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    SEC Men's Basketball Roundup: Saturday, December 28

    SATURDAY MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
    Kentucky 73, Louisville 66
    South Carolina 78, Akron 45
    LSU 79, McNeese State 52
    Missouri 68, North Carolina State 64
    Arkansas 89, High Point 48
    UCLA 75, Alabama 67
    Colorado 84, Georgia 70

     

    Gritty Effort Leads No. 18 UK to Rivalry Win over No. 6 Louisville

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With standout Julius Randle sidelined with injury in the second half after a 17-point first-half outing, No. 18 Kentucky used stellar performances from freshmen Andrew Harrison and James Young to post a 73-66 win over No. 6 Louisville, in front of a season-high 24,396 on Saturday evening at Rupp Arena.

    After a strong performance from the Wildcats in the first half, including a 17-point performance from Randle on 7-of-8 shooting, Kentucky took a 41-36 lead into halftime. With the game noted at 43-43 with 17:55 left in the game, Randle subbed out due to injury. The Wildcats mounted a spirited rally to finish the game on a 30-23 run, with Randle seeing a few minutes on the floor before subbing out for good without accumulating any statistics in the second frame.

    Kentucky (10-3) was led by its freshmen trio of Andrew Harrison, Randle and Young. Young, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound native of Rochester Hills, Mich., contributed his first double-double of the year with a career-high 10 rebounds and 18 points. Andrew Harrison totaled 18 points, with Willie Cauley-Stein added 10 boards and Andrew Harrison contributing 10 points.

    The game was a matchup of the last two NCAA Champions, with the Wildcats claiming the title in 2011-12 and Louisville (11-2) winning the championship in 2012-13.

    The Wildcats will return to action on Jan. 8 with its Southeastern Conference opener vs. Mississippi State at 8 p.m. ET at Rupp Arena.





    Gamecocks Stifle Akron, 78-45, in Rematch

    COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Playing for the second time since Christmas, South Carolina (5-6) cruised to a 78-45 win in today’s rematch with Akron (6-5) at Colonial Life Arena behind a stellar day from senior guard Brent Williams who tied a career-high in 3-pointers (6) and field goal attempts (17) as he led all scorers with 24 points.

    To go with Williams’ 6-9 shooting from beyond the arc, sophomore Michael Carrera chipped in a season-best 13 points as well as seven rebounds. Sophomore Mindaugas Kacinas also tallied double-figures on the afternoon with 11 points. Akron was led by Quincy Diggs who recorded 13 points .

    After the Zips grabbed an early 4-0 lead, the Gamecocks quickly erased it from the 3-point line as Sindarius Thornwell and Williams hit back-to-back 3s to open up the game for Carolina.

    Williams extend the lead to five just under five minutes into the game, but Akron hit a 7-0 spurt over the next three minutes as Deji Ibitayo collected five of five points during the run that gave the Zips a 14-12 lead.

    After reclaiming the lead on a pair of free throws from Kacinas, the sophomore extended the lead to three with a lay-in after a strong drive through the lane from Duane Notice freed him up under the rim. A rebound on a his own missed free throw from Thornwell on the Gamecocks next possession allowed Carolina push the lead to 24-18. Notice collected one of his career-high six assists as he found Williams on the right side for an open 3.

    Akron managed to cut the deficit to two with 1:46 remaining, but the strong shooting from Williams continued as the senior hit his third 3-pointer of the half. Williams ended the half with 11 points, hitting a season-high three 3’s as the Gamecocks took a 30-24 lead into the half.

    South Carolina continued its first-half momentum into the second 20 minutes. After missing on its first two shots of the half, the Gamecocks raced out to a 17-1 run with six different players scoring in the opening eight-plus minutes of the half. The Gamecocks held the Zips to 0-6 from field during the stretch as they pushed the lead to 47-25 with 12:24 remaining in the game.

    After Pat Forsythe hit a jumper to end the drought for the Zips, Williams connected on his fourth and fifth 3s of the afternoon on back-to-back possessions to give the Gamecocks a 53-27 lead with 10:49 left.

    With just over eight minutes remaining, the Gamecocks went on an 11-0 run starting with Carrera passing his season-high mark with his 13th point of the day. The three-minute stretch also saw Kacinas score four of his 11 points as the Gamecocks took a 69-35 lead.

    The 33-point win for the Gamecocks was keyed by a season-high 20 assists to only seven turnovers. Four days ago, Carolina had 12-10 ratio against Zips in its 10-point win at the Diamond Head Classic.

    The Gamecocks had a strong performance defensively on the afternoon as they turned the Zips over 21 times and held them to 13-40 (32.5 percent) from the field. Carolina finished the day shooting 28-63 (44.4 percent), going 8-15 (53.3 percent) from 3.





