SEC Men's Basketball Today: January 3 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Men's Basketball Today: January 3

    Florida 79, UAB 61
    South Carolina 79, South Carolina State 51
    Kentucky 73, UALR 51
    Arkansas 83, Savannah State 66
    Ole Miss 50, SMU 48
    Alabama 73, Georgia Tech 48

    No. 13 Florida beats UAB 79-61 before SEC play

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Erving Walker scored 23 points, Kenny Boynton added 20 and No. 13 Florida beat UAB 79-61 on Tuesday night, the Gators' final tuneup before beginning Southeastern Conference play.

    Patric Young chipped in 15 points and seven rebounds for the Gators (12-3), who won their 14th consecutive home game.

    Cameron Moore led the Blazers (5-8) with 15 points. Ovie Soko had 13 points and 12 rebounds.

    Florida trailed midway through the first half and couldn't seem to keep the Blazers off the boards. UAB held a 21-13 rebounding advantage at halftime, but Florida coach Billy Donovan challenged his team at the break.

    The Gators were much more aggressive in the second half. The biggest difference, though, was the 3-point line. Florida made 15 of 27 from behind the arc.

    Florida hit four 3s -- three of them by Boynton -- in a3-minute span early in the second to push its lead to 21 points.

    About the only excitement the rest of the way was a power surge that knocked out lights on both baselines. Donovan and UAB coach Mike Davis agreed to play through dim conditions in the O'Connell Center.

    UAB made a small run in the less-than-ideal conditions, cutting the lead to 64-55 with 5:01 to play, but then Boynton and Walker hit back-to-back 3s that made it a 15-point lead again.

    The Gators lead the nation in 3-point shooting. Boynton made 6 of 10, and Walker hit 7 of 9.

    About the only thing amiss for Florida was Bradley Beal. The freshman was 2 of 15 from the field, including 0 for 3 from 3-point range. He missed from everywhere, including a driving layup with a little more than a minute remaining.

    Florida also played short-handed for the third time in the last five games. Guard Mike Rosario sat out after spraining an ankle in practice. He also missed two games with a back injury.

    The Gators finished non-conference play with three losses, all on the road. They open SEC play Saturday at Tennessee.

    All 12 score as South Carolina tops SC State 79-51

    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Malik Cooke and Damontre Harris scored 11 points each to lead South Carolina's balanced scoring in a 79-51 victory over South Carolina State on Tuesday night.

    All 12 players scored at least one point for the Gamecocks (8-6), who won their fourth straight and sixth of their past seven in their final nonconference game of the season.

    Bruce Ellington, Damien Leonard and RJ Slawson added nine points apiece for South Carolina, whose victory margin over the Bulldogs (4-10) was its largest this season, surpassing its 25-point margin in a season-opening 75-50 win over Western Carolina.

    Ellington was playing a day after serving as a kick returner and wide receiver in the Gamecocks' 30-13 victory over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. The sophomore guard missed Saturday's win over South Carolina Upstate but was coming off a 17-point effort in his last outing a 57-45 win over Wofford on Dec. 28.

    The Gamecocks never trailed and improved to 18-0 all-time against their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent.

    Eric Smith made the first of South Carolina's seven 3-pointers in the first half to make it 5-2. South Carolina finished 7 of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half and shot 58.6 percent (17 of 29) overall as it built a 45-23 halftime advantage.

    Luka Radovic led the way for South Carolina State with 15 points. The Bulldogs have lost eight in a row, the past seven on the road. The last time South Carolina State played a home game was on Nov. 29 against Georgia State.

    South Carolina opens SEC play on the road Saturday at No. 2 Kentucky.

    Davis leads No. 2 Kentucky to 73-51 win over UALR

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and the No. 2 Wildcats overcame a slow start with a big run that put away Arkansas-Little Rock 73-51 on Tuesday night at Freedom Hall.

    Darius Miller's 3-pointer with 11:03 left put the Wildcats up 45-35 and made him the 58th Kentucky player to score 1,000 points. Kentucky used a 23-1 run to storm past the undermanned Trojans.

    Kentucky (14-1) played for the first time since beating then-No. 4 Louisville on Dec. 31 and moving up one spot behind top-ranked Syracuse.

    Chuck Guy scored 19 points for UALR (5-11).

    Kentucky trailed 34-31, after Guy made two free throws with 16:11 left, before the Wildcats took control.

    Davis' layup changed the lead for the eighth and final time just over a minute later. Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hit a 3-pointer, Davis added a jumper, and Miller made a 3 to join the 1,000-point club and give Kentucky a 45-35 edge with 11 minutes left.

    It was 54-35 after Doron Lamb's layup with 8:35 to go. UALR went nearly 10 minutes between field goals before Courtney Jackson's layup.

    Miller finished with 15 points, and Terrence Jones added 10 for the Wildcats, who also got 10 rebounds from Kidd-Gilchrist.

    Kentucky, picked to win its 45th conference title, will open its SEC schedule against South Carolina on Saturday at Rupp Arena and give its freshman class a taste of the league. Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis have excelled, so far. Davis blocked three more shots to give him 67 for the season and move him into a tie for 10th on the school's single-season blocks list with more than half the schedule to play.

    Davis, who leads the nation in the category, came into play Tuesday night with as many or more blocks than 283 Division I teams.

    UALR made the NCAA tournament last season, but graduated its top three scorers, including Sun Belt Conference player of the year Solomon Bozeman. Will Neighbour had picked up some of that void, averaging 18.3 points and eight rebounds over the last two weeks, but he injured his right shoulder in the final minute of a win at Denver.

