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    Saturday SEC Hoops Report

    Men's Basketball RESULTS
    Georgia 66,  USC 56
    Mercer 66,  Alabama 59
    Marquette 84, LSU 80
    Kentucky 82,  Marshall 54
    Mississippi State 79,  Central Arkansas 72
    South Carolina 63,  Manhattan 57
    Missouri 82,  Illinois 73
    Arkansas 95,  Alabama A&M 68
    Winthrop 74,  Auburn 67
    Kansas State 67,  Florida 61
    Indiana State 87,  Ole Miss 85


    KCP Leads Georgia Over USC

    ATHENS, Ga.—Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 25 points to lead Georgia to a 64-56 win over Southern California Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
    Caldwell-Pope has led Georgia (4-7) in points in every game this season. Sophomore forward John Cannon also contributed 10 points and seven rebounds, both career-highs.
    “That was a terrific win for our team,” said head coach Mark Fox. “We scored the ball pretty efficiently against a good defensive team. That was very pleasing to me. Kentavious played a great game, and he is obviously continuing to grow up with this team. I was proud of our effort and determination especially in the second half. This is a really good win going into the holidays.”
    After closing the Trojan lead to just 28-27 to end the first half, the Bulldogs opened the second half on an electric 12-4 run to make the score 41-32 with 15 minutes remaining. During the run, Caldwell-Pope scored 10 of his 19 second-half points.
    The Trojans chipped away and shrunk the Bulldog lead to as little as two, but a three-pointer from Caldwell-Pope and four straight points from Cannon crushed the Trojan momentum.
    Georgia’s defense held the Trojans without a basket and to just one rebound in the final two minutes of the game.
    Southern California was led by Omar Oraby and Eric Wise who scored 14 and 12 points, respectively. For the game, the Trojans were 5-of-19 from behind the three-point arc.
    Georgia improved on a 37.5 percent field goal performance in the first half (9-of-24) shooting 61.9 percent (13-of-21) in the second half.

    Alabama Falls To Mercer

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team fell to the Mercer Bears, 66-59, in Saturday’s game at Coleman Coliseum. Trevor Releford led the Crimson Tide with 19 points and Rodney Cooper scored 17 points and led the team with seven rebounds. With the loss, the Tide falls to 7-4 on the season, while the Bears improve to 7-6 overall.

    Mercer was led by Daniel Coursey’s game-high 20 points. Travis Smith added 17 points and two other Mercer starters scored in double figure as Jakob Gollon and Langston Hall chipped in with 10 points each.

    Alabama went 21-53 (39.6%) from the field, 4-14 (28.6%) from behind the three point arc and 13-20 (65%) from the foul line. The Bears shot 40.7 (22-54) percent from the field and outrebounded the Tide, 35-33, including 12 offensive boards, which led to 16 second chance points for the Bears.  Alabama used eight players in the game and had eight points from the bench.

