Tennessee has won the 2023-24 regular-season SEC title.

The No. 4 Volunteers improved to 14-3 in the conference standings and 24-6 overall with a 67-59 win on the road at South Carolina. No other team can finish with fewer than 5 conference losses, meaning UT cannot be caught.

Rick Barnes’ team has shown it can hang with the SEC’s high-scoring teams, but South Carolina got the kind of game it wanted Wednesday. It was another physical, low-scoring defensive battle, with UT coming out on top in Round 2.

Here are 3 quick takeaways from Tennessee’s big win in Columbia:

Sweet revenge for the SEC title

Some Tennessee fans might have been hoping for the Volunteers to lock up the SEC regular-season title on Saturday in Knoxville. The UT faithful, though, will gladly celebrate a road win from afar, especially when it’s a revenge road win.

South Carolina is the only team to beat Tennessee at home in the 2023-24 season. Now, the Vols have evened the season series (ahead of possible postseason meetings).

Just like last time Tennessee played South Carolina, a game with Kentucky is on deck.

UT won the first round with UK 103-92 in Lexington. The SEC title has been decided, but the Vols will be plenty motivated to win on Senior Day with a No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed to be decided, and potentially spoil the Wildcats’ hopes of getting a double-bye in the SEC Tournament as an added bonus.

Winning at the free-throw line on the road

Most teams don’t go on the road in the SEC expecting to shoot more free throws than the home team. In a tight game that went down to the wire, free throws were especially important.

South Carolina was the better shooting team from the field, making more field goals (23-20) and 3-pointers (8-7) while scoring more second-chance points (15-3) and points in the paint (30-18), but Tennessee won the free-throw battle. The Vols were better on fast break points by a 13-5 tally.

The Vols went 19-of-22 at the line. The Gamecocks only had 10 free-throw attempts, making just 5 of them.

Dalton Knecht wasn’t going to have two “quiet” games

By most standards, 13 points over 28 minutes in an SEC game is a standout performance. For Dalton Knecht, though, Saturday in Tuscaloosa was a quiet night by his elevated standards. Knecht was back to usual self on Wednesday in Columbia, which was bad news for South Carolina.

The Gamecocks were on the wrong side of vintage Knecht when he drained 3 triples over the final 3:28 of the 1st half, extending UT’s lead from 24-22 to 33-22. Thanks to Knecht, UT took a 35-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.

In a 31-point second half, Knecht led the way with 12 points. Zakai Zeigler had 9 second-half points, thanks to 6-of-6 free-throw shooting.

Knecht finished with a game-high 26 points. Jonas Aidoo was 1 rebound short of a double-double, scoring 14 points with 9 boards.

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