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    Saturday Men's Hoops Scoreboard

    Men's Basketball RESULTS
    South Carolina 76, Presbyterian 60
    Illinois 81, Auburn 79
    Louisville 80, Kentucky 77
    Georgia 82, Florida A&M 73
    Florida 78, Air Force 61
    Texas A&M 61, Army 55
    Tennessee 51, Xavier 47
    Butler 68, Vanderbilt 49
    Arkansas 79, Northwestern State 61


    Gamecocks Defeat Presbyterian 76-60 For Fourth Straight Win

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Junior guard Brian Richardson matched his career-high with 17 points to lead South Carolina to a 76-60 victory over Presbyterian on Saturday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena.

    With the win, the Gamecocks improve to 9-3 on the season and extend their winning streak to a season-high four games. The Blue Hose drop to 2-11 overall.

    Richardson was 5-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-5 from 3-point range as he reached double figures for the fourth consecutive game. He was one of four Gamecocks to score in double figures on the afternoon, as sophomore Damien Leonard (15), freshman Mindaugas Kacinas (13) and senior Lakeem Jackson (10) followed his lead.

    Leonard also pulled down six rebounds, while guard Eric Smith dished out five assists with only one turnover. Junior forward RJ Slawson added five points, five rebounds and three blocks for Carolina.

    Sophomore Jordan Downing led three Blue Hose in double figures with 19 points, while Khalid Mutakabbir (17) and Joshua Clyburn (10) also scored in double figures.

    South Carolina built a 5-2 lead early after Richardson knocked down a trey from the right wing at the 17:15 mark of the first half, but the Blue Hose answered at the other end to pull to within 5-4 on a Clyburn jumper.

    However, the Gamecocks pulled away to take an 18-6 lead with a 13-2 run capped by Kacinas layup with 11:11 remaining.

    Presbyterian trimmed Carolina’s lead to 22-14 with a jumper by Downing with 8:26 left, but that was as close at the Blue Hose would get, as the Gamecocks outscored Presbyterian 18-10 to close out the half and build a 40-24 lead heading into the locker room.

    The Gamecocks scored at a 57.1 percent (16-of-28) clip in the first half, including a 5-of-8 effort from deep. Richardson led the charge with three 3-pointers on his way to 12 points for the half.

    South Carolina pushed its lead to 49-29 by the 14:17 mark of the second half on a fastbreak jumper by Leonard.

    Presbyterian refused to go away as it outscored the Gamecocks 25-14 during the next 10 minutes to trim Carolina’s lead to 63-54 on a layup by Downing, but South Carolina buckled down and pulled away for the win by going on a 13-6 run to end the game.

    The Gamecocks were without senior guard LaShay Page (academic issue) and freshman forward Michael Carrera (left hip injury) for the contest.

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    Auburn Basketball Edged by #12 Illinois 81-79 in the United Center

    CHICAGO---Tracy Abrams scored a career-high 27 points to lead #12 Illinois to a hard-fought 81-79 victory over Auburn in the United Center on Saturday. Frankie Sullivan led the Tigers with 21 points on 5-of-12 3-pointers while Allen Payne notched his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
                   
    Illinois opened the second half with a 10-4 run for a 57-46 lead with 13:17 remaining as the Tigers missed seven of their first nine shots. A Noel Johnson 3-pointer and a Chris Denson fast break layup brought the Tigers to within 59-53 with 10:48 to play.
                   
    A Sullivan corner 3-pointer cut the Illini lead to 66-61 and then an Allen Payne conventional 3-point play brought the Tigers to within 68-64 with 5:36 remaining. Another Sullivan long range 3 in front of Auburn’s cut the lead to 68-67 with 4:29 to play.
                   
    The Tigers had a chance to take the lead but Sullivan missed a highly-contested shot in traffic in the lane while Asauhn Dixon-Tatum was called for a foul on the other end with 3:47 to play. Illinois outshot Auburn from the foul line 27-of-40 to 10-of-16.
                   
    Both teams shot identical 16-fo-30 (.533) from the floor in the first half that saw nine ties and eight lead changes with Illinois holding a 47-42 edge. Illinois, which had a 14-2 edge in points off turnovers in the opening period, scored six straight points to take its largest first half lead at 45-39 with 2:55 left.
                   
