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    SEC Men's Basketball Today: Tuesday, December 17

    Men's Basketball RESULTS
    Mississippi State 78, Florida A&M 65
    Wichita State 72, Alabama 67
    Manhattan 86, South Carolina 68
    Vanderbilt 58, Austin Peay 56
    Florida 77, Memphis 75

     

    MSU Defeats Florida A&M, 78-65
                 
    STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State has been looking for more first-half offense in men’s basketball this season.
                    
    The Bulldogs got just that in a 78-65 victory over Florida A&M Tuesday night in the Humphrey Coliseum.
                    
    “I thought we had a lot of energy in the first half,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “Dre Applewhite really provided us the energy that we need to have. We also got to the free throw line. In the first half alone, we had 13 buckets and nine assists on those, so that is what we want to do on the offensive end.”
                    
    MSU improved to 7-2 by hitting 33 of 45 attempts at the free throw line while only committing 12 turnovers. The Bulldogs never trailed in the contest.
                    
    “We have shot a lot of free throws in practice,” MSU freshman guard Dre Applewhite said. “(Craig Sword) and I have big bodies, so we got to find a way to get to the line.”
                    
    MSU quickly scored the game’s first five points on a 3-point by Colin Borchert and a follow-up basket by Craig Sword.
                    
    The Rattlers closed within 10-9 before the Bulldogs scored the game’s next four points on two free throws by Trivante Bloodman and a layup by Sword.
                    
    MSU held Florida A&M scoreless for a stretch better than four minutes as the Bulldogs built the lead to 25-13. The Bulldogs had five first-half steals, including a pair by Colin Borchert and Applewhite.
                    
    The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 36-20 on a Sword layup with 1:50 left in the half.
                    
    Long-range success for Florida A&M kept the Rattlers in the contest. Florida A&M hit 4-of-8 first-half 3-point attempts, including a pair by Jamie Adams.
                    
    MSU eased into halftime with a 42-27 advantage.
                    
    “We had a rough go in the non-conference last season,” MSU senior guard Tyson Cunningham said. “So it is good to have some momentum right now. We are excited about the New Year because it is a new start for us.”
                    
    In the opening half, the Bulldogs converted 52 percent of their shots from the field and made it to the free throw line 20 times (making 13). The Bulldogs also had eight assists and a plus-three rebounding advantage.
                    
    For MSU, 42 points was the second most points in a first half this season. The halftime advantage was the season’s largest.
                
    In the second half, the Bulldogs continued to apply the defensive pressure. MSU scored the first nine points of that half and forced five turnovers over the first four minutes. The Rattlers went better than five minutes without scoring to start the game’s final half.
                    
    “It is good when you get the ball into the paint,” Ray said. “You want to get to the free throw line and draw fouls. It is important to drive the basketball. We are taking advantage of not being in school right now to get a couple of practices in each day.”
                    
    For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 20 of 51 shots from the field (39.2 percent), 5 of 18 shots from 3-point range (27.8 percent) and 33 of 45 shots from the foul line (73.3 percent). The Rattlers hit 25 of 73 shots from the field (34.2 percent), 8 of 21 shots from 3-point range (38.1 percent) and 7 of 12 shots from the foul line (58.3 percent).
                    
    Florida A&M (2-8) held a 48-40 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 13 assists and 12 turnovers, while the Rattlers had 12 assists and 15 turnovers.
                    
    Sword led the team with 16 points, while Applewhite followed with 14 points and both Borchert and Bloodman each had 10 points. Applewhite posted his first double-double with a team-high 11 rebounds.
                    
    IJ Ready had eight points and four assists. Borchert added three blocked shots and two steals.
                    
    FAMU received 14 points from D’Andre Bullard. Trey Kellum had a team-high nine rebounds.
                    
    MSU remains home for a Thursday night contest with Florida Gulf Coast. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. in the Humphrey Coliseum. The contest will be televised regionally by Comcast Sports Southeast.






    Alabama Men’s Basketball Falls to No. 11/9 Wichita State, 72-67

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team dropped a hard-fought contest Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum, falling to the No. 11/9 Wichita State Shockers, 72-67.

    “They are a really good basketball team and we knew that coming in,” UA head coach Anthony Grant said. “There’s a reason why they’re one of the top teams and undefeated so far. They did a great job defending. We really struggled at the free throw line and they didn’t and that was a major factor, especially down the stretch.”

    With the loss, Alabama (5-5) falls to .500 on the season while Wichita State (11-0), the second-highest ranked non-conference opponent to play in Tuscaloosa, remains undefeated.  The loss snaps Alabama’s 15-game regular season home winning streak.  Before tonight, the Tide’s last regular-season loss in Coleman Coliseum was on December 30, 2012 to Tulane.

    The Shockers were nearly perfect from the free-throw line, going 25-of-27 (.926) though Alabama held the edge from behind the three-point arc, shooting 7-of-20 (.350).  Senior guard Trevor Releford was the Tide’s leading scorer, returning after sitting out Saturday’s game with what was called an “aggravated hip” to score 22 points with a season-high six assists.  Junior guard Rodney Cooper had a second-straight game in double digits, scoring 14 as Alabama’s next-highest scorer.

