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Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Brimer, Associated Press
Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin looks on as his team takes on South Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Skylar McBee scored a career-high 18 points to lead Tennessee to a 69-57 win against South Carolina on Wednesday night.

McBee, in his second career start, hit 4 of 7 from 3-point range and sank all six of his free throws.

His second trey of the game gave the Volunteers (12-12, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) the ultimate lead with 2:01 left in a first half that featured six ties and six lead changes. The basket launched an 8-0 run to close out the half, and Tennessee led 35-27 at the break.

The Vols led 51-36 with 12:40 left, but South Carolina went on an 8-0 run of its own. The Gamecocks (9-14, 1-8) pulled within 58-55 on a three-point play by Bruce Ellington with 4:07 left, but it was as close as they would get.

Tennessee outshot South Carolina 50 percent to 33.9 percent

Ellington led South Carolina with 12 points.