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    SEC Men's Basketball Today: December 18

    Men's Basketball RESULTS
    Georgia 58, Mercer 49
    Tennessee 78, Presbyterian 62
    Auburn 81, Tennessee Tech 62
    Texas A&M 66, TAMU-Corpus Christi 54
    LSU 66, UC Irvine 60


    Georgia Takes Care of Mercer
     

    ATHENS, Ga.--With over 4,000 Athens-area students, teachers and staff in attendance, the Georgia men's basketball team picked up its third win of the season beating in-state foe Mercer 58-49 Tuesday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
     
    "Today was important and we needed to win," said head coach Mark Fox. "We won the game today because we played such a physical schedule early. We had to be sound for 40 minutes to win this game because [Mercer isn't] making very many mistakes."
     
    The win snaps Georgia's three-game losing streak and is the Bulldogs' 17th in a row over Mercer.
     
    Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 17 points and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Charles Mann also contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.
     
    Georgia took a 26-20 lead into halftime largely behind nine first half points from Caldwell-Pope. Both teams combined for nineteen turnovers in the half.
     
    Mercer opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take the lead 27-26, but Georgia responded with a 13-2 run, capped by two three-pointers from senior guard Sherrard Brantley to go up 39-31. Mann increased the Georgia lead to 53-43 with a dunk with just under four minutes remaining
     
    Georgia, which allowed no Mercer player to score in double-figures, held the Bears to just 31 percent shooting from the field (16-of-51) and 23 percent behind the three-point arc (6-of-26).
     
    Mercer center Daniel Coursey led the Bears offensively with nine points.
     
    Georgia will continue its five-game home stand Saturday when it tips with Southern California at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.



    Tennessee Uses Balanced Attack to Down Presbyterian 


    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Jarnell Stokes dominated inside for 18 points to lead five Vols in double figures as Tennessee cruised to a 78-62 win over Presbyterian on Tuesday at Thompson-Boling Arena before 14,495.
     
    Tennessee (6-3) had the edge in nearly every aspect of the game, outrebounding Presbyterian (2-9), 42-22. The Vols had just six turnovers, the fewest in the Cuonzo Martin era.
     
    Stokes had seven rebounds and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe to lead UT's interior attack.
     
    Trae Golden, coming off a season-high 25 points against Wichita State last week, continued to have the hot hand. The junior point guard scored 16 points and dished out a season-high eight assists without a turnover.
     
    Jordan McRae (12), Skylar McBee (12) and D'Montre Edwards (career-high 11) all scored in double-figures.
     
    Tennessee started the second half with more inside scoring. After a Stokes layup, Golden connected for a short jumper with 18:09 on the clock to cap a 12-0 UT run and push the Vols' lead to 47-13. That 34-point margin was the largest of the game.
     
    Presbyterian's Khalid Mutakabbir (18 points) made a 3-pointer at the 17:45 mark to end a 0-for-6 Blue Hose stretch that lasted 5:56, going back to the end of the first half. That score sparked a brief 8-2 PC run, thanks to a pair of steals by Eric Washington on inbounds passes. All eight points came from Mutakabbir, who pulled the Blue Hose to within 50-21 with a free throw at the 16:08 mark. Stokes ended that PC run with a layup and a free throw.
     
    PC would not go away. A layup by Ryan Hargrave with 15:15 on the clock started a 9-3 Presbyterian run to pull PC to within 56-30.
     
    Led by Stokes, the Vols continued to find success inside. He scored four points off free throws and an offensive rebound to put Tennessee up 29 points, 62-33, with 11:16 left.
     
    The Blue Hose continued to fight, finishing the game on an 8-0 run for the final 16-point margin in UT's favor.
     
    McBee scored the Vols' first points two minutes into the game when he hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to give UT the 3-2 lead. That bucket opened a 10-0 run for Tennessee.
     
    The Blue Hose was unlucky over that early stretch. Within the first four minutes of the game, Jordan Downing had a wide-open jumper rim out and Washington had layup bounce harmlessly off the rim.
     
    Tennessee drove into the paint early in the first half, making 5-of-5 free throws in the first eight minutes. Edwards converted two free throws at the 12:58 mark to begin a 13-0 UT run.
     
    Multiple Vols started to heat up. Stokes dominated inside, jostling in the paint for a layup at the 10:07 mark. Josh Richardson connected for a jumper from the left wing and had a putback in front of the rim on Tennessee's next possession to give the Vols a 23-5 advantage with 8:06 left in the half.
     
    Downing drained a jumper at the 7:38 mark to end a nearly seven-minute scoring drought for Presbyterian.
     
    The Blue Hose started to hit some jumpers with just under seven minutes before halftime, but strong outside shooting by Tennessee prevented PC from establishing offensive rhythm. Edwards found his stroke from the right side of the arc, connecting from long distance at the 5:33 and 4:20 marks to keep UT ahead comfortably, 35-11.
     
    The Vols closed out the first period with an 8-0 run, capped by a Golden jumper at the top of the key with six seconds left. UT took a 43-13 lead into the break. PC's 13 points were the fewest Tennessee has allowed in a half all season and the fewest allowed in a first half since leading Georgia at halftime, 35-13, en route to a 77-48 victory on Feb. 4, 1998.
     