    LSU Men's Hoops Takes Down McNeese State, 79-52

    BATON ROUGE –- Jarell Martin picked up his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the LSU men's basketball team collected its fifth straight victory with a 79-52 decision over McNeese State Saturday at the Maravich Center.

    For Martin, the 14 points was his second-highest scoring output whereas the 10 rebounds were a career-high.

    With the win, LSU (9-2) has garnered an 18-4 mark in non-conference games under second year coach Johnny Jones. The Tigers had four players score 10-plus points for the third consecutive game.

    Shavon Coleman tacked on a season's best 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the bench, while Johnny O'Bryant III provided 16 points on 7-of-11 from the floor to go along with five rebounds. Jordan Mickey came away with 11 points aided by a 7-for-7 effort at the foul line. He also secured seven rebounds, three blocks and two assists.

    Andre Stringer chipped in seven points and two assists over his 13 minutes of action. The seven points enabled Stringer to move past Bob Meador (1947-51) for 32nd place on LSU's all-time scoring list. Darcy Malone tacked on four points and equaled a career-high with five rebounds.

    Anthony Hickey registered three points and two assists. The two assists allowed him to surpass Jones for the No. 11 position on LSU's all-tome assists list.

    As a team, LSU was 24-for-62 from the field which included an 8-for-25 mark from three-point range. The Tigers distributed 18 assists on their 24 field goals and were a season's best 23-for-28 at the foul line. Eight players garnered multiple assists for LSU.

    McNeese State (2-10) was limited to 14-of-62 shooting and a season-low 22.6 percent clip. It's the second straight game LSU has held an opponent to a season-low field goal percentage The Cowboys also missed 21 of their 24 three-point attempts but were able to hit 21-for-26 from the free throw line.

    LSU poured in 28 of the game's 42 points in the paint and held a 28-7 edge in bench points. The Tigers also compiled a 54-39 rebounding advantage.

    The two teams traded four lead changes during the opening moments of the first half. The Tigers started slow out of the gate and misfired on 11 of their first 15 field goal attempts as McNeese State secured a 17-16 edge at the 7:13 mark.

    LSU ripped off 26 of the stanza's final 34 points to take a 42-25 advantage into the locker room. O'Bryant III found his rhythm with 10 points fueled by four baskets in the paint.

    The Cowboys pulled back to 42-30 in the first three minutes of the second half before LSU notched 13 of the next 18 points over the next 4:55 to extend the lead back to 55-35 with 12:45 remaining.

    The Tigers led by as much as 75-41 with 5:57 to go after Coleman canned consecutive triples and a transition layup over a 68-second span.

    LSU wraps up non-conference action with its third straight Saturday home game and its third tilt against an Atlantic 10 opponent as Rhode Island visits the Maravich Center. Tip time is on-tap for 7 p.m., and the game will carried by Cox Sports Television along with www.WatchESPN.com.

    The LSU Sports Radio Network will broadcast the game on Eagle 98.1 FM in the Baton Rouge and inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live. Jim Hawthorne, Ricky Blanton and Kevin Ford will call the action.

    For all of the latest news and information on Tiger basketball, visit www.lsusports.net/basketball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsubasketball along with @lsubasketball and @lsucoachjones on Twitter.





    No. 25 Missouri Slips Past NC State, 68-64

    RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points and Jabari Brown added 17 - including a lead-changing trey in the final minute - to lead No. 25 Missouri past North Carolina State on Saturday night, 68-64.

    The victory marks Mizzou's first on an opposing court this season, moving the Tigers' record to 11-1.

    N.C. State (9-3), who held a 10 point lead with 8:56 remaining in the game, was led by T.J. Warren's 24 points.

    Earnest Ross also came up big for the Tigers, as the senior recorded 11 points and 13 rebounds.

    Up next, Mizzou hosts Long Beach State on Saturday, January 4 before beginning conference play against Georgia.





    Defense Leads Razorbacks To 89-48 Win Over High Point

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The holiday break didn’t slow down the Arkansas men’s basketball team’s #Fastest40 style of play, as the Razorbacks set season-highs with 25 forced turnovers and 17 steals on Saturday night in a wire-to-wire 89-48 win over High Point at Bud Walton Arena.

    The top team in the SEC in turnover margin each of the last two seasons and leading the way again this year, Arkansas has forced four of its opponents during its current six-game win streak into more or equal turnovers than made field goals as it now stands at 10-2 on the season. The win completed just the third unbeaten home calendar year in Bud Walton Arena history and moved Arkansas’ home win streak to 22 games, the fourth-longest in the country.

    "That was a very complete performance by our guys from start to finish," said head coach Mike Anderson, who is now 18-1 at Arkansas when his team forced 20+ turnovers. "I put three words on the board before these guys came out and one of them was 'stops.' We started that game off with around seven multiple stops. That really ignited our defense and they were everywhere."

