Tale of two halves

Once the SEC's worst team defending the 3-point shot, the Tennessee Vols now qualify as half-decent ... defending it well for a half and poorly for a half.

Consider their past three performances against 3-point shooters:

Feb. 21: Tennessee limited Kentucky to 2-of-7 shooting (28.6 percent) in the first half but allowed the Cats to drain 5 of 10 (50.0 percent) in the second half. As a result, the Wildcats outscored UT 46-34 after the break and won big.

Feb. 25: Tennessee limited Mississippi State to 2-of-13 shooting (15.4 percent) in the first half but allowed the Bulldogs to sink 9 of 17 (52.9 percent) after intermission. As a result, the Dogs scored 48 second-half points and whittled an 11-point deficit to three in the final minute.

March 1: Tennessee limited Florida to 6-of-16 shooting (37.5 percent) in the first half half but allowed the Gators to hit 7 of 12 (58.3 percent) after the break. As a result, Florida trimmed a 16-point second-half deficit to three in the final minute.

Vol head coach Bruce Pearl is aware of this alarming trend, recently noting that the Mississippi State game was "a good win. We obviously took a great shot from them in the second half as they knocked down a bunch of 3s."

Tennessee had better put together two good halves of 3-point defense Thursday night in Columbia. South Carolina ranks third among the 12 SEC teams beyond the arc at 37.3 percent.


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