SEC Men's Basketball Today: December 22 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Men's Basketball Today: December 22

    Kentucky 87, Loyola (Md.) 63
    Florida 82, Florida State 64
    LSU 67, North Texas 58
    Mississippi State 82, Northwestern State 67
    Arkansas 77, Louisiana Tech 63
    Auburn 65, Hawaii 62

    Wiltjer has 24, No. 3 Kentucky tops Loyola (Md.)

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Reserve Kyle Wiltjer scored a career-high 24 points and a trio of freshmen sparked No. 3 Kentucky's 17-2 second-half run to beat Loyola (Md.) 87-63 on Thursday for the Wildcats' 42nd straight win at home.

    Freshmen Wiltjer, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all had afternoons to remember as Kentucky (11-1) heads into a five-day break before the schedule begins to ramp up.

    Baltimore-based Loyola (8-3) stayed close throughout the first half and pestered Kentucky, which was missing preseason All-America Terrence Jones for the second straight game after he dislocated the pinky finger on his left, shooting hand on Saturday.

    Erik Etherly scored 14 points, Dylon Cormier 13 and Justin Drummond had 10 points for the Greyhounds.

    Davis contributed 15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, Kidd-Gilchrist added 15 points and seven rebounds and Darius Miller had 13 points. Kentucky hosts Lamar on Wednesday night before renewing its in-state rivalry with No. 4 Louisville on Dec. 31.

    With a the Christmas break at hand, Kentucky needed to work a little harder than expected after Etherly cut the lead to 45-41 with the first basket of the second half before Kentucky began pulling away.

    Wiltjer went 7 of 11 from the field after shooting 33 percent over his previous eight games. His 3 early in the second half extended Kentucky's streak to 799 straight games with at least one from beyond the arc and Kidd-Gilchrist finished a dunk to give Kentucky a 56-46 lead with 16:41 to play.

    After a timeout, Etherly scored to cut it to eight, but Kidd-Gilchrist and Wiltjer sparked the 17-2 run. A basket by Wiltjer and a dunk by Eloy Vargas made it 73-50 as Loyola went 5:17 without a point because of Kentucky's throttling defense.

    On one play, Davis crossed the lane and swatted J'hared Hall's layup attempt for his third block of the game. Davis has 52 blocks, on pace to easily break the school's season-single record of 83.

    Jones again was not in uniform after his finger bent awkwardly early in Saturday's win over Chattanooga. The 6-foot-9 sophomore forward spent another game sitting sat beside Ryan Harrow and the rest of the injured Wildcats after appearing in the first 48 straight games of his collegiate career.

    Loyola's longest winning streak since joining Division I in 1981-82 ended at eight at St. Bonaventure on Sunday, and while the Greyhounds hadn't played an SEC opponent in 28 years, they weren't intimidated by the Rupp Arena crowd.

    The Greyhounds only led once at 2-0, but stayed close and even showed some swagger of their own, with Cormier doing his own "3-googles" salute after hitting a long-range shot midway through the first half.

    After a 6-0 run gave Kentucky its first double-digit lead at 33-23, Loyola answered with an 8-0 run that was capped when the Greyhounds stripped Marquis Teague in a halfcourt trap and Etherly finished an alley-oop pass from Robert Olson on the break.

    Etherly went right at Davis, one of the top college prospects in the country, when he beat Wiltjer on the dribble and Davis couldn't rotate over to block Etherly's emphatic dunk in time as the Greyhounds trailed 45-39 at halftime.

    The good feelings wouldn't carry over. After Loyola scored the first basket of the second half, Kentucky tightened up its pressure to pull away.

    No. 11 Florida uses big 2nd half to beat FSU 82-64

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Bradley Beal scored 21 points, Patric Young added 15 and No. 11 Florida beat rival Florida State 82-64 Thursday night.

    The Gators (10-2) extended their winning streak to five and their home winning streak to 12.