    A majority of those stops came via the aforementioned 17 steals, as the Razorbacks turned the 25 High Point miscues into a commanding 36-10 edge in points off turnovers and 46-14 margin in points in the paint. The Panthers managed just nine field goals in each half compared to double-digit turnovers in each frame, finishing with a 38 percent (18-48) clip from the field.

    The frontcourt trio of freshmen Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley along with senior Coty Clarke led five Razorbacks in double figures. Both Portis and Kingsley fell a rebound shy of their second career double-doubles, adding 16 and 12 points, respectively. Clarke chipped in 11 points, as the trio combined for 39 points and 20 rebounds. Portis has now reached double figures in eight consecutive games.

    Sophomores Michael Qualls and Anthlon Bell rounded out the double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Qualls has now reached double-digits in 11 of 12 games, while Arkansas’ balanced attacked has produced five double figure scorers in a game four times this season and at least three in every contest.

    For the sixth time this season, the Razorbacks shot over 50 percent from the field, hitting 34-of-66 (52 percent) and 14-of-17 (82 percent) from the free throw line. Adding to its offensive efficiency, Arkansas was able to corral 15 offensive rebounds and turn them into 27 second chance points while also handing out 22 assists on its 34 made field goals. It marked the third time during the six-game win streak that the Razorbacks have passed out 20+ assists, as coach Anderson improved to 78-1 all-time when doing so.

    Arkansas’ signature #Fastest40 style of play paid big dividends early, as the Razorbacks forced six High Point turnovers in the first six minutes to jump out to a 13-2 lead. Clarke and Portis combined for the first nine points of the fast start that helped the Razorbacks not trail for the entire 40 minutes for the fourth time this year.

    The double figure lead stuck over the final 32:17 of the game, as 12 of 14 players who entered the game scored to help the Razorbacks registered their third 40-point win of the season.

    High Point was led by Devante Wallace’s 13 points, while redshirt sophomore John Brown – the Big South Preseason Player of the Year – was limited to nine points and five rebounds, which is well below his season averages of 18.7 points and 8.1 rebounds entering the contest.

    Arkansas will close out the non-conference portion of its schedule on Saturday, January 4, when it hosts UTSA at Bud Walton Arena. Tip is slated for 7:05 p.m.

    For more information on Arkansas basketball, follow @RazorbackMBB on Twitter.





    Alabama Men’s Basketball Falls at UCLA, 75-67

    LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- After trailing by double digits early in the contest, the Alabama men’s basketball team battled back again UCLA in Pauley Pavilion Saturday night, keeping the game close throughout behind senior guard Trevor Releford’s game-high 34 points, before falling to the Bruins, 75-67.

    The game was tied with just over a minute to go, before the Bruins stretched out what was ultimately an eight-point differential. Releford and junior guard Levi Randolph, who had 12 points, were the only members of the Crimson Tide to post double figures while five UCLA players scored 10 or more points.

    Alabama will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 4, when it hosts the Robert Morris Colonials at Coleman Coliseum. The contest, which will mark the final regular season non-conference game of the 2013-14 campaign, is set to tip at 4:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on CSS.

    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.





    Bulldogs Drop Road Contest to No. 21 Colorado, 84-70

    BOULDER, Colo. -- The Georgia men’s basketball couldn’t overcome an 18-point first-half deficit and saw its five-game win streak snapped as the No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes beat the Bulldogs 84-70 Saturday night at the Coors Events Center.

    Nemanja Djurisic and Kenny Gaines led Georgia (6-5) offensively with 12 points apiece. Cameron Forte led the Bulldogs with five rebounds.

    “Colorado is very balanced offensively and we knew they could score from a lot of places,” said head coach Mark Fox. “One of the things we talked about as a team is that we couldn’t send them to the foul line and we had to win the rebounding battle. And we didn’t do those two things which was the difference in the game.”

    Colorado (11-2) shot a perfect 26-for-26 from the free throw stripe, and outrebounded Georgia 34-to-22.

    “[Colorado] is a terrific team,” continued Fox. “It’s a high-level, nationally-ranked team. We lost our poise in the first half but we battled back and had our chances. We had a couple plays [that didn’t go our way] that were huge swings and we have to learn from those things. We competed and learned a lot about ourselves.”

    After trailing by 18 points midway through the first half, the Bulldogs used a 11-4 run in the half’s final four minutes, including a three-pointer from Charles Mann with just two seconds remaining, to cut the Buffaloes’ lead to 46-35 heading into the halftime break.

    In the second half, Georgia shrunk the Colorado advantage to just ten points with six minutes remaining, but Colorado fought back behind seven straight points from Spencer Dinwiddle and strong free throw shooting to hold onto its 11th win of the season.

    Colorado has won ten of its last 11 games. Askia Booker and Dinwiddle led the Buffalos with 19 and 17 points, respectively. All five Colorado starters scored in double-figures.

    Georgia will returns to action on Friday, Jan. 3 in the Washington D.C., visiting George Washington (11-1). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on CSS.