    UT outmuscled Presbyterian on the glass in the first half with a 26-10 rebounding edge. The Vols shot 48.4 percent from the floor while the Blue Hose managed just 23.1 percent shooting, including a 1-of-13 showing from 3-point range. Golden and McBee led UT with nine first-half points each.
     
    Tennessee continues its six-game homestand on Friday, Dec. 21, when the Vols host Western Carolina at 7 p.m.



    Denson's Career-High Propels Auburn to Win


    AUBURN – Chris Denson scored a season-high 17 points and had a highlight reel dunk, while Josh Wallace added a season-best 11 points with seven assists and three steals as Auburn defeated Tennessee Tech 81-62 on Tuesday in Auburn Arena for its third-straight victory.
     
    “I liked the way we played offensively. We were aggressive,” Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. “We played off our defense. I thought we took care of the ball against their press in the first half. We only had four turnovers in the first half. I will take it. We had a lot of good numbers tonight. We had 19 assists tonight, which means we are sharing the ball. Fifty percent shooting in the second half, but we have to get guys playing better right now. We are playing unselfish and starting to make strides as a group.”
     
    Jordan Price scored 12 points off the bench and hit 3-of-3 from outside to extend his streak to 11-straight 3-pointers made. 11 made 3-pointers in a row ties the SEC mark set by Kevin Anglin from Vanderbilt in 1992.
     
    The NCAA record for consecutive made 3-pointers is 15 by Northwestern’s Todd Leslie in 1990.
     
    Price scored 12 straight points for Auburn as the Tigers used a 12-2 run to take an 18-6 lead with 12:33 remaining in the first half. The freshman from Decatur, Ga. connected on three-straight 3-pointers and three free throws as Auburn expanded its lead.
     
    “Wow,” Barbee said. “I don’t think I have [ever had a player make 11-straight 3-pointers], not the way he is shooting right now. It is not a surprise. He is shooting that way in practice and he works on it. Guys who don’t practice that way, aren’t making shots, because they aren’t locked in. Jordan Price has been.”
     
    The scoring outburst by Price came over a stretch of just two minutes and 35 seconds from 15:08 in the first half to the 12:33 mark in the opening period. Price has scored in double figures in three straight games and in four of the last five contests.
     
    Denson’s highlight play came with 6:38 remaining in the first half. The 6-foot-2 junior guard took the feed from Allen Payne on the fast break and leapt high over Tennessee Tech’s 6-foot-5 Matt Marseille for the left-handed flush.
     
    He was fouled on the play and converted the free throw for a three-point play on the poster-worthy dunk that stretched Auburn’s lead to 29-18. The Columbus, Ga.-native followed up with an acrobatic spinning 360-degree layup for a 38-21 advantage at the break to cap a 12-3 run and give Auburn its largest lead of the first half.
     
    Price (12) and Denson (10) combined for 22 points in the first half. Denson has scored in double figures in all three games he has played this season.
     
    Two free throws by Asauhn Dixon-Tatum gave Auburn a 20-point lead at 55-35 with 10:35 left in the game. Two more free throws by Denson widened the Tiger lead out to its largest at 68-40 with less than seven minutes remaining as he capped a 13-0 run.
     
    Led by Price, the Auburn bench scored 35 points on the night.
     
    The Tigers are in action next on Saturday when they host Winthrop at 7 p.m. in Auburn Arena. The game will be televised by CSS.



    Texas A&M Gets Past Islanders Thanks to 3-point Proficiency


    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Fabyon Harris dropped a game-high 17 points for Texas A&M on Tuesday night to boost the Aggies past Texas A&M-Corpus Christi by a final score of 66-54.
     
    Harris was on point from beyond the 3-point arc, draining three of his four deep shots for TAMU (8-2). With help from teammate Elston Turner, who connected on 4-of-7 shots from downtown, the Aggies were untouchable from long distance and finished the game with a 53.8-percent mark on 3-pointers. Turner finished the evening with 14 points and four rebounds.
     
    While the Ags enjoyed a prolific shooting night, the Islanders (1-7) struggled to get anything going from the floor. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi connected on only 2-of-18 deep balls en route to a paltry 32.8-percent shooting clip for the game. Will Nelson went for 17 points against the Aggies, but the Islanders were never able to gain a lead on Texas A&M at any point during the contest. 
     
    Ray Turner played an important role for TAMU against the Islanders, hitting 50 percent of his field goal attempts on his way to 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds in the win.



    LSU Picks Up Win Over UC Irvine



    IRVINE, Calif. – Despite a less than stellar shooting night, the LSU Tigers emerged from California on Tuesday night with a 66-60 triumph over UC Irvine. 
     
    The Tigers (7-1) did not shoot the lights out against the Anteaters (37.1 percent), but 17 forced turnovers on the defensive end proved to be enough to pick up the win. Guard Andre Stringer set the tone for LSU, leading all scorers with 19 points. In addition to Stringer’s strong effort, LSU got a big boost off the bench from Shavon Coleman and Anthony Hickey off the bench. The duo combined for 23 points, 14 rebounds and six steals in relief duty to help the Tigers to the road victory.
     
    Adam Folker led the way for UC Irvine from the center position, dropping 13 points and hauling in six boards in 27 minutes of action. Michael Wilder added nine points and Daman Starring chipped in eight, but UC Irvine was unable to get much going from the floor and only connected on 37 percent of its shots.
     
    LSU will return to the court on Saturday against Marquette on the road.