    Florida State had no answer for Young inside and did little to slow down Beal's long-range shooting and slicing drives. Seemingly more complex for the Seminoles (8-4) was Florida's press. The result was a third consecutive loss in the series.

    The Seminoles finished with 19 turnovers, including eight in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. All those errors helped fuel a decisive 15-2 spurt that turned a two-point game into a lopsided affair.

    Luke Loucks led Florida State with 15 points and Terry Whisnant added 11.

    Florida had all five starters in double figures for the second consecutive game. Kenny Boynton had 14 points, Erik Murphy added 12 and Erving Walker chipped in 11.

    Beal and Young were the key, though.

    Beal made 7 of 15 shots, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Young hit all seven of his shots, making the most of his low-post moves and hook shots.

    Young even added a highlight-reel moment during the big second-half run. He blocked Bernard James' baseline drive with his left hand, briefly pinned the ball against the backboard and then managed to cradle it in his hand. He followed with a dunk on the other end that pushed Florida's lead to 44-36.

    The Gators were just getting started, too.

    Will Yeguete made a layup, Young capped a nifty reverse pivot with a baby hook and then Beal took over. The freshman had a baseline dunk, then a 3 from the elbow that made it 53-38.

    Florida State overcame a horrendous start to make it close in the first half. The Seminoles missed 11 of their first 12 shots and trailed 14-2 before settling into a rhythm midway through the first.

    The `Noles used an 11-0 run to slice into the lead, and got plenty of help from Florida in keeping it close.

    The Gators missed their first seven free throws -- continuing a trend that has plagued coach Billy Donovan's team all season -- and missed nine of their first 12 shots from 3-point range. Walker got things turned around from the charity stripe. Walker made Florida's final five attempts in the first half.

    The Gators finished 16 of 24 from the free-throw line.

    Florida played shorthanded again, with guard Mike Rosario out for the second consecutive game. Rosario missed several days of practice because of a strained back and was unavailable. Forward Cody Larson missed Florida's last game with strep throat. He was available, but only played the final few seconds.

    Warren leads LSU to 67-58 victory over North Texas

    DENTON, Texas (AP) -- Storm Warren scored a season-high 15 points and had consecutive jumpers that punctuated the go-ahead run for LSU in its sixth consecutive victory, 67-58 at North Texas on Thursday night.

    Three days after a win at home over 10th-ranked Marquette, the Tigers (9-3) went on the road and avenged last season's 20-point home loss against a Mean Green squad coached by former LSU player and assistant coach Johnny Jones.

    Warren hit a jumper from just beyond and left of the free throw line to cap a 10-0 run by the Tigers that put them up 47-38 with about 12 minutes left. The previous LSU basket came when Warren made a shot from nearly the same spot.

    Those baskets came after a stretch when Chris Jones, one of three freshman starters for the Mean Green (6-6), had three consecutive turnovers. One was a steal by Anthony Hickey that led to a breakaway slam by Ralston Turner.

    Jones had 15 points to lead the Mean Green, who had won four in a row. Tony Mitchell, another freshman, added 11 points and five rebounds.

    No. 18 Miss. State beats Northwestern State 82-67

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Arnett Moultrie had 24 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season and No. 18 Mississippi State beat Northwestern State 82-67 on Thursday night.

    Moultrie led a productive night for the Bulldogs' big men. Reserve Wendell Lewis scored a career-high 14 points off the bench, while Renardo Sidney added nine points and four rebounds in the first half before sitting out the rest of the game because of a strained patella tendon in his left knee.

    But Moultrie was the most productive. He shot 8 of 11 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line. Eleven of his 14 rebounds were on the offensive glass.

    Mississippi State (12-1) has won 11 straight games.

    Northwestern State (7-6) pulled within 45-39 early in the second half, but MSU responded with an 11-1 run. Shamir Davis led the Demons with 15 points.

