No. 18 Tennessee runs past USC Upstate 96-52

Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- Olivier Nkamhoua scored 21 points to lead No. 18 Tennessee to a 96-52 victory over USC Upstate Tuesday night.

The Volunteers (8-2) scored the first 13 points of the game and weren’t challenged the rest of the way. Nkamhoua, a 6-foot-8 junior who also had eight rebounds, is working to establish himself as an inside threat within Tennessee’s deep lineup.

Kennedy Chandler had 15 points and 10 assists to help the Vols, while John Fulkerson contributed 12 points. Tennessee shot 56% from the field and 44% from the 3-point line.

USC Upstate (2-8) was led by Nick Alves with 15 points. The Spartans shot 36.4% from the floor.

NOTES: Tennessee’s scouting report for USC Upstate was a little easier than most. That’s because first-year Vols assistant coach Justin Gainey’s son Jordan is a freshman starter who averages about 10 points a game for the Spartans. He managed just two points against the Vols. USC Upstate has been playing in Division I for 15 years and is still looking for its first NCAA Tournament bid. Heading into the game, freshman Kennedy Chandler scored or assisted on about 35% of Tennessee’s points.

BIG PICTURE

USC Upstate: The Spartans still have three games before they begin Big South Conference competition against Radford on Jan. 5.

Tennessee: The Vols’ season now gets “real,” with Memphis on Saturday, which is more than an in-state rivalry. Tennessee must prove its miserable shooting night in the loss to Texas Tech last week (27% from the field, 15% from 3) in New York’s Madison Square Garden was a fluke. Then, Tennessee will have its final pre-Southeastern Conference tuneup on Dec. 22 against No. 8 Arizona at home, followed by its SEC opener on Dec. 29 at No. 6 Alabama.

UP NEXT

USC Upstate: Home vs. Brevard College on Saturday.

Tennessee: Takes on Memphis at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.