    LSU Falls at Marquette

    MILWAUKEE, Wisc. - The LSU men's basketball team fought hard to erase a 21-point first half deficit and took a brief lead with nine minutes remaining in the second half, but Marquette rallied back to emerge with an 84-80 win Saturday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
    LSU (7-2) was sparked by Andre Stringer, who ripped off a season-high for the second straight game. He tallied 12 of his game-leading 20 points during the second half. The junior guard buried a career-high six three-pointers and has registered double figures in five of his last six outings.
    Charles Carmouche added 15 points, his highest scoring output since the Northwestern State game on November 20. He also handed out a career-high 10 assists to pick up his first career double-double. The last time a LSU player collected double digit assists was Torris Bright versus McNeese State on December 7, 2002.
    Anthony Hickey tacked on 18 points, matched a career-high seven rebounds and handed out three assists. Johnny O'Bryant III and Shavon Coleman chipped in 14 and 11 points, respectively, to give the Tigers five players in double figures.
    The Golden Eagles (8-3), who were receiving votes in the latest edition of the AP Top 25 poll, connected on seven of their first 10 field goals attempts and raced out to a 17-3 edge fueled by a run of 15 straight points during the game's opening minutes.
    Marquette went ahead by as many 21 points, 43-22 at the 5:12 mark, before LSU ripped off 11 of last 13 points of the stanza to claw back within 45-33 at halftime.
    The Tigers continued their strong play on both ends of the floor out of the intermission. Hickey and Stringer banged home consecutive triples to complete a 27-6 run and knotted the score at 49-49 with 14:56 to go in the second half. Hickey provided 11 of his 18 points during the spurt.
    During the 10-minute span to end the first half and to start the second half, LSU knocked down 11-of-17 from the field. Conversely, the Tigers were solid on the defensive end and limited Marquette to only two field goals.
    The two teams would trade a quartet of runs over the final 15 minutes of the contest. After the Golden Eagles went back ahead by a 57-49 margin, LSU was ignited by consecutive Stringer three-pointers coupled with a Coleman lay-up and a Carmouche free throw to grab a 58-57 lead with 9:35 left on the clock. It was the Tigers first lead since the game's opening minute.
    After starting the game 3-of-17 from three-point territory, Marquette canned back-to-back treys on opposite baselines 43 seconds apart. The Golden Eagles capped their nine-point flurry and took a 66-58 advantage on a Junior Cadougan jumper in transition at the 7:51 mark.
    Down 74-62 with 3:33 remaining, LSU mounted one final rally. O'Bryant III slammed down two dunks and Carmouche sank a pair of free throws to make it a one-possession game at 78-76 with 40 seconds to go.
    Marquette broke LSU's full court press on the next possession, and Davante Gardner was fouled by Hickey on a lay-up attempt. He calmly hit both of his free throws, and the Golden Eagles forced the Tigers into a turnover on the next possession.
    Gardner would make all six of his free throws attempts over the final 35 seconds which enabled Marquette to escape with the 84-80 win and its 15th straight home victory. As a team, the Golden Eagles were an astounding 24-for-25 clip at the charity stripe.
    LSU totaled a 42.6 shooting effort (29-of-68) and matched a season-high with 10 made three-pointers.  The Tigers also was a season's best 12-for-13 at the foul line. Marquette countered with a 49.1 field goal clip (27-of-55).  
    Gardner notched 19 points off the bench to pace the Golden Eagles. Vander Blue and Cadougan came away with 17 points each, while Jamil Wilson scored 11 for Marquette. 


    Kentucky Defeats Marshall, 82-54

    Kentucky started with the lineup of Ryan Harrow, Julius Mays, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Nerlens Noel for the second-straight game. Trailing 20-18 at the 11:43 mark, Kentucky finished the half with a 15-4 run to take a 33-24 lead into intermission.
    The first half continues to tell the tale for the Wildcats.  UK is 8-0 this season when leading at halftime, 0-3 when behind at intermission.

    Marshall made its first three shots, quickly cutting it to 33-31.  The Wildcats rallied with a 26-5 run to make it 59-36.
    UK led comfortably the remainder of the way, leading by as many as 31 points.

    Kentucky won its fourth-straight game and is 8-3 on the season and Marshall is 7-6.

    Gamecocks Defeat Manhattan In Brooklyn

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The South Carolina men’s basketball team (8-3) earned a 63-57 victory over Manhattan (3-7) on Saturday night in the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.  Junior guard Brenton Williams led a trio of Gamecocks in double-figures with 17 points in the win.  

    Freshman forward Michael Carrera tallied 13 on the night and junior guard Brian Richardson added 12 from the bench for the Gamecocks.  Senior forward Lakeem Jackson came down with a game-high 11 rebounds as South Carolina out-rebounded Manhattan 31-21 on the night.

    Three Jaspers registered double figures in the contest.  Freshman forward Shane Richards scored a game-best 18 points off the bench while sophomore guard Donovan Kates added 13 and junior forward Rhamel Brown totaled 10.   Brown also led Manhattan with nine boards.

