It was an emotional night at Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday night, as Tennessee fans bid farewell to seniors Admiral Schofield and Kyle Alexander, along with walk-ons Brad Woodson and Lucas Campbell.
“I think it was harder this morning, waking up and realizing this would be my last game,” Schofield said after the win. “I got most of the tears out this morning. I was just more thankful because of the amount of support I got when my name was called. It was very touching to see how many people support me. It wasn’t a sad type of tears. It was more of appreciative tears.”
In his post-game press conference Rick Barnes couldn’t say enough good things about this group of seniors.
“There’s just a deep-seeded respect that these guys have for each other,” Barnes said. “I know where we started four years ago, and those guys should be really proud of what they’ve helped create here. Should they be emotional? Yeah, why not? Because they’re put their heart and soul into it.”
The game itself wasn’t quite as emotional, however, as the outcome was never really in question. Fueled by a 17-4 run to start the second half, No. 5 Tennessee cruised to a 71-54 victory.
Admiral Schofield led all scores with 18 points.
It was an impressive but quiet, workmanlike night for Grant Williams, who, should he choose to leave early, also might have played his last game at Thompson-Boling Arena. In only 23 minutes the junior scored 14 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, dished out three assists, blocked two shots and had two steals.
Kyle Alexander grabbed 10 rebounds in 25 minutes while only committing two personal fouls.
Tennessee’s defensive effort may have been the most impressive aspect of the game, however, tallying a season-high 12 steals while holding an opponent under 55 points for the second-straight game.
With the win, Tennessee (27-3, 15-2) finished the 2018-19 season undefeated at home (18-0) and a win on Saturday at Auburn would guarantee the Vols at least a share of the SEC title. This team is only the third in program history to notch 15 conference wins during the regular season.
Tennessee and Auburn tip off at noon Saturday on ESPN.