Hamilton leads LSU past South Carolina 68-58
|MEN'S BASKETBALL RESULTS
|LSU 68, South Carolina 58
|Alabama 62, Tennessee 50
|Kentucky 77, Ole Miss 62
|Florida 98, Arkansas 68
|Mississippi State at Auburn
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Justin Hamilton scored 18 points and Storm Warren added 12 to lead LSU to its fourth win in five games, 68-58, over South Carolina on Saturday.
The Tigers (16-10, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) saw their 11-point lead slip to 56-52 after Malik Cooke's consecutive 3-pointers with 4:07 to play. But Hamilton put back Warren's miss and a South Carolina turnover led to Ralston Turner's third three to give the Tigers back their comfortable margin.
The Gamecocks had no answer for LSU's inside game. The 7-foot Hamilton hit five of his eight shots while Warren made six of 10 shots, most from close in. Johnny O'Bryant III, a 6-9 freshman, made four of five baskets in the second half.
Cooke had 17 points for the Gamecocks (10-16, 2-10).
LSU had a seven-point lead cut to 38-36 when South Carolina freshman Brenton Williams was called for a technical for hanging on the rim after his breakaway dunk. Andre Stringer made two foul shots and O'Bryant had three consecutive inside baskets to push LSU ahead. After Stringer hit a jumper and O'Bryant another uncontested shot inside, the Tigers were ahead 50-39.
Anthony Hickey had 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds for LSU.
Anthony Gill was the only other South Carolina player to score in double figures with 11 points. Bruce Ellington, the team's second leading scorer, was only 2-of-11 shooting for four points -- six fewer than his average.
LSU and South Carolina both hoped to capitalize on recent success after awful starts to the SEC season.
The Tigers began 2-5 in the league, yet have won three of their last four including a 69-67 overtime win against Mississippi State this past Tuesday. The Gamecocks, who opened 1-9 in the league, broke a five-game losing streak last Wednesday night, 57-56, against Georgia and were looking for their first two-game SEC win streak since January 2011.
Neither club was all that sharp in in the opening period.
South Carolina hit three of its first nine shots as LSU moved in front 15-8. Then the Tigers went cold for nearly seven minutes and the Gamecocks moved in front 20-17 off a 12-2 surge.
LSU found its range late as freshman point guard Anthony Hickey pushed the pace. He hit a tying 3-pointer, then fed a wide-open Storm Warren for an easy bucket underneath. Justin Hamlton converted two foul shots and Hickey closed the 8-2 run with a foul shot of his own to put LSU ahead 25-22 at the break.
Still, the Tigers were just 4 of 15 from the field the half's final 14 minutes after hitting five of their first eight shots.
Ellington struggled in the opening period as he made just one of his six attempts. South Carolina was 1 of 8 from three-point range.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and her family were in attendance. Haley is a graduate of the Gamecocks' rival Clemson as she reminded South Carolina's two-time national championship baseball coach Ray Tanner this week as he and his team were honored by legislators at the Statehouse. Haley, though, congratulated Tanner and the team for making the state proud.
Lacey leads Alabama past Tennessee 62-50
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Trevor Lacey scored 18 points and had four steals to lead Alabama to a 62-50 win over Tennessee on Saturday.
Trevor Releford finished with 13 points off the bench for the Crimson Tide (17-9, 6-6 Southeastern Conference), who ended Tennessee's four-game win streak. Andrew Steele had 10 points and seven assist.
The game was tied at 32-32 after Jarnell Stokes' three-point play with 17:14 left in the second half. But Alabama answered with a 20-3 run to take control of the contest, claiming a 52-35 lead.
Releford scored nine points during the run for the Crimson Tide, who moved into a tie with Tennessee and LSU for fifth place in the conference.
Jeronne Maymon scored in double-figures for the eighth straight game with 20 points for the Volunteers (14-13, 6-6). Trae Golden had 12 points.
Alabama, which ended a two-game losing streak, played without two suspended starters, JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell, and Green's back-up Nick Jacobs who suffered a mouth injury and had a root canal on Thursday.
Earlier, Alabama went on a 19-4 run to take a 27-17 lead on a field goal and a free throw by Carl Engstrom at the 2:35 mark. Consecutive 3-pointers by Golden pulled the Volunteers to within 27-24.
The score was 29-25 at the half. Maymon scored 12 of Tennessee's first 17 points to keep the Vols close. Lacey had 12 for the Crimson Tide.
No. 1 Kentucky beats Ole Miss 77-62
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Terrence Jones had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 1 Kentucky to a 77-62 victory over Mississippi on Saturday, the Wildcats' 50th consecutive win at home.
The Wildcats (26-1, 11-0 Southeastern Conference) are 49-0 at home under head coach John Calipari as part of the nation's longest active home winning streak.
Kentucky took an early 16-5 lead, but the Rebels took advantage of freshman center Anthony Davis sitting for much of the first half because of foul trouble. Ole Miss forwards Terrance Henry and Murphy Holloway took the ball inside without the nation's leading shot blocker looming. Henry, who had 16 points of his 18 points in the first half, helped the Rebels (15-11, 5-7) take a 31-29 lead.
But the Wildcats hit three straight 3-pointers to take a 43-35 halftime, and they never trailed in the second half.
The double-double was Jones' first of his sophomore season after recording 13 as a freshman.