    Two early 3s from Williams and a lay-up and 3 from Carrera saw the Gamecocks hold an 11-3 upperhand with 16:25 on the clock in the opening half, which forced a timeout for the Jaspers.  Manhattan responded out of the break, battling back with solid play underneath the basket with layups from senior forward Roberto Colonette, senior guard Mohamed Koita and sophomore forward Emmy Andujar to near the score at 13-10 at the first media timeout of the contest.

    The teams traded baskets through the midway point of the half before a 3 from Manhattan’s Richards tied the contest at 16 with just over 11 minutes to go.

    Richards sank another 3 with 10:18 on the clock for a 21-18 Jaspers lead, but Jackson and junior forward RJ Slawson connected on lay-ups through the seven-minute mark to give the Gamecocks a 22-21 lead.  

    The contest was close for the next several minutes, but consecutive 3s from Richardson with just over two minutes remaining in the half paced a 9-3 Carolina run through the last 2:37 of the half, which saw the Gamecocks take a 36-30 upperhand into the locker room at the break.

    Manhattan used a 6-2 run through the first four minutes of the second half to pull within two at 38-36 with 15:55 on the clock.  

    Slawson connected for a free throw near the 13-minute mark which began a 9-0 run for the Gamecocks, including two free throws from Williams following a called technical foul on the Manhattan bench.  A three-point play from Richardson capped the run, which saw the Gamecocks hold a 48-41 advantage at the mid-point of the half.

    Williams pushed the lead to 55-47 with 7:48 on the clock and added a 3 minutes later for a 58-49 Gamecocks advantage.  

    Brown hit two layups to follow and the score stood at 58-51 with 3:31 on the clock.  Jackson gave Carolina 60 with a lay-up, but Richards sank his sixth 3 of the contest with 2:06 remaining at the opposite end to pull the Jaspers within six at 60-54.  

    Koita sank a 3 with just over one minute to go, pulling Manhattan within 3, but solid play through the final minutes saw the Gamecocks escape with a 63-57 victory.

    Mississippi State Beats Central Arkansas In Jackson

    JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi State took the show on the road Saturday afternoon and found another victory.

    The Bulldogs knocked off Central Arkansas 79-72 in a men's basketball contest played at the Mississippi Coliseum. MSU improved to 15-6 overall and won its 12th straight in the annual pre-Christmas contest played away from the Humphrey Coliseum.

    "It feels really good to win a road game," said MSU head coach Rick Ray, who notched his first victory away from the MSU campus. "Even though, it was not a true road game, we approached it like one. We wanted to come out and find a way to do continue some of the things that we had been doing at home."

    MSU placed five players in double figures for the first time this season while scoring a season-best 79 points.

    Starkville native Gavin Ware had a career-high 22 points and career-high 13 rebounds. Trivante Bloodman added a career-high 12 points, while Colin Borchert had a career-high 11 points and Tyson Cunningham had a career-high 10 points. Craig Sword also added 10 points.

    "As a team, we came together before the game and talked about getting everybody involved," Cunningham said. "We wanted to do some things on offense where everybody got some touches. Once Gavin started out hot like that, we made sure to run the offense through him."

    Ware shifted to the big man role Saturday and delivered. MSU was playing its first game since center Wendell Lewis suffered a knee injury in practice.

    "I knew I had to step it up," Ware said. "Once I got a couple of dunks to go down, it really opened up the offense. Fortunately, everybody was able to make shots."

    The Bulldogs missed nine 3-point attempts before getting four of their final six to go down. MSU built a comfortable lead midway through the first half and led 34-25 at halftime.

    MSU stretched the lead to 15 in the early stages of the second half but the long-range shooting of Central Arkansas (4-5) allowed the Bears to stay in the contest. UCA drew within six points midway through the second half. Stellar ball control and a strong night at the free throw line allowed the Maroon and White to close out the win.

    "Right now, it is all about getting better," Ray said. "Each game we approach it as an opportunity to get better. We had to change some things offensively without Wendell. Gavin really stepped up and responded to the challenge. He is going to be a great player for us.