    Early turnovers hurt the Alabama in the opening half, with Wichita State scoring seven unanswered to build a double-digit lead at 16-6 near the 13-minute mark. The Shockers kept the Tide at arm’s length until Alabama found a spark late in the half, drawing within one point, 33-32, at halftime.

    The game remained a back-and-forth battle in the second half, with Alabama eventually taking a 52-51 lead off back-to-back three-point baskets by Releford with eight minutes remaining.  A raucous Coleman Coliseum crowd came alive as the teams were deadlocked 58-58 at the final media timeout.  However, Wichita State was able to hold on down the stretch and pull out a five-point win.

    Alabama will end its three-game homestand on Saturday night when it squares off against the Xavier Musketeers at 6 p.m. CT. The contest will be televised on CSS and can also be seen on ESPN3.com.
                                                                                                                                       
    For all the latest information on the team, follow AlabamaMBB on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.






    Gamecocks Suffer 86-68 Defeat to Manhattan

    COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina was unable to overcome the timely shooting and 34 made free throws from Manhattan tonight as the Gamecocks fell 86-68 to the Jaspers at Colonial Life Arena.

    Manhattan’s George Beamon scored 26 points on night, while fellow senior Michael Alvarado added 20 points, hitting 10-11 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 17 points and five rebounds as junior Tyrone Johnson added 12 points.

    South Carolina (2-4) opened up the game quick as senior guard Bruce Ellington scored five points in a 20-second span after the Jaspers scored the opening basket. Johnson followed that with lay-in and added a free throw to give the Gamecocks an early 8-2 advantage.

    From that point on, Manhattan (8-2) raced out to a 10-2 run to reclaim the lead less than three minutes into the game. Carolina was able to tie it up at 18-18 after a Johnson hit a 16-footer as the shot clock expired. After a quick Jasper turnover, Johnson drove through the lane and added a lay-up after a taking a hard foul. The junior hit one of two ensuing free throws to give the Gamecocks a three-point lead.

    Beamon responded for the Jaspers, knocking down a 3-pointer on their next possession to tie-up the game at 21-21 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half.

    Tied at 28-28 with 7:01 remaining in the half, Manhattan went on an 8-0 run, going 8-8 from the free throw line. Senior guard Brenton Williams then found freshman Demitrius Henry on the back door for a dunk to end the drought, but Shane Richards answered with a 3-pointer on the Jaspers’ next trip.

    Manhattan took a 45-34 lead into the half, due in part to going 18-19 (94.7 percent) from the free throw line, outscoring South Carolina by nine from the line.

    After only scoring four of his 17 points in the first half, Thornwell asserted himself in the second half, trying to bring the Gamecocks back, but the Jaspers had an answer each time.

    Thornwell cut the deficit to five with a pair from the line at 15:32. The Jaspers responded though with five quick points on a 3-pointer from Alvarado and a pair of free throws from Emmy Andujar.

    With under 13 minutes to play, Thornwell squared up and hit an open 3. Alavardo responded though with a two free throws to push Manhattan’s lead back to 10.

    At the 11:31 mark, Mindaugas Kacinas found Michael Carrera sitting underneath for a lay-in as he was fouled. The sophomore converted the three-point play, but again the Manhattan answered from the line. Beamon followed that up with his second 3-pointer of the night to give the Jaspers a 63-53 lead.

    Manhattan maintained its lead throughout the remainder of game to end the night with their seventh road win of of the season, 86-68. As a team, Manhattan shot a 34-39 (87.2 percent) from the free throw line as the Gamecocks hit 22-52 (42.3 percent) from the field and went 22-38 (57.9 percent) from the line.

    The Gamecocks will return to Colonial Life Arena on Thursday as they host USC Upstate. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and will air live on SportsSouth/FoxSports Carolinas.
     



    Vanderbilt Holds Off Austin Peay, 58-56

    Kyle Fuller scored all 10 of his points in the final 6:22 as Vanderbilt defeated intrastate rival Austin Peay 58-56 on Tuesday night in Nashville.

    Fuller hit one of two from the line with 8.2 seconds left to give the Commodores the final margin. Austin Peay had a shot at the buzzer, but missed.

    Damian Jones had 12 points for Vandy (6-3), while Rod Odom added 11.

    Chris Horton had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Austin Peay (5-6).
     




    No. 16 Florida Downs 15th-Ranked Memphis, 77-75

    Casey Prather had 22 points and Florida survived a final Memphis possesion, as the Gators beat the Tigers 77-75 on Tuesday night in New York City.

    On the final possession, Memphis guard Joe Jackson drove to the basket for a potential game-tying basket, but a couple of Florida defenders were able to keep him from the basket to preserve the win.

    Dorian Finney-Smith came off the bench to score 14 points for Florida, while Michael Frazier and Scottie Wilbekin each had 11.

    Jackson had 17 points for Memphis and Geron Johnson added 13.

    Florida shot 50.9 percent from the floor, and won the rebounding battle 36-25. Those elements helped the Gators overcome 18 turnovers.