”he said of the team’s champion.”We got the job done, however at the same time, the job’s not done. We’ve got the SEC Tournament and the big one” in the NCAAs.With Knecht striking shots the method he did versus

South Carolina, Tennessee will be a hard out moving forward.”Something about Dalton, he’s not afraid,”Volunteers coach Rick Barnes said.” The guys feed off him. He gives them self-confidence.”Knecht had a lot of confidence-boosting minutes

in this one. With the Gamecocks tracking 24-22 right before halftime, Knecht struck three 3-pointers over 4 ownerships as the Vols used an 11-2 burst to open a double-digit lead.After the Gamecocks rallied back within 6, Knecht hit his fifth 3, got fouled and made the free toss

.”That was my first in a long time, “he stated, smiling.”Link four.

“According to ESPN Stats & Information research study, Knecht is the first Tennessee player to tape 10 25-point games in a season over the last 25 seasons.Johnson led South Carolina with 18 points.The Gamecocks needed a win over Tennessee– they won at Rocky Top in January– to tie for initially in the

SEC, a season after going 11-21. They were selected last in the media preseason survey this previous October.Freshman forward Collin Murray-Boyles, who had his second straight double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, stated the team was dissatisfied its run

at a regular-season title lost. “It’s never going to be simple”to put that aside, he said. “But we just need to focus on the next part.”Info from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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