    Auburn held Wooden Award candidate Brandon Paul to 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting, including missing all five 3-point attempts. Paul came into the game ranked second in the Big Ten averaging 19.2 points per game.
                   
    Both teams shot 48 percent from the floor while Auburn was a season-high 11-of-23 (.478) from 3-point range while Illinois went 4-of-15. The Tigers outrebounded the Illini 39-27 and had a 24-7 advantage in second chance points.
                   
    Auburn had 20 turnovers, 11 of them from guards Frankie Sullivan (5) and Chris Denson (6), while Illinois only had 11. The Ilini outscored the Tigers 19-6 in points off turnovers.
                   
    Rob Chubb added 13 points and five rebounds for the Tigers.
                   
    Freshman Jordan Price, who had tied an SEC record with 11 consecutive made 3-pointers, missed the game with a stress fracture in his foot.

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    Kentucky Falls To Louisville

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Russ Smith had 21 points as No. 4 Louisville ended a four-game losing streak against Kentucky with close 80-77 win.

    Guard Peyton Siva chipped in 19 points as the Cardinals held on against the Wildcats. Despite trailing by as many as 17 in the second half, Kentucky went on a 28-14 run to climb within three in the final minutes.

    Smith nailed two key baskets at that point to ensure Louisville held on to the victory.

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    Djurisic Leads Georgia Past Florida A&M, 82-73
     
    ATHENS, Ga.—Three Georgia players scored in double-figures to lead to Georgia to a 82-73 win over Florida A&M Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
     
    Sophomore forward Nemi Djurisic led Georgia (5-7) with career-high 21 points. For the first time this season, sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell Pope, who contributed 11 points and nine rebounds in the Bulldog win, didn’t lead Georgia in points.
     
    “We are getting better as a team.  You could see it in the first half,” said head coach Mark Fox.  “There is still a long way to go, but we have made some progress.  Our defense was good in the first half.  We don’t have any selfishness on our team.  I thought we played some good team ball, and that was predicated on good team defense.”
     
    Leading by just five with eight minutes left in the first half, Georgia had five different players combined to go on a 13-0 run to take a 42-24 lead. Both teams traded baskets in the final minutes of the half, and the Bulldogs took at 49-36 lead into halftime.
     
    The Rattlers (4-8) took advantage of a slow second half start from the Bulldogs to cut the deficit to just six with 12 minutes remaining, but junior forward Donte’ Williams scored on a put-back slam to start a 6-0 run that ended Florida A&M’s momentum.
     
    After Georgia built a 76-62 lead late in the game, Florida A&M went on a run to get within seven points, but Georgia went 5-of-5 from the free throw line in the final minute to secure its third win in a row and fifth of the season.
     
    Florida A&M was led by Muhammad Abdul-Aleem who had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
     
    Florida A&M was hindered by shooting just 12-of-25 from the free throw stripe.
     
    Georgia improves to 3-0 all-time in its series with Florida A&M.

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    Strong Second Half Propels Gators to Win over Air Force at Orange Bowl Classic

    Kenny Boynton used a South Florida homecoming to breakout of a long slump, scoring 14 points and hitting 3-of-6 shots from three-point range, as the University of Florida defeated Air Force, 78-61, to win at the Orange Bowl Classic for the third straight year.

    Erik Murphy scored a game-high 21 points for Florida (9-2), who took a 33-31 halftime lead and broke it open in the second half, outscoring Air Force (8-3) 45-30 over the final 20 minutes.

    In its final game of the 2012 calendar year, Florida hit 53.8 percent from the floor en route to victory and knocked down 7-of-19 shots from three-point land, rebounding from last Saturday’s loss to Kansas State.

    The Gators held Air Force to just 39.6 percent from the floor.

    The Gators close out non-conference play on Jan. 6 in a game at Yale, a homecoming of sorts for Murphy who is from nearby Rhode Island.

    Check back for full coverage from the Gators’ victory over Air Force later this evening.

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    Bench Excels As UT Tops Xavier, 51-47
            
    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Vols received major contributions from unlikely sources as Tennessee rallied to knock off Xavier, 51-47, before a season-high 18,504 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday night.

    In his collegiate debut, freshman forward Derek Reese made a major impact with seven points including the go-ahead basket midway through the second half to give the Vols the lead they would never relinquish. Bigman Yemi Makanjuola grabbed eight rebounds with six in the second half and drew two huge charges including one with 1:21 left in the game. He did all of that in just nine minutes.

    Walk-on point guard Brandon Lopez played a career-high 13 minutes and did not turn the ball over as starter Trae Golden (five points, four turnovers) struggled early on.

    The Tennessee (8-3) bench outscored Xavier's 21-9. The Vols limited the Muskteers to 32.7 from the floor including just one 3-pointer.

    Xavier had 19 turnovers, the most Tennessee has forced under Cuonzo Martin in his two seasons as the head coach of the Vols.

    The Vols' scoring chart was led by sophomore Josh Richardson, who had a career-high tying 12 points. Jordan McRae added eight points.

    Xavier (7-5) was led by Travis Taylor, who had 12 points. The Muskies' leading scorer Semaj Christon was limited to five points with Richardson guarding him much of the night.

    Tennessee's second unit gave the Vols life in both halves to help combat two separate Xavier runs and give them a chance at the end of the game.

    Derek Reese, playing 23 minutes in his first game, and Yemi Makanjuola made several key plays both offensively and defensively, but UT had five players off the bench that made an impact, including Jordan McRae, Brandon Lopez and Armani Moore.

    "I wasn't sure if I was coming back this year at all," Reese said. "I just worked hard every day to try and get back out on the court."

    With eight minutes left in the second half, Reese hit his second 3-pointer of the night to give UT a 38-35 lead.

    "Everything was just clear right before I took that shot," Reese said. "I thought it felt good going in after I shot it, and I was so pumped up after it went in."

    Makanjuola boosted the Vols with blocks, rebounds and charges despite getting in a little bit of foul trouble. With 15 minutes left in the first, Makanjuola fought for an offensive rebound and, along with help from Lopez and Reese, got UT the ball back after a jump ball was called.

    A couple minutes later, Lopez drove in between a triangle of Xavier defenders and made a fall-away jumper with contact to give UT a 7-4 lead. Even though he was fouled, he missed the free throw.

    "Yemi played a great game for us," Jarnell Stokes said. "We needed it too; he covered up for a lot of my slack. I don't think we could've fought back without him or everyone that came off the bench."

    Reese gave the Vols their first lead since 7-6, on a 3-pointer with 8:11 left in the second half, putting UT ahead, 38-35, and they would never trail again. Kenny Hall's layup with 7:17 left extended the lead to 40-36. Stokes powered up for a driving lay-up to continue the Vols' 9-1run with 5:40 left for a 42-36 lead.

    As the offense started to click the defense was stifling as the Vols kept the Musketeers without a field goal for a span of 10:16 before Justin Martin scored with 5:20 left in the game, making it 42-38.

    Taylor brought Xavier within one on a layup with 2:11 left, 44-43.

    Makanajuola drew his second charge with 1:21 left as Christon crashed into the Nigerian native. That led to McRae swooping in for a runner with 51.6 seconds left and a three-point margin, 46-43.

    Xavier's last chance to tie the game came on a Christon 3-pointer with with 34 seconds left which was deflected by McRae and corralled by Makanjuola.

    Golden finally got on the board with a pair of free throws with 25.7 left, making it 48-43. He rattled home another foul shot with 16.7 remaining to make it 49-45.

    XU's Martin missed two free throws with 5.1 seconds left. Taylor hit a jumper with 2.1 left but Golden added two more free throws with 0.4 left and the Vols sealed the win, 51-47.

    Down by 10, the Vols used a 10-0 run to tie the game. Richardson's short jumper with 9:48 left deadlocked the game at 33.

    The Vols held Xavier scoreless for 6:01 the sixth streak this season of five minutes or more for an opponent. Martin ended the drought with 9:33 left on a pair of free throws.

    McRae's layup with 13:35 left in the second half brought the Vols within five at 33-28. Reese's first-career bucket on a 3-pointer with 13 minutes left cut the deficit to two at 33-31.

    Xavier opened the second half scoring the first six points to take the largest lead to that point at 31-21 with 17:56 left in the second half.

    Tennessee trailed 25-21 at halftime as both teams struggled from the floor in the first half as the Vols shot 36 percent while Xavier made just 31 percent. The Musketeers pounded the Vols on the glass, outrebounding them, 29-16.

    Xavier took an eight-point lead at 23-15 on an alley-oop from Dee Davis to Erik Stenger with 3:19 left in the half.

    Down by as many as six, the Vols cut the margin to two at 17-15 on Jarnell Stokes' first bucket of the half at the 5:30 mark.

    Xavier used a 9-0 run to take a 13-7 lead on the Vols as Isaiah Philmore put home a jumper with 10 minutes left in the first half. The Vols struggled from the floor early on, making just two of their first 10 shots. Tennessee had a scoreless drought lasting nearly five minutes before Richardson drove to the hoop and scored with 8:36 left in the half.

    Reese had missed the team's first 10 games following right shoulder surgery. The Orlando, Fla., native played 23 minutes.

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    Vanderbilt falls to No. 18 Butler, 68-49

    NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- After opening the second half with a 14-3 run, No. 18 Butler ran away from Vanderbilt 68-49 in non-conference action on Saturday.

    Former Arkansas guard and now Butler starter Rotnei Clarke hit six shots from behind the three-point stripe and contributed 22 points in the Bulldog win. This is Butler's seventh straight victory.

    Vanderbilt was within three at the half, 25-22, but the Bulldogs hot shooting doomed the Commodores. After missing their first seven treys of the game, Butler found their shooting touch and opened up a sizable lead on Vandy.

    Kyle Fuller was the high point man for Vanderbilt (5-6) with 10 points.

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    Razorbacks' defense downs Demons

    FAYETTEVILLE – Sophomore BJ Young recorded a double-double in the University of Arkansas basketball team’s win over the Northwestern State Demons, 79-61, at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday. The Razorback defense put up a stellar performance against a Demon offense that ranks second in the country in scoring offense, holding it to a season low 61 points.

    Young concluded the evening with his second career double-double and his first of this season with 26 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Young was just three assists away from knocking down the first triple-double of his career as he finished with seven assists. Sophomore Hunter Mickelson also picked up a career-high 13 rebounds and a season-high four blocks. Mardracus Wade, who had a standout first half, scored a season-high 17 points and a team-high four steals.

    “The defense was excellent,” head coach Mike Anderson said. “It was the difference in the game. We did a great job rebounding with a lot of guys going to the boards. The key is rebounds and that was better tonight.”

    Along with some strong individual performances the Razorbacks (8-4) combined for some impressive stats as well as they out-rebounded NSU (5-4) 57-41. The Razorbacks also nabbed 48 points in the paint.

    In the opening minutes of the first half it was Wade who was shooting lights out from the field going 3-3 for eight points, two assists and two steals by the time the first timeout was taken to help put Arkansas up 12-7 early. Later the Demons would hold the Hogs scoreless for four minutes, but the Razorback defense limited Northwestern State to just four points during that time as the Demons stayed close with just a 19-13 deficit. It was Wade again that brought the Razorback crowd to its feet when he took the ball down the court with 35 seconds remaining with a fake at the end to throw off a Demon defender and he dropped in a layup for the last Razorbacks score of the half.

    The Razorbacks were able to contain the Demon offense to just 29 first half points as the Razorbacks entered the locker room up 36-29.

    The beginning of the second half the Razorbacks came out with a bang, extending their seven-point lead to 10 at multiple times, but Arkansas would let the Demons inch closer trimming the Hog lead to just three, 47-44. The three-point margin was short-lived as junior Kikko Haydar drained a three-pointer to make the score 50-44.It was all Arkansas from that point forward as the Razorbacks put on a show for the fans as they finished the game on a 20-8 run, while grabbing a 20-point lead with 1:31 remaining after Wade knocked down a pair of free throws to make the score 79-59.

    “Our bench, depth and conditioning paid off tonight,” Anderson said. “That is a step for this team. Our emphasis was on finishing the game off and we did that.”

    Arkansas would take the victory in their final game of 2012 by a final score of 79-61.