    "Now, other teams see this type of game from him and we will see what kind of adjustments he can make. We are asking a lot of him as a freshman."

    For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 25 of 52 shots from the field (48.1 percent), 4 of 15 shots from 3-point range (26.7 percent) and 25 of 36 shots from the foul line (69.4 percent). The Bears hit 27 of 68 shots from the field (39.7 percent), 10 of 35 shots from 3-point range (28.6 percent) and 8 of 11 shots from the foul line (72.7 percent).

    MSU held a 43-29 rebounding advantage. For the Bulldogs, it was their second largest rebounding effort of the season. The Bulldogs had 13 assists and 21 turnovers, while the Bears had 10 assists and 17 turnovers.

    Robert Crawford led UCA with 26 points. Jarvis Garner and Jordan Harks added 11 points apiece for the Bears.


    Missouri Knocks Off #10 Illinois

    Laurence Bowers led the way with 23 points and 10 rebounds as No. 12 Missouri beat No. 10 Illinois 82-73 in the annual Braggin' Rights game.

    Alex Oriakhi added 13 points and 14 rebounds as Missouri (10-1) won its fourth straight in the 32-year-old series. Jabari Brown had 18 points and Phil Pressey handed out 11 assists.

    Missouri used a 9-0 run late in the game to take the lead for good at 70-64. Brown led the spurt with four points.

    The Tigers dominated the boards, outrebounding Illinois 58-35 and scoring 44 points in the paint.

    Texas A&M Falls To Southern

    A pair of free throws by Malcom Miller with 5.8 seconds to play would prove the difference as Southern snapped Texas A&M's six-game home win streak with a 53-51 win Saturday afternoon at Reed Arena.

    In a game where neither team led by more than five points, the Aggies (8-3) took a 51-49 lead with 2:11 to go on a J'Mychal Reese bucket. The teams traded turnovers before the Jaguars (5-6) got to the line with 40 seconds to go, where Miller drained a pair to tie the game.

    A&M missed a contested jumper with eight seconds to go that would have given the Aggies the lead, and an ensuing foul sent Miller to the line where he converted the 1-and-1 free throws to put Southern up by two. A&M took a contested three-pointer at the buzzer that would hit the front of the rim.

    Reese and Elston Turner each had a team-high 14 points for Texas A&M, while Alex Caruso added 7 and 6 rebounds. Ray Turner had a game-high 8 boards.

    Miller would lead all scorers with 17 on the day, including a perfect 5-of-5 from the line.


    Florida Loses To Kansas State

    Kansas State used timely runs and a physical defense that kept Florida's offense out of rhythm for large pockets, handing the Gators their second defeat of the season, 67-61.

    Will Spralding scored 17 points to lead Kansas State (9-2), who matched every Florida (8-2) run with a run of their own. Rodney McGruder added 13 points for the Wildcats, who hit 41.7 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from three-point range.

    Florida came in ranked in the top 10 in the nation in rebounding margin, but Kansas State was the aggressor on the boards, out-rebounding the Gators, 36-27, including 11 offensive boards.

    Patric Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Gators, hitting 8-of-11 shots from the floor, and collecting his eighth career double-double.

    The Gators struggled offensively all night as Kansas State, which entered as one of the nation's premier teams at guarding the perimeter, limited UF to just 40.4 percent from the floor and 26.2 percent from three-point range (5-for-19).

    Florida turned it over just nine times, but the Wildcats kept the Gators from getting into any offensive rhythm.

    Kansas State held a 33-23 lead at the half, holding the Gators to just 30.8 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent (2-for-9) from three-point range. The Gators held a 19-17 lead before the Wildcats closed the half on a 16-4 run as Florida hit just one field goal in the final 8:50 of the first half.

    Will Spralding caught fire, torching the Gators for 13 points in the first half, hitting 4-of-7 shots and three from beyond the arc. Patric Young had five points and eight rebounds at the break for the Gators.

