Updated with more information at 12:10 a.m. on Feb. 18, 2021.
Victor Bailey Jr. wasn't about to go scoreless two games in a row.
Tennessee's redshirt junior guard had no points in a season-low 11 minutes during Saturday's loss at LSU, but he bounced back with a career-best 29-point performance Wednesday night as the No. 19 Volunteers overwhelmed South Carolina 93-73 at Thompson-Boling Arena. The transfer from Oregon made his first start since the Jan. 2 loss to Alabama and capitalized on the opportunity, collecting most of his tally with a 7-of-10 showing from 3-point range.
"All we really ask of these guys is to do what you do and do it at a high level," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. "Don't try to overdo it. Just understand the game. Throughout my many years of coaching, I've seen guys go through what he has, and I told him after the game that now is the time we've got to try and be consistent."
Said Bailey: "It felt great tonight. It's always good to see some shots fall, and my teammates backed me up, and my coaches told me to shoot it."
John Fulkerson added 19 points and Jaden Springer 16 for the Vols, who improved to 15-5 overall and 8-5 in Southeastern Conference play. AJ Lawson scored 20 points to lead the Gamecocks (5-10, 3-8).
Wednesday's game was postponed from Tuesday due to coronavirus-related issues within Tennessee's program, with a false positive test the cause for the 24-hour delay.
The Vols played without sophomore guard Josiah-Jordan James, while redshirt sophomore guard Jermaine Couisnard and junior forward Justin Minaya didn't make the trip for the Gamecocks. Couisnard suffered an ankle injury and Minaya a head injury during Saturday's loss to visiting Ole Miss.
When asked how James was feeling, Barnes said, "I think OK. We think he'll be back Saturday."
Tennessee was actually in great shape at the under eight-minute timeout during the first half despite holding just a 28-27 advantage, because South Carolina was 7-of-9 on 3-point attempts at that time. Bailey made consecutive 3-pointers to turn a 32-29 lead into 38-29, and the Vols extended their lead to 11 on multiple occasions late in the half, including Springer's jumper just before the halftime horn that made it 50-39.
"Anybody at this level can make a shot," Barnes said, "and we weren't closing out with a hand up. We were just letting guys stand out there like they were playing HORSE. Our ball pressure wasn't very good in the first half."
The Vols opened the second half on a 12-7 run, going ahead 62-46 on a Springer layup off an assist from Bailey with 17:03 remaining. South Carolina climbed back to within 76-67 before Tennessee closed the game on a 17-6 surge.
Tennessee will go for a season sweep of Kentucky (7-13, 6-7) this Saturday inside Thompson-Boling, with CBS televising the game at 1 p.m.