Davis shines, No. 1 Kentucky tops Vandy, 83-74
WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
|men's basketball RESULTS
|Kentucky 83, Vanderbilt 74
|Ole Miss 72, LSU 48
|Arkansas 77, Auburn 71
|Georgia 76, Florida 62
|Alabama 67, Mississippi State 50
|Tennessee 73, South Carolina 64
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Freshman Anthony Davis scored a career-high 28 points on 10-of-11 shooting, and No. 1 Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 83-74 on Saturday to win the Southeastern Conference regular season title for the 45th time.
The Wildcats (28-1, 14-0) have won 51 straight at home and are on a 20-game winning streak overall. Kentucky trailed at halftime, however, and needed a late surge to put away the scrappy Commodores.
Davis, who had 11 rebounds and six blocks, hit an 18-foot jumper as the shot clock expired with 1:06 left. Terrence Jones added a dunk, and Davis blocked Lance Goulbourne's shot with 31 seconds to go to put the game away.
Jeffery Taylor scored 19 points for Vanderbilt (20-9, 9-5), and John Jenkins added 15 of his 18 points in the second half.
Kentucky's fellow freshmen also chipped in. Point guard Marquis Teague scored 16 points, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had eight points and eight rebounds before fouling out for the Wildcats, who trailed at halftime at home for just the second time this year.
That proved to be no big deal, thanks to Davis, one of the leading candidates for national player of the year.
Davis' play put Kentucky in position to finish a perfect record in the SEC with a home game Thursday night against Georgia and on the road against Florida next Sunday.
Only two teams since 1956 have finished league play undefeated -- Kentucky in 1996 and 2003. The 1996 team went on to win a national title, and the '03 group lost in the regional finals.
This team, which starts three freshmen and two sophomores, expects to play for a national title in April and hasn't lost since a buzzer-beat shot at Indiana on Dec. 10.
Vanderbilt proved to be a big test, taking a 37-36 halftime lead before Davis scored the first two baskets of the second half as two fans held up a sign in the student section that said "Big Blue Brow."
Jenkins, the reigning SEC player of the week, hit a 3 that tied it at 45, but Kentucky took a 66-56 lead with 7:47 left sparked by Wildcats senior Darius Miller, who hit a 3 and added a jumper that gave the Wildcats their first double-digit lead.
Vanderbilt, which starts four seniors who had won at every venue in the SEC over their four years except Rupp Arena, had one more run.
Taylor scored on a drive, and Jenkins, a junior, hit consecutive 3-pointers and one of two free throws that cut it to 66-65 with 4:22 left. Davis answered with a jumper as the shot clock expired.
Teague added one of two free throws and Jones made two more that gave the Wildcats a 71-65 lead with 2:42 to go. The Commodores managed to foul out Kidd-Gilchrist but missed free throws in bunches late.
Taylor missed two, and Festus Ezeli, who finished with 15 points, missed one of two with 2:30 left as the Commodores went 5 of 11 in the second half.
Miller answered with a floater. After Jenkins drove for an uncontested layup, Davis hit the 18-footer that gave Kentucky a 75-68 lead with 1:06 left as the Wildcats finished with a flourish thanks to Jones and Davis' big block.
Kentucky led by as many as eight in the first half, but the Commodores used a 9-0 run capped by three free throws by Brad Tinsley to take a 36-34 lead early in the first half. Davis hit two free throws, but Tinsley hit one more with 3.2 seconds left that let the Commodores join North Carolina as the only teams to have a halftime lead at Rupp Arena this season.
Just like against the Tar Heels, Kentucky made sure it didn't last long.
Henry, Williams lead Ole Miss pasts LSU 72-48
WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Terrance Henry scored 21 points, Nick Williams added 18 and Mississippi snapped a three-game losing by beating LSU 72-48 on Saturday.
Henry, a 6-foot-9 senior, became the 33rd player in Ole Miss history to score 1,000 career points. He had one of his better games this season, making 7 of 12 shots from the field.
Ole Miss (16-12, 6-8 Southeastern Conference) never trailed, leading 34-24 at halftime before pulling away in the second half.
It was a crushing loss for LSU (17-11, 7-7), which had played its way into the NCAA Tournament conversation with a four-game winning streak. But the Tigers had a terrible offensive game, shooting just 31 percent (18 of 58) from the field.
Storm Warren led LSU with 13 points. Andre Stringer added 10 while Johnny O'Bryant had nine points and 11 rebounds.
The game was a stark contrast to the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 7, when LSU drilled the Rebels 81-55 in Baton Rouge, La.
Ole Miss took the lead immediately on Henry's pull-up 3-pointer and never let up.
Henry had 13 first-half points, passing the 1,000-point mark on a pair of free throws. He's just the second Ole Miss player to have 1,000 career points and 100 career blocks.
Henry's had an up-and-down senior season, with some spectacular games mixed with virtual no-shows. But he played to his strengths against LSU, finishing with his left hand on drives to the basket and making open jumpers. He came into averaging a team-high 11.9 points.
Williams added 12 points in the first half, shooting 5 of 5 from the field, including two 3-pointers.