    Florida opened the second half on a 12-3 run to cut the Kansas State lead to 36-35. The Gators eventually tied it at 41-41 on a three-pointer from Kenny Boynton. The Gators could never regain the lead, however. Leading 46-45 with 10:00 to go, Kansas State went on an 11-2 run to put the game out of reach, increasing the lead to 57-47. Florida went nearly 5:00 without a field goal during the stretch.


    Ole Miss Falls 87-85 to Indiana State In OT

    Ole Miss erased an 11-point halftime deficit behind 27 points from Marshall Henderson, but fell in overtime 87-85 to Indiana State in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic on Saturday.

    Manny Arop scored a game-high 27 points to lead Indiana State and Jake Odum had 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Sycamores (6-3). Justin Gant and R.J. Mahurin scored 12 points apiece and Dawon Cummings had 10 points for Indiana State, which will meet the winner of San Francisco and No. 18 San Diego State in Sunday's semifinals.

    Ole Miss' Derrick Millinghaus hit a 3-pointer with 1:03 left in regulation to tie it at 75.

    Jarvis Summers made two free throws 15 seconds into overtime to give Ole Miss its first lead since it led 27-25 with about 8 minutes left in the first half. But Indiana State went on a 10-2 run to reclaim the lead at 85-79 and withstood a late charge by Ole Miss.

    After a free throw by Summers, Henderson drained a long 3-pointer from about 28 feet to cut the Sycamores' lead to 85-83 with 16.8 seconds remaining.


    Powell Leads Arkansas To Victory

    Junior Marshawn Powell scored his 1,000th career point as the University of Arkansas  basketball team nabbed a 95-68 Razorback victory over the Alabama A&M Bulldogs at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock.              

    “We started the game with great focus and played the game the right way, sharing the basketball, making the extra pass and hitting open shots,” head coach Mike Anderson said.

    It was a total team effort with 12 Razorbacks recording points as Arkansas routed the Bulldogs. Four Razorbacks scored in double figures. Powell needed just 19 points at the start of the game become the 35th player in Arkansas history to record 1,000 career points and the junior did just that, netting a game-high 20 points and six boards.

    “You can see his confidence continuing to grow,” Anderson said. “If you ask him he is trying to do everything he can to help our team.”
    Sophomore BJ Young finished the night just shy of a double-double with 13 points and a career-high nine assists in the 35th double-digit scoring game of his career. Freshman Jacorey Williams also put up some big numbers as he scored 10 points off 4-4 shooting. Rounding out the Razorbacks in double-figures was junior Coty Clarke, who recorded 10 points and eight rebounds.

    Arkansas continued to show they can score down low as the team scored 54 of their 95 points in the paint. The Razorbacks also out-rebounded the Bulldogs 40-31. 

    To start out the contest the Razorbacks put on a lights-out shooting performance as they connected on their first seven shots for a total of 16 points. At that point the Razorbacks led the Bulldogs by 10 with a score of 16-6. In the first 3:25, Arkansas had five assists, one rebound, one steal and one block in the books. With 6:27 left on the clock in the first, the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to close the ever-growing Razorback lead to eight, 40-32. Arkansas would answer the Bulldogs with an 11-2 run to close the half, limiting the Bulldogs to just one basket in the final 5:26. The Razorbacks would enter the locker room with a 51-34 lead.          

    Arkansas capitalized on Alabama A&M turnovers scoring 21 points off 14 Bulldog turnovers in the first. Arkansas tallied nine steals and five blocks to add to their first half numbers.

    The Hogs opened the second half in high fashion with a 23-8 run. With 14:36 remaining Arkansas went on a 10-0 run, which ended with a three-point basket from junior Kikko Haydar that sent the crowd to its feet, giving the Hogs a 74-42 lead. The Hogs and the Bulldogs would trade baskets for the remainder of the contest as the Razorbacks led 29-26 the rest of the way, closing out the game with a final score of 95-68.    
    “We appreciated fans showing up, and there was a lot of energy in the building tonight,” Anderson said.