As Ole Miss was taking the ball inside before halftime, the Wildcats were settling for outside jumpers that initially weren't falling. But Kyle Wiltjer and Darius Miller came off the bench and started hitting shots. Both players had 10 points at halftime, and the hot shooting carried over to the second half. Kentucky finished the game shooting 10 of 18 from 3-point range.
Holloway had 15 points for the Rebels.
Doron Lamb had 16 points for Kentucky, while Miller had 14, Wiltjer 13 and Davis added 10 points, six rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes.
Walker leads No. 14 Florida past Arkansas 98-68
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Florida made itself right at home in Bud Walton Arena.
Erving Walker scored a career-high 31 points and the No. 14 Gators ended Arkansas' perfect home record with a 98-68 win.
Florida (21-6, 9-3 Southeastern Conference) shot a season-high 58.3 percent from the field, hitting a 13 of 23 3-pointers.
Walker, who was 2 of 18 from behind the arc over his last four games, hit his first four 3-point attempts. Florida led 53-27 at halftime after connecting on 9 of 14 3-pointers.
Kenny Boynton had 25 points and Bradley Beal added 21 for the Gators.
The loss ended a 17-0 start to the season in Fayetteville for the Razorbacks (17-10, 5-7), who were led by BJ Young's career-high 31 points. It was Arkansas' worst defeat in Bud Walton Arena since it opened in 1993.
The previous worst loss was a 73-51 defeat to Auburn in 2009. The Razorbacks were down by more than at halftime to Florida, which led 53-27 at the intermission.
That Arkansas team was led by former Razorbacks coach John Pelphrey.
Pelphrey was once again on hand Saturday, only this time as an assistant coach for the Gators after behind fired by Arkansas after last season. He entered the arena to a polite ovation from the Razorbacks crowd, which had few opportunities to cheer once the game started.
Pelphrey was fired after compiling a 69-59 record in four seasons at Arkansas. He said at the time that he wasn't given enough time to turn around a Razorbacks program that had missed the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons.
He was prophetic for much of the season for Arkansas, which had wins over three ranked teams at home on its resume. However, its only lead on Saturday came after Mardracus Wade's 3-pointer put the Razorbacks up 3-2.
The game was all about the Gators after that, particularly Walker in the early going. The senior scored 18 first-half points on 6 of 7 shooting, including 4 of 4 3-pointers.
His previous career high also came against Arkansas, a 27-point effort two years ago as a sophomore.
Walker scored 11-straight points at one point in the half. He opened the stretch with a drive to the basket and followed it with three-straight 3-pointers that helped Florida extend its lead to 30-13.
Florida was 21 of 31 (68 percent) from the field at one point early in the second half and hit 11 of its first 16 3-point attempts. The Gators, who lead the SEC in made 3-pointers, finished 28 of 48 from the field, topping a 56.3 percent performance in a win over LSU on Jan. 21.
Florida opened the season 0-4 on the road, including losses at Ohio State, Syracuse, Rutgers and Tennessee. The Gators improved to 4-5 on the road with the win and have now won four of their last five.
Arkansas was 21 of 57 (37 percent) from the field.
Auburn upsets Mississippi State 65-55
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AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Frankie Sullivan scored 16 points and Kenny Gabriel added 15 points and nine rebounds to help Auburn hold off a Mississippi State comeback attempt in a 65-55 victory on Saturday night
The Tigers (14-12, 4-8 Southeastern Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak. The Bulldogs (19-8, 6-6) have lost three in a row, including a pair of two-point overtime defeats, and cut an 11-point halftime deficit down to three before getting turned back by Auburn.
Varez Ward added 10 points and nine assists for the Tigers, who shot 47.2 percent (25 of 53) while holding Mississippi State to 35.2 percent (19 of 54).
Arnett Moultrie -- who spent two seasons under Auburn coach Tony Barbee at UTEP -- had 16 points and 11 rebounds but was 6-of-15 shooting.
Dee Bost added 11 points for the Bulldogs, who made five 3-pointers in 22 attempts.
The Bulldogs played without starting forward Renardo Sidney, who sat out with back spasms. In his absence, the Tigers scored on plentiful drives and outrebounded Mississippi State 36-31.
Mississippi State opened the second half on a 9-3 run to cut into an 11-point halftime deficit. The Bulldogs eventually whittled it down to 53-50 on a pair of free throws by Moultrie with 5:01 left.
Then Sidney's replacement, Wendell Lewis, missed a pair of free throws and Bost couldn't sink a potential tying 3-pointer.
Rob Chubb rebounded a missed shot and passed back to Gabriel, who drove for a basket and a foul, then hit the free throw to push it to 56-50 with 3:13 remaining.
The Bulldogs didn't make another field goal until Auburn had put the game out of reach.
The Tigers, the SEC's 11th-best foul shooting team, made 7 of 9 free throws over the final 1:15 to avoid giving Mississippi State an opening. They've won four in a row at home against the Bulldogs, whose NCAA tournament hopes absorbed another hit.
The pace was more to Auburn's liking than in a 91-88 loss to Mississippi State two weeks ago.
Auburn's biggest run came in the first half that gave the Tigers the lead for good.
The Tigers scored 16 straight points en route to a 21-4 spurt that turned a seven-point deficit into a 30-20 lead late in the first half. The Bulldogs went 6:05 without scoring.
Mississippi State blew a chance to close the gap. The Bulldogs missed three straight baskets inside on their final possession and coach Rick Stansbury drew a technical after no foul was called.
Sullivan hit 1 of 2 resulting free throws with 10 seconds left and Ward drove for a layup and a 35-24 halftime lead at the buzzer.