Both squads will take to their respective home courts in their next games, Arkansas on Tuesday night against Florida and Tennessee on Wednesday night against the Georgia Bulldogs.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Alabama scored the final five points of the game against Vanderbilt on Saturday, which propelled the Tide to a 58-54 road win over the Commodores. Trevor Lacey led the scoring effort for Bama and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute.
After Vanderbilt’s Kedren Johnson knocked down a free throw with 2:14 remaining in the second half, the ’Dores (8-12, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) held a one-point advantage. Following an Alabama timeout, Lacey drilled a 3-pointer to give Alabama a lead it would not relinquish, and a pair of free throws sealed the game for the Tide (14-7, 6-2) in the closing seconds.
Lacey finished the day with a game-high 17 points for Alabama after connecting on three of his four shots from 3-point distance. Andrew Steele chipped in 13 points for the Tide in 25 minutes of action off the bench, and Rodney Cooper added 11 points of his own to go along with seven rebounds and a pair of assists.
Johnson scored 15 points to pace Vandy, hitting on five of his nine shots while grabbing seven boards and dishing out three assists. As a team, Vanderbilt shot 48 percent from the field, including a 53 percent mark from downtown, but it was not enough to overcome 16 turnovers on the game.
Alabama and Vanderbilt will be back in action on Wednesday night. The Crimson Tide will face off with in-state rival Auburn at 8 p.m. Eastern, and Vanderbilt will take on Western Division foe LSU at the same time.
Hickey's Late Jumper Boosts LSU Over Mississippi State
STARKVILLE, Miss. – LSU was in Starkville on Saturday, and the Tigers escaped Humphrey Coliseum with a 69-68 win over the Bulldogs thanks to an Anthony Hickey jump shot with three seconds remaining. Hickey finished the evening with 12 points, and he was one of four Tigers to score in double-figures.
After facing a 14-point deficit at halftime, the Tigers (12-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) trailed for the entire second half before finally taking the lead on Hickey’s bucket in the closing seconds. Mississippi State (7-13, 2-6) failed to capitalize on several free throw attempts in the final minutes that could have put the game away, but instead the Bulldogs saw their 18-point lead evaporate.
In addition to Hickey, Johnny O’Bryant III, Shavon Coleman and Charles Carmouche all scored in double figures for LSU. O’Bryant III scored 12 points to go along with 12 boards and five assists, while Coleman added 11 points and seven boards for the Tigers. Carmouche came off the bench to drop 10 points and seven rebounds, and the Tigers were able to overcome 16 turnovers to complete the comeback.
Gavin Ware paced the Bulldogs offensively with a team-high 14 points and seven rebounds. Trivante Bloodman chipped in with 12 points and six assists of his own, with Colin Borchert dropping 10 points as well. Roquez Johnson came off the bench to score 10 points, but the collective effort was not enough to hold off the furious LSU rally.
Mississippi State connected on 48 percent of its shots in the loss, but a 48 percent mark from the free throw line ultimately spelled doom.
Both teams will be back in action on Wednesday, LSU against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State against rival Ole Miss.
Kentucky Holds Off Texas A&M for Overtime Win
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A full 40 minutes was not enough to settle matters between Kentucky and Texas A&M on Saturday night, but the Wildcats survived the overtime period for a 72-68 road win. Julius Mays and Nerlens Noel spearheaded the effort for UK (15-6, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) with 19 points apiece.
After averaging over seven blocks per game in his last six outings, Noel only recorded a pair of swats against the Aggies (13-8, 3-5). The sensational freshman stepped up his game elsewhere, however, grabbing 14 boards and dropping three assists in addition to his 19-point effort. Kyle Wiltjer chipped in 10 points in relief duty for the Cats, and Archie Goodwin added nine on 4-of-10 shooting.
Kentucky limited A&M to under 40 percent from the field, including a paltry 16.7-percent effort from 3-point distance. UK managed to overcome 18 turnovers (compared to 10 for TAMU) in the win, and it marks SEC victory number six for John Calipari’s team on the season.
Elston Turner, who dropped 40 points on the Wildcats in their last meeting on Jan. 12, did his best to down Kentucky once again but fell just short. The senior guard led all scorers on the day with 21 points, while Fabyon Harris added 14 points and six boards. After rallying from a 13-point deficit to knot the game at the end of regulation, the Aggies were outscored in the extra period 10-6.
Kentucky shot 47.7 percent in the victory, including a hot 46.7 mark from long distance.
Kentucky will be back on the court on Tuesday night against South Carolina. The Aggies will return to action on Thursday against Mizzou.
Florida Blows Past Ole Miss at the O-Dome
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 4 Florida hosted No. 16 Ole Miss on Saturday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, and the Gators were unkind in handing the Rebels their second consecutive conference loss. Florida (18-2, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) never trailed in the 14-point win, starting fast and coasting to the finish after leading by as many as 23.
Ole Miss’ Marshall Henderson, the SEC’s leading scorer, dropped 25 points in Gainesville, but it was not even enough to keep the Rebels close against the powerful Gators. Four of Florida’s five starters scored in double figures on the night, led by Erik Murphy’s 19 points on seven of eight shooting. Mike Rosario added 14 points, Patric Young scored 13 to go with 12 rebounds, and Scottie Wilbekin dropped in 13 points to go with seven assists.
As a squad, Florida shot 51 percent on the game while holding the Rebels (17-4, 6-2) to 38 percent from the floor. The stingy Gator defense forced Ole Miss into 13 turnovers and only allowed five assists on the offensive end the entire evening.
Murphy Holloway scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Ole Miss in the losing effort, and Reginald Buckner and Jarvis Summers scored eight apiece. Ole Miss was beaten on the boards 32-24, surrendering nine offensive rebounds to UF.
Florida will return to action on Tuesday against Arkansas, while Ole Miss will face Mississippi State on Wednesday night.