    Even with Neighbour out, UALR took it right to the Wildcats early, despite being a 28-point underdog. D'Andre Williams scored 11 points, and Jackson added 11 rebounds.

    Guy dove over the Trojans' bench into the second row to unsuccessfully save a loose ball, then nailed consecutive 3-pointers in the closing minutes of the first half. After the sophomore's second, he held three fingers out and pumped his hands in joy as he gave UALR a 30-25 lead, its biggest of the game.

    With 14,747 in attendance, there were several thousand empty seats in Freedom Hall, which opened in 1956 and holds nearly 19,000. Kentucky plays an annual home game in the arena even though attendance has lagged in recent years because of lackluster opponents.

    The Wildcats won there for the 60th time in 78 games.

    UALR led 30-27 at halftime, the third time this season Kentucky trailed at the break.

    Young, Scott lead Arkansas by Savannah State 83-66

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- BJ Young and Rickey Scott scored 17 points apiece as Arkansas held on for an 83-66 win over Savannah State on Tuesday night.

    The win is the sixth straight for the Razorbacks (11-3), who open Southeastern Conference play at home on Saturday against Mississippi State. Arkansas is 11-0 in Bud Walton Arena this season.

    Scott finished in double figures for the fourth straight game, leading the Razorbacks in scoring for the third time during that stretch. Young, Arkansas' leading scorer for the season, made his second career start -- faring much better than a six-point effort in his only other start on Dec. 17.

    Arnold Louis led the Tigers (5-9), who shot just 38.5 percent, with 13 points.

    Ole Miss beats SMU, 50-48

    OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Terrance Henry scored 13 points, including four in the final two minutes, to lead Mississippi over Southern Methodist 50-48 on Tuesday night.

    Ole Miss (10-4) struggled to put away the Mustangs, trailing 48-46 with less than two minutes remaining. But Henry scored on a driving layup to tie the game and then hit two free throws with 28.3 seconds remaining to give the Rebels the lead.

    Ole Miss snapped a three-game losing streak. Reggie Buckner added eight points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. Maurice Aniefiok scored eight points off the bench.

    Robert Nyakundi scored 12 points and Jeremiah Samarrippas added 10 as SMU rallied from a 31-21 second-half deficit, but it wasn't enough. The Mustangs (8-6) shot 36.5 percent (19 of 52) from the field.

    Ole Miss survived this game thanks to Henry's late points, but with SEC play looming on Saturday in a road opener against LSU, the Rebels are desperately searching for consistent offense. Henry is averaging 11.5 points per game -- which ranks second on the team -- and coach Andy Kennedy hopes the 6-foot-9 senior can provide more consistency as Ole Miss approaches the most critical weeks on the schedule.

    The Rebels started with a promising 9-1 record this season despite an inability to score consistently. But the offensive problems caught up with them in late December, with three consecutive losses to Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee and Dayton.

    Ole Miss came into Tuesday's game shooting just 42.9 percent from the field, including 28.4 percent from 3-point range and an anemic 58.7 percent on free throws -- which ranks 333rd out of 338 NCAA Division I teams.

    In beating SMU, the Rebels improved on their free throws -- making 14 of 17 -- but little else. Ole Miss shot 34.1 percent (15 of 44) from the field and 26.1 percent (6 of 23) from 3-point range.

    Luckily for Ole Miss, SMU was just as bad on offense. Even so, the Mustangs had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, but guard Aliaksei Patsevich missed an open 3-pointer.

    Ole Miss led 28-21 at halftime despite shooting just 33.3 percent (8 of 24) from the field. The Rebels stretched that lead to 31-21 on Henry's 3-pointer early in the second half, but the Mustangs responded with a 10-0 run to tie the game 15:01 remaining.

    Releford, Mitchell, Alabama top Georgia Tech 73-48

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Trevor Releford scored 17 points, Tony Mitchell added 14 and Alabama coasted to a 73-48 victory over Georgia Tech Tuesday night.

    JaMychal Green, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference forward, finished with nine points and five rebounds in 22 minutes for the Crimson Tide (11-3). Green did not start, but played for the first time since injuring his right shoulder in a Dec. 17 loss to Kansas State.

    Alabama, which has won three straight and four of five, opens its SEC schedule Saturday at Georgia.

    Kammeon Holsey finished with 14 points for Georgia Tech (7-7), which has lost three straight. The Yellow Jackets dropped to 0-2 at Philips Arena, where they will host No. 5 Duke in both schools' Atlantic Coast Conference opener Saturday.

    After Green's finger-roll gave the Crimson Tide a 40-22 lead to end the first-half scoring, Georgia Tech's Julian Royal made it 41-31 on a layup with 17:11 remaining.

    But less than 5 minutes later, the Crimson Tide led by 22 following two free throws by Andrew Steele.

    Tuesday marked Steele's first game since suffering a concussion in last year's SEC tournament. The junior guard finished with nine points, including a three-point play that made it 60-37 with 10:13 remaining.

    Yellow Jackets coach Brian Gregory did not start Glen Rice Jr., who went scoreless in a 72-66 loss at Fordham last week and was suspended three games to begin the season after breaking a team rule. Rice finished with five points and went 2 of 7 from the field.

    Royal added 10 points for Georgia Tech, which ranks No. 235 in assists-to-turnover ratio and committed 22 turnovers with 12 assists.

    Mitchell moved right to left along the baseline and took a pass from Releford for a dunk that gave the Crimson Tide a 26-15 lead with 8:39 left in the first half.

    Releford followed with a fastbreak layup 4 minutes later to put Alabama up 34-20.