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    SEC Men's Basketball Today: November 11

    South Carolina 82, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 75 (OT)
    Florida 84, Alabama State 35
    Alabama 80, West Alabama 49

    Gamecocks Claim 82-75 Overtime Win Over Milwaukee In Season Opener

    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Brenton Williams scored 12 of his 14 points in overtime as South Carolina (1-0) overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half to defeat Wisconsin-Milwaukee 82-75 Sunday in Frank Martin's debut as Gamecocks coach.

    They trailed 40-23 early in the second half. But Carolina ended the period on a 26-12 run and tied things on two foul shots by freshman Mindaugas Kacinas to force the extra period.

    Freshman forward Michael Carrera was stellar in the contest, posting a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. It marked the first double-double by a Gamecock freshman since the 2008 campaign. Kacinas also pulled down double-digit rebounds with 13, while adding eight points.

    Senior transfer LaShay Page paced Carolina with 19 points, including 17 in the second half. Williams posted 14 points, including a perfect 8-of-8 performance from the free throw line in overtime.

    Jordan Aaron had 28 points to lead the Panthers (1-1).

    The teams traded baskets early in the first half before Kacinas assisted Williams on a layup underneath to give Carolina a 14-11 upperhand at the 12:38 mark.

    The Panthers responded with an 8-0 run through the under-eight minute media timeout, before a lay-up from Carrera at the 6:21 mark halted the scoring drought for Carolina.

    The difference in the first half was eight made 3's from the Panthers, while the Gamecocks were 0-of-8 from beyond the arc. Carrera ended the half with a near double-double, scoring nine points and pulling down nine rebounds, but UWM held a 38-23 upperhand at the break.

    Carolina started the second half on a 9-2 run, propelled by a lay-up and two jumpers from Page, which forced an early timeout from Milwaukee.

    After the break, stellar play from the Gamecocks brought the score within four at 40-36. Carrera hit a pair of free throws before Kacinas blocked a shot at the opposite end and assisted on Page's fifth made basket of the second half at the 14:32 mark.

    Milwaukee extended its lead to 50-36 with 11:53 remaining, but the Gamecocks continued to battle.

    The Gamecocks had cut Wisconsin-Milwaukee's lead to 63-58 with 4:32 to go when Theirno Niang hit the team's 13th 3-pointer to give them an eight-point cushion with under 4 minutes to go.

    Kacinas began the final charge in regulation with an inside bucket, Carrera had a putback, and Eric Smith drove in for a layup to make it 66-64 with 1:18 to go.

    After Niang missed a 3-point try, Kacinas found himself with the ball outside the 3-point line and time running down. He got fouled by Kyle Kelm on the long-range attempt and made 2-of-3 free throws to tie the game.

    Carrera got things going in overtime with two foul shots as South Carolina moved in front for the first time since early in the opening half. Kacinas followed with two more foul shots before Williams took over.

    Williams scored 12 of Carolina's 16 points in overtime.


    Upperclassmen Respond in Rout of Alabama State to Official Open the Season

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Billy Donovan was furious with his starters during Saturday’s practice. He didn’t like their effort, intensity or commitment to defense and rebounding, so he stopped the workout and told the team to come back at 8 p.m. to try again.

    Frankly, that practice wasn’t that great either, as Donovan and his assistants pointed out more than once. The coaches couldn’t believe after Friday’s experience on the battleship -- being around all those determined soldiers and that remarkably inspiring environment -- how they could be so flat, especially after playing only half a game. And they couldn't understand how UF's four-man freshmen class, despite their mistakes, out-hustled the older guys.

    Then came Sunday’s shoot-around six hours before the season opener against Alabama State.

    And the message.

    “You get four minutes to show me something,” Donovan told his first five. “If I don’t get what I want, you’re all coming out.”

    The 10th-Gators scored the game’s first eight points, allowed just one field goal through the first 16-plus minutes and stomped the outmanned Hornets 84-35 to run away with a “second” season opener before 8,047 at the O’Connell Center.

    Senior Kenny Boynton, forced to play point guard with the suspension of Scottie Wilbekin, scored 22 points on 8-for-10 shooting (making all four 3-point attempts) to go with six rebounds and five assists. Senior forward Erik Murphy had 15 points, junior center Patric Young added 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for his fifth-career double-double.

