Sports

Stokes has 22 points as Tennessee shuts down South Carolina 59-44, moves to SEC semifinals

  • Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) shoots over South Carolina forward Laimonas Chatkevicius (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 14, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

    Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) shoots over South Carolina forward Laimonas Chatkevicius (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 14, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) shoots on South Carolina forward Brian Steele (35) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 14, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    Tennessee guard Jordan McRae (52) shoots on South Carolina forward Brian Steele (35) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 14, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tennessee guard Josh Richardson (1) shoots over a South Carolina defense during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 14, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

    Tennessee guard Josh Richardson (1) shoots over a South Carolina defense during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Friday, March 14, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)  (The Associated Press)

Jarnell Stokes scored 22 points, matching his season high, and Tennessee beat South Carolina 59-44 on Friday in the SEC tournament quarterfinals, adding a strong defensive effort to the Vols' NCAA tournament hopes.

The Vols (21-11) will carry a five-game winning streak into Saturday's semifinal against No. 1 Florida. Tennessee has not trailed in the winning streak and kept its lead over the Gamecocks in double digits for most of the second half.

Tennessee is No. 44 in the NCAA RPI and may have needed at least one SEC tournament win to bolster its NCAA hopes.

South Carolina (14-20) didn't score in the first six minutes, setting the mold for their offensive struggles. No South Carolina player scored in double figures.

Brenton Williams led South Carolina with nine points but made only 3 of 13 shots.