Ole Miss kept rolling in the second half. The Rebels stretched their lead to 43-26 on a short jumper by Williams with 13:04 remaining and were never threatened, rolling to a rare easy victory.
LSU coach Trent Johnson didn't see the end of it, receiving back-to-back technical fouls with 7:17 remaining. Ole Miss hit three of the four free throws assessed after the two technical to push its lead to 55-34.
LSU is used to playing low-scoring games, winning each of its previous four games with scores in the 60s. But the Tigers couldn't get into any sort of offensive rhythm against the Rebels' suffocating half-court defense.
LSU's leading scorer Justin Hamilton -- who was averaging 13.6 points per game -- didn't score until late in the second half when the game was already decided. He finished with two points and six rebounds.
Scott leads Arkansas past Auburn 77-71
WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Rickey Scott scored 22 points and Arkansas picked up its first road win in nine tries this season, beating Auburn 77-71 on Saturday.
Mardracus Wade added 18 points for the Razorbacks (18-11, 6-8 Southeastern Conference), who trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half. B.J. Young and Brandon Mitchell each scored 10.
Allen Payne and Frankie Sullivan each had 15 points for Auburn (14-14, 4-10). Kenny Gabriel scored 14 points and Rob Chubb added 11.
The Tigers shot 54.2 percent (13 of 24) from the line -- a deficiency that was costly down the stretch after Arkansas retook the lead late.
Auburn played without guards Varez Ward and Chris Denson, the team's third and fourth leading scorers.
Ward and Denson, who injured his knee against Florida on Tuesday, were both not on the bench for the game. Tigers coach Tony Barbee said after the game both players are suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
After trailing by double figures for most of the first half, Arkansas cut the Auburn lead to 41-37 on a 3-pointer from Wade with 19:41 left to play.
The Tigers responded with eight straight points over the next 1:54, pulling ahead with a 49-37 advantage on a Chubb runner in the lane with 17:20 left.
Arkansas answered right back with a 16-5 run, closing the gap to 54-53 at the 11:31 mark on a jumper by Julysses Nobles, his first basket of the game.
Nobles struck again, from 3-point range, to give Arkansas the lead at 63-62 with 5:52 to go. It was the Razorbacks' first lead since 5-4 at the 18:35 mark of the first half.
The teams traded the lead four times over the next four minutes, until Young hit a runner in the lane to put Arkansas up 71-70 with 2:05 remaining.
Young, who scored 52 points in the two previous games, was quiet for most of the game until scoring six straight points to vault Arkansas into the lead.
Auburn had four chances from the free throw line to cut into the Razorbacks lead down the stretch but hit only one, and Arkansas closed out the game.
Auburn spread the ball around early, with all five of its starters hitting a shot in the first 3:52.
Gabriel scored five straight points -- on a deep 3-pointer and a breakaway layup off a turnover -- to polish off a 19-4 run over 5:21 that built the Tigers' lead to 21-9 with 12:14 left in the first half.
The Tigers hit 14 of their first 20 shots, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, extending their lead to 35-18 on a Sullivan layup at the 6:55 mark before Arkansas could start cutting into the deficit.
The Razorbacks closed the half on a 16-6 run, with 14 of their 16 points coming from Scott or Wade, to go into the break trailing 41-34.
Scott scored 18 in the first half on 7-of-9 shooting, and Wade added 10.
Sullivan and Gabriel each had 10 in the first half for the Tigers.
Caldwell-Pope sparks Georgia past No. 12 Florida
WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 points, Gerald Robinson added 15 and Georgia snapped No. 12 Florida's three-game winning streak with a 76-62 victory Saturday.
The Gators, who never led in the game, trailed by double digits most of the second half. They whittled the lead to five points on Kenny Boynton's 3-pointer with 1:53 remaining.
Georgia (13-15, 4-10 Southeastern Conference) scored the next six points as Dustin Ware and Donte' Williams both made two free throws and Caldwell-Pope followed with a breakaway dunk to make it 73-62.
Florida (22-7, 10-4) is second, one game ahead of Vanderbilt in the SEC. Bradley Beal scored 19 points for the Gators, who close the regular season next week at Vanderbilt and at home against No. 1 Kentucky
Florida had won 10 of 12 overall and had taken of 15 of 17 against Georgia, including three straight.
They held the Bulldogs to 48 points in a 22-point victory in Gainesville on Jan. 10, but Georgia got 12 points from Nemanja Djurisic and 11 each from Williams and Ware.
With Georgia leading 63-53, the Gators had three chances to cut the lead to single digits, but Boynton missed a layup, Erving Walker's 3-point attempt never touched the rim and Patric Young committed a turnover before Robinson's free throws made it 65-53 with 2:51 remaining.
The Gators missed 13 of their first 16 shots from the field before Boynton's 3 cut the lead to 19-11 midway through the first half. Beal's layup brought Florida within three at the 2:48 mark, but Georgia went on a 10-2 run to make it 36-25 in the final minute of the half.
Walker scored 14 points and Boynton added 11 for Florida, which was assessed a technical foul for dunking in pregame warmups and trailed 2-0 on the two free throws by Robinson before tipoff.
Caldwell-Pope combined with Robinson to score 21 of Georgia's 36 first-half points.
Georgia began the game ranked last in the SEC in scoring, but finished 15 points above its average. Florida was 15 points under its SEC-leading average.
The Gators, who played their first game without top reserve Will Yeguette after the sophomore forward broke his left foot Tuesday against Auburn, were just 5 of 23 on 3-point attempts. They began the game leading the nation with an average of 10.3 3-pointers per game.
Alabama downs Mississippi State 67-50
WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Levi Randolph scored a career-high 18 points and Alabama welcomed JaMychal Green back from suspension with a dominant second half in Saturday's 67-50 win over reeling Mississippi State.
The Crimson Tide (19-9, 8-6 Southeastern Conference) has won six of eight games and weathered a storm of off-the-court troubles. Green, one of four players to serve a suspension the past couple of weeks, returned after four games to score nine points.
The Bulldogs (19-10, 6-8) have lost five straight and are left trying to salvage their NCAA tournament hopes.
This one was tied at halftime before Alabama dominated the second half 42-25. The Tide shot 64 percent (16 of 25) after the half and made 5 of 7 3-pointers (71.4 percent).
Trevor Releford came off the bench for only the second time this season and had 10 points.
Randolph also had seven rebounds, four assists and three steals with no turnovers. The freshman's previous scoring high was 13 points against Vanderbilt.
Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney had 14 points apiece for Mississippi State.
Arnett Moultrie had seven points and eight rebounds, well below his season averages. He attempted only three field goals as Alabama mostly denied him the ball around the basket.
The Bulldogs managed a season-low in points and shot 38.2 percent (18 of 47). Alabama took the same number of shots but made 25 (53.2 percent).
The Tide started a 21-7 run at the end of the first half to take a 43-32 lead when Green hit 1 of 2 free throws with 12:57 left.
Sidney then hit a basket and foul shot and Jalen Steele drilled a 3-pointer to slice the margin to five points. Then things got away from the Bulldogs again.
Alabama answered with two straight Releford drives to start a 14-1 run and retake control of the game.
A previously scoreless Charles Hankerson hit for seven straight points to end the spurt, helping Alabama roll to an 18-point margin.
Those were his only points of the game in 10 minutes of action. The Tide got 32 points from its bench compared to just two from Mississippi State reserves.
Alabama guard Trevor Lacey started, but with five minutes left in the first half he appeared to reinjure a right ankle he sprained two nights earlier at Arkansas. He hobbled off the court and didn't play again.
Green, the Tide's leading scorer and rebounder, entered the game to loud applause with 13:58 left in the first half. He didn't appear too rusty, managing a quick assist at the end of a fast-break layup
He made 3 of 4 baskets.
Releford had hit three free throws with four-tenths of a second left in the first half to tie the game at 25 and that momentum carried over into the second half.
Golden leads Tennessee past South Carolina 73-64
WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS HERE
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Trae Golden had 21 points and Jordan McRae added 16 points and eight rebounds to lead Tennessee to a 73-64 win over South Carolina on Saturday night,
The Volunteers (16-13, 8-6 Southeastern) never trailed and shot 52.2 percent, (24 of 46) becoming the seventh SEC team to shoot 50 percent or better this season against the Gamecocks.
It was just the second road SEC win of the season for Tennessee, but it kept the Volunteers in fourth place, tied with Alabama, as they try to get a bye into the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.
Tennessee won despite turning the ball over 21 times. The Volunteers had lost their other two games in which they gave away the ball at least 20 times.
South Carolina (10-18, 2-12) shot just 32.4 percent (22 of 68). With two games left in the season, the Gamecocks are guaranteed the worst record in the SEC for the second time in six seasons.
Bruce Ellington led South Carolina with 19 points, while Malik Cooke added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Tennessee has won 11 in a row over South Carolina and remains one of two teams fourth-year Gamecocks coach Darrin Horn has not beaten. Horn is 0-10 in his nine-year career against the Volunteers.
Jeronne Maymon scored 14 points and had eight rebounds, while Cameron Tatum had five points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Volunteers.
Tennessee jumped out to an 11-point lead several times in the first half, including after a Jordan McRae 3-pointer put the Volunteers up 27-16 with seven minutes to go until halftime.
But Tennessee couldn't stop its sloppy play. The Volunteers had 11 turnovers in the first half, including giving the ball away on three straight possessions in the final two minutes. A 3 by Bruce Ellington cut Tennessee's lead to 34-32, but Ellington missed another 3 at the buzzer that would have given South Carolina the lead at the half.
The Volunteers opened the second half on a 16-7 run, then after a three-point play by Anthony Gill cut South Carolina's deficit to 50-42 with 11:56 to go, Tennessee went on a 16-9 run that put the Volunteers ahead 66-50 with just over four minutes to go.
South Carolina had just 10 turnovers, but poor shooting did the Gamecocks in. It was their fifth game in the SEC shooting under 35 percent, including their loss earlier this month at Tennessee.
Brenton Williams scored 11 points and Gill added nine points. Starting forward Damontre Harris was in foul trouble all game, missing his only shot and having just one rebound in 11 minutes before fouling out.