    While on the subject of those upperclassmen starters: guard Mike Rosario had 14 points and three steals, while Will Yeguete had seven rebounds and five assists.

    Meanwhile, those freshmen who wowed the home crowd 10 days ago by scoring 50 of 101 points in a blowout exhibition game, well, they had in a reality check in combining to score 17 points on 6-for-20 shooting, with guard Michael Frazier II going 0-for-6 from the floor.

    No, this game -- this day -- was about the veterans and how they would respond to being challenged.

    “[The coaches] were mad at us all day [Saturday],” said Boynton, adding the players met in the locker room after the evening practice and vowed to take the court Sunday with more passion and fire. “It was our first game. We needed to come out and provide intensity and get defensive stops.”

    “Some days, you come to practice and you won’t be great -- and practice yesterday wasn’t too great,” Murphy said. “Coach knew what he was doing. He always knows what he’s doing. Sure enough, we came out today and sustained a defensive effort.”

    Suffice to say, 8 percent shooting (Alabama State went 2-for-25 in the first half) would qualify as a "sustained defensive effort" -- even if the Hornets (0-2) did manage to make 10 of its 31 shots after intermission (32.3 percent).

    It wasn’t good enough to erase the 47-9 deficit, though. Florida shot 60 percent in the first half, won the glass 50-30 and took 30 free throws.

    The nine first-half points by the Hornets were the fewest scored in a half by a UF opponents since the NCAA implemented its shot clock for the 1984-85 season.

    “I think it kind of speaks for itself,” Alabama State coach Lewis Jackson said. “With the energy they brought defensively, it kind of took us out of everything we wanted to do.”

    With the Gators challenging every shot, the Hornets turned the ball over 19 times, did not hit their 20th point until 6:24 remained in the game and trailed as many as 57 points in the second half.

    Message sent, message received.

    “I really understand what Coach Donovan does,” Young said. “He’s trying to motivate us psychologically. You may want to think, ‘This guy is not going to take my spot,’ so it gets you to play harder. We all came out with great energy, great focus and got the job done.”

    Donovan saw the Gators exhibit all those traits in Friday night’s one half against Georgetown, before the game on the USS Bataan was canceled at halftime due to condensation on the floor.

    When he didn’t see it at practice yesterday, he demanded to see it Sunday.


    Or else.

    “If you love basketball, it shouldn’t matter who you’re playing; it should matter that you’re playing,” Donovan said. “It’s very, very easy to get jacked up on a ship with 3,000 sailors and national TV. The circumstances and surroundings have an impact on your emotions. You’ve got to have a competitive maturity to move from one game to the next.”

    Next up: No. 23 Wisconsin at home Wednesday night.

    The Badgers should have UF's attention; for the game and the practices before.

    “This was a good game to get everyone in and get a feel for the game,” Boynton said. “And we’ll be ready for the next one.”


    Alabama Men's Basketball beats West Alabama

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team beat West Alabama, 80-49 Sunday afternoon in game two of the 2K Sports Classic at Coleman Coliseum. Sophomore Trevor Laceyled the Crimson Tide with a career-high 23 points.

    "This was certainly, for us, turning the field early and for our guys to come out after a very emotional win on Friday and bounce back today, I thought we responded pretty well," UA head coach Anthony Grantsaid. "In the first half, I thought again we had too many turnovers. They were able to get on the board against us quite a bit and we had to find our way."

    Sophomore guard Trevor Laceyhad a career night, scoring 23 points and going 5-5 from behind the three-point line while also having a team-high four assists. Tigers Center Jack Hill provided his team with 18 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.

    Leading by just one at the midpoint of the first half, the Tide stretched its lead to 11 at the half, 36-25.

    "In the second half I thought our intensity really picked up and I thought we did a much better job of taking care of the basketball and finding each other," Grant said. "In the second half we had 11 assists and 4 turnovers. Those are areas we just have to get better in. We've got to continue to understand what allows us to win and be successful. We've got to be able to take care of the basketball. We've got to rebound the basketball."

    Alabama outscored the Tigers 44-24 in the second half to put the game away. In addition to Lacey, sophomore Rodney Cooper added 16 point to go along with his team-high seven rebounds while Trevor Relefordhad 14 points of his own.