    The Bulldogs won easily despite an off night from most of the guards. Dee Bost, the team's leading scorer with 18 points per game, managed just eight on 3-of-14 shooting.

    Mississippi State jumped out to a 30-11 lead by midway through the first half, feasting on easy baskets at point blank range. Sidney had a particularly violent one-handed tomahawk that highlighted the team's 26 points in the paint during the first half. The Bulldogs took a 41-27 lead into halftime.

    The 6-foot-10 Sidney was playing one of his better games this season during the first half, with nine points and four rebounds in 11 minutes. But he didn't play in the second half because of the knee injury, sitting on the bench with a bag of ice on his left leg.

    Without Sidney, Mississippi State struggled to open the second half. Northwestern State went on a 12-4 run to close the gap to 45-39, but the Bulldogs responded with an 11-1 run of their own to put the game out of reach, capped by a Lewis dunk on a fastbreak that pushed Mississippi State's lead to 56-40.

    Mississippi State outrebounded Northwestern State 44-34 and scored 52 points in the paint. The Bulldogs also had 24 second-chance points.

    Scott, Young lift Arkansas past Louisiana Tech 77-63

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Rickey Scott scored a career-high 18 points and BJ Young added 16 as Arkansas pulled away for a 77-63 win over Louisiana Tech.

    The Razorbacks (8-3) led throughout the second half but were unable to put the Bulldogs away until the last few minutes.

    The win is Arkansas' third win in a row and third in a six-day stretch at home. The Razorbacks are now 8-0 in Bud Walton Arena this season.

    Scott scored 10 of his points in the first half, a stretch that included a pair of thundering dunks. He was joined in double figures by Young and Devon Abron, who finished with 10.

    Raheem Abbleby led Louisiana Tech (7-6) with 23 points, while Trevor Gaskins had 12 and Romario Souza 10.

    Rob Chubb lifts Auburn past Hawaii

    HONOLULU (AP) -- Rob Chubb scored the go-ahead basket on a dunk with 3 seconds left in Auburn' 65-62 victory over Hawaii on Thursday night in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic.

    Frankie Sullivan had 17 points to lead the Tigers (8-1) to their fourth straight victory. Auburn is off to its best start since the 1999-2000 team opened 16-1.

    The Tigers will face Long Beach State in the semifinals Friday night. The 49ers beat No. 14 Xavier 68-58.

    The Rainbow Warriors (5-5) had won three straight. They will face the Musketeers in the consolation bracket.

    "We got out with the win," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. "Hawaii is a good team and we played on their home court. The crowd was great and was into it and made things hard. But at the end of the day, it was a heavyweight fight. They were throwing punches. We were throwing punches and we landed the last one."

    Hawaii took its only lead, at 62-61, with 8 seconds left on Vander Joaquim's jump hook.

    On Auburn's ensuing possession, Varez Ward received the inbounds pass near half court, drove into the paint and passed to Chubb for the uncontested dunk. Auburn's Chris Denson stole Hawaii's inbounds pass and added a free throw to close out the scoring.

    Sullivan was 3 of 7 from 3-point range and had seven rebounds and six assists. Chubb scored 14 points, and Kenny Gabriel added 13 points and nine rebounds. The Tigers were just 1 of 2 from the free-throw line in the first half, and finished 7 of 11.

    "We showed some great poise on the road," Sullivan said. "(Hawaii) had a great crowd behind them. They played great. They weren't missing too many shots. It's great to have a victory."

    Barbee echoed Sullivan.

    "We didn't pass our first road test at Seton Hall and this is the second true road test and I was proud the way they responded," Barbee said. "I talk about there's going to be adversity in every game. There was adversity tonight. We weren't making shots. We were turning the ball over. They made some big shots late, but we didn't let that affect us."

    Zane Johnson scored 18 points to lead Hawaii. Joston Thomas added 12, and Joaquim had 10 points and nine rebounds.