SOUTH CAROLINA MEN'S BASKETBALL - Gamecocks fall in final seconds to Tennessee 56-55.
John Fulkerson had 15 points and 10 rebounds and drew a game-clinching charge with 1.4 seconds left as Tennessee edged South Carolina 56-55 on Saturday.
South Carolina (8-7, 0-2 SEC) had the ball in the closing seconds with a chance to take the lead, but AJ Lawson drove into Fulkerson in the lane and was called for the offensive foul. Tennessee (10-5, 2-1) threw a long pass that Jordan Bowden caught while staying inbounds to run out the clock.
Lawson, who entered the day with a team-leading 15.2 points per game, had just 4 points Saturday and missed all 7 of his field-goal attempts.
Santiago Vescovi had 13 points and Josiah-Jordan James had 10 for Tennessee. South Carolina's Maik Kotsar had 17 and Jermaine Couisnard had 15.
Tennessee led 56-53 and had possession in the final minute, but Lawson stole the ball from Vescovi and hit a pair of free throws with 36.5 seconds left to cut the lead to 56-55.
Bowden missed a 3-pointer on the Vols' next possession, but the ball went out of bounds off South Carolina with 10.4 seconds left. Tennessee then missed a desperation attempt as the shot clock expired, giving South Carolina one last chance that ended with the Lawson charge.
The Vols owned the nation's longest active Division I home winning streak before losing 51-47 to No. 13 Memphis. Tennessee beat Jacksonville State in its next home game but followed that with home losses to Wisconsin and LSU.
Tennessee regained its homecourt edge Saturday despite shooting just 25.9 percent (14-54) from the floor and 19.4 percent (6-31) from 3-point range. South Carolina shot just 32.8 percent (20-61) overall and 15.4 percent (2-13) from beyond the arc.
The difference came at the foul line. Tennessee shot 22-28 on free-throw attempts, including 14-16 in the second half. South Carolina went 7-15 in the second half and 13-22 for the game.
The Gamecocks return to Columbia to host 13th ranked Kentucky at Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday.