TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama guards Trevor Lacey and Trevor Releford combined for 30 points on Saturday afternoon and the Crimson Tide (9-6, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) held off the Tennessee Volunteers for a 68-65 win.
With the Tide clinging to a one-point lead in the final 10 seconds of the game, Releford hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to three. On the ensuing possession, Tennessee’s Trae Golden misfired on a game-tying 3-point attempt to seal the victory for Bama.
McRae turned in a strong performance for the Vols (8-6, 0-2) with 21 points and four rebounds on 8-of-14 shooting. No other Volunteers managed to hit double figures on the offensive end, however, and Tennessee was handed its second conference loss of the year despite an excellent shooting day (47.3 percent from the floor as a team).
Alabama also enjoyed a good shooting performance, connecting on 42 percent of its field goals, including 6-of-14 from 3-point distance. Releford and Lacy led the way offensively with 15 points apiece, while sophomore guard Levi Randolph chipped in 12 points of his own to go along with six rebounds. The Crimson Tide was out-rebounded by a large margin, but the 38 to 22 rebounding advantage was not enough for the Vols to manufacture a win on the road.
Alabama returns to the court on Wednesday when it travels to Starkville to take on Mississippi State in a 7 p.m. tip-off. The Volunteers will also be on the road in their next outing, a 7 p.m. tip at Rupp Arena on Tuesday night against Kentucky.
Mississippi Picks Up Road Win at Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. – Mississippi State hit the road on Saturday and picked up its second Southeastern Conference victory of the season over Georgia by a final score of 72-61.
MSU (7-7, 2-0 SEC) used a combination of tough defense and solid shooting to pick up the win in Athens, hitting on 46 percent of its field goals while limiting Georgia to just 32 percent on 19-of-58 from the field. Mississippi State was led on the offensive end by guard Jalen Steele, who turned in team-highs in scoring and rebounding with 21 and seven.
Freshman Craig Sword lent a big hand in the win as well, connecting on 6-of-10 shots en route to 16 points and four rebounds. Sword has now scored in double-digits in two straight games after putting up1 8 points and three rebounds on Wednesday night in a win over South Carolina.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Charles Mann led the scoring effort for UGA, dropping 16 and 14, respectively. Georgia (6-9, 0-2) out-rebounded Mississippi State by four on the afternoon, but its poor shooting performance, which included a pedestrian 4-for-19 effort from 3-point range, was too much to overcome against MSU.
Mississippi State led by as many as 13 in the second half after taking a one-point advantage into the break. UGA returns to action on Wednesday night at Missouri, while MSU will welcome Alabama the same day.
Sullivan and Chubb Boost Auburn Past South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina saw three of its starters score in double-digits on Saturday afternoon, but the Gamecocks were outdone by Frankie Sullivan and Auburn, 74-71.
Sullivan connected on 5-of-13 field goals on the day on his way to a team-high 17 points and five assists. Senior center Robb Chubb turned in a double-double effort of 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (8-7, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) while shooting 80 percent and hitting 8-of-9 free throw attempts.
Chubb missed a pair of free throws in the final minute of the game, but South Carolina (10-5, 0-2) was unable to capitalize on the opportunity as Brian Richardson and Bruce Ellington each missed 3-point attempts in the final 15 seconds of the game. Ellington turned in a game-high 18 points in the narrow loss for USC, while Lakeem Jackson and Eric Smith chipped in 10 points apiece.
Both teams lit up the nets, with the Gamecocks hitting 26-of-56 shots (46.4 percent) and Auburn knocking down 24-of-41 (58.5 percent). South Carolina was unable to pick up the win despite winning the rebound and turnover battles and dropping six more assists than the Tigers.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday night, with Auburn facing Arkansas on the road and USC travelling to LSU.
Florida Runs Away From LSU on the Road
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Florida Gators got off to a relatively slow start on the road at LSU on Saturday, but the Gators picked it up as the game progressed to down the Tigers 74-52.
Florida (12-2, 2-0 SEC) point guard Kenny Boynton led all scorers with 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and a pair of assists, while center Patric Young added 14 and seven boards of his own. The Gators took a nine-point lead into the half and methodically expanded their lead after the start of the second half, leading by as many as 25 points en route to the 22-point triumph.
Eric Murphy scored 12 for UF while playing his second consecutive game with a rib injury, and the Gators knocked down 44 percent of their field goals on the game.
Anthony Hickey led the scoring for LSU with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and Shavon Coleman scored 11 in 23 minutes of relief action off the bench. The Tigers (9-4, 0-2) were limited to only 32 percent shooting by the Gators, and they only managed to convert on 40 percent of their free throw attempts.
LSU returns to the hardwood on Wednesday night against South Carolina, and the Gators travel to college station for a showdown with Texas A&M on Thursday night.
Turner Drops 40 in TAMU Win at Rupp Arena
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Four Kentucky starters scored in double figures at Rupp Arena on Saturday but it wasn’t enough to overcome a huge 40-point effort from Texas A&M’s Elston Turner. The Aggies (12-3, 2-0 SEC) used a 47-point second half to escape Lexington with its second conference win of the season by a final score of 83-71.
Turner knocked down 70 percent of his shots on the afternoon, including 6-of-10 from long range, on his way to a game-high in scoring, and he also grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. Turner’s big shooting day was part of a 52.5-percent performance from TAMU as a team, including a 47-percent mark from 3-point distance.
Kentucky lost despite a balanced effort from its starters. Archie Goodwin led the way offensively with 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting, while Nerlens Noel (15), Ryan Harrow (14), and Alex Poytrhess (12) all hit double-digits in the scoring column as well. The Wildcats (10-5, 1-1) turned in a solid shooting performance in their own right (43 percent), but were ultimately unable to overcome the hot shooting from A&M and the huge day from Turner.
Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday against Tennessee, while TAMU will face Florida on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Arkansas Uses Suffocating Defense to Down Vandy
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks used lockdown defense on Saturday afternoon to suffocate Vanderbilt and pick up a 56-33 win at home.
Vanderbilt (6-8, 0-2 SEC) only managed to convert 10 of its 40 field goal attempts against the Razorbacks (10-5, 1-1) for a lowly 25 percent mark as a team. The Hogs, on the other hand, managed to connect on 42 percent of their shots throughout the game. Arkansas did not need to light up the scoreboard on Saturday thanks to its defensive effort, which held Vandy to just 11 points in the first half and 21 in the second.
Marshall Power scored a game-high 17 points in the winning effort for Arkansas to go along with six rebounds. BJ Young was the only other player to crack double figures in the scoring column with 14 on 6-of-13 shooting.
Vandy was led offensively by Rod Odom, who scored five points and hauled in four rebounds. No Commodore managed to convert on more than two field goals on the afternoon, with Kevin Bright also hitting shots on his way to four points.
Vanderbilt will return to action on Tuesday at home against Ole Miss, while Arkansas will host Auburn on Wednesday night.
Ole Miss Hands No. 10 Mizzou a Loss on the Road
OXFORD, Miss. – Missouri entered Saturday’s showdown with Ole Miss ranked No. 10 in the nation, but Rebels sent the Tigers home from Oxford with a 64-49 loss thanks to big efforts from Murphy Holloway and company.
Holloway, the SEC’s leading scorer, poured in a game-high 22 points on the night to go along with eight rebounds. The senior forward hit 8-of-12 shot attempts on the game while Jarvis Summers added 12 points and Marshall Henderson tacked on 11 of his own. Ole Miss (13-2, 2-0 SEC) forced Mizzou into 19 turnovers on the evening and led by as many as 20 points throughout.
Jabari Brown led Mizzou (12-3, 1-1) with 13 points while also grabbing seven boards, and Keion Bell added 11 points and seven rebounds of his own. The Tigers only converted on 36 percent of their shots against the Rebels, including just two makes from beyond the 3-point arc.
Ole Miss won the rebounding battle and the turnover battle on the game. The Rebels shot 39 percent from the floor as a team.
Ole Miss travels to Vandy on Tuesday night in its next contest while Mizzou will host the Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday night.