EditorsNote: rewords ninth graf
Grant Williams contributed two free throws, a jumper and a three-point play to a second-half spurt that allowed third-ranked Tennessee to hold off a challenge from visiting Samford en route to an 83-70 nonconference victory on Wednesday night in Knoxville, Tenn.
Jordan Bone scored a game-high 24 points, Admiral Schofield had 18 points and four steals, and Williams finished with 16 points as the Volunteers (9-1) won their fifth straight since an overtime loss to Kansas last month.
Ruben Guerrero had a team-high 16 points with eight rebounds for the Bulldogs (10-3), who have already matched last year’s victory total.
After leading by as many as seven points in the first half, Samford hung within 53-47 on a pair of free throws from Josh Sharkey with 12:26 to play.
But Tennessee responded to the challenge, scoring 13 of the next 17 points, including Williams’ seven-point contribution.
That gave the Volunteers a 66-51 advantage with 8:45 to go, and the visitors were never appreciably closer the rest of the way.
Bone completed a double-double with a game-high 11 assists for Tennessee, which improved to 6-0 at home.
Kyle Alexander added 10 points for the Volunteers, who shot 57.9 percent.
Sharkey had a double-double for Samford with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go with seven assists and three steals.
Kevion Nolan had 13 points, Myron Gordon 12 and Robert Allen a game-high 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who shot 36.5 percent and went just 7 of 23 on 3-point attempts.
Riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak, the Bulldogs jumped into a 28-21 lead in the first 13 1/2 minutes of the game. Brandon Austin had two 3-pointers, Nolan one and Guerrero a three-point play in the early run.
The Volunteers countered with a 16-0 flurry to take the lead for good. Bone, Jordan Bowden and Schofield ignited the burst with consecutive 3-pointers.
The run gave Tennessee a 37-28 lead that became 41-32 by halftime.
—Field Level Media