NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vols defeated Mississippi State for the second time in ten days, winning their SEC quarterfinal matchup, 83-76.
Tennessee advances to a Saturday afternoon (approximately 3:30 p.m. eastern time tipoff) semifinal against Kentucky.
Admiral Schofield led the Vols with 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds.
Jordan Bone tied the school record for assists in an SEC tournament game with nine.
Kyle Alexander scored 16 points, his highest total in an SEC game in his career.
Grant Williams finished with 16 points and four rebounds, fouling out in the final minute.
Tennessee led 34-28 at halftime, scoring 24 of those points in the paint. Mississippi State led 9-8 with 14:58 left in the first half but the Vols then held the Bulldogs scoreless for more than five minutes in the midst of a 9-0 sparked by five points from Admiral Schofield.
Lamonte Turner had six assists in the first half, four of them during a five minute period when Jordan Bone was resting on the bench.
Mississippi State hit five of its first eight shots in the second half and tied the game at 42 with 14:51 left on a fastbreak dunk by Tyson Carter.
Bone put the Vols back in front with a three with three seconds left on the shot clock, bringing the orange clad fans to their feet for the loudest ovation of the night to that point.
Tennessee did not attempt a free throw until the 10:53 mark of the second half on an Admiral Schofield and one. He missed the free throw but the ball went out of bounds of a Bulldog and Jordan Bowden scored on the ensuing possession.
The Vols started to break the game open on a thunderous throwdown from Schofield to push the lead to 57-46 with 10:05 left. Mississippi State missed seven straight shots as Tennessee went on a 10-0 run.
Schofield scored seven points in a span of less than four minutes to extend the Vols' lead from five to 14 at 65-51 with 6:48 to go.
A physical game started getting chippy late in the second half as Tennessee began to pull away. After Kyle Alexander and a Mississippi State player battled for a rebound, the two yelled at each other. Schofield got involved and he and Alexander both were called for technical fouls.
Alexander then scored the next two Vol buckets on a dunk and a jumper.