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    Saturday SEC Basketball Headquarters

    Saturday Men's Hoops RESULTS
    Vanderbilt 66, Texas A&M 55
    Kentucky 79, Georgia 54
    Ole Miss 82, Mississippi State 63
    Mizzou 82, South Carolina 74
    Florida 67, Tennessee 41
    Arkansas 86, Auburn 67
    Alabama 82, LSU 80


    Big Run Lifts Kentucky Past Georgia

    LEXINGTON, Ky.,--A shorthanded Georgia men's basketball team couldn't overcome a 19-3 second half run and fell to No. 14 Kentucky 79-54 Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena.
     
    Sophomore forward Brandon Morris led Georgia (10-8, 4-2) with 15 points. Junior forward Marcus Thornton had a team-high nine rebounds.
     
    "I thought we played well early especially on the defensive end, but we just couldn't sustain it offensively," said head coach Mark Fox. "We competed. We didn't play as well as we wanted to play but we did compete, so that part was a good sign. There wasn't one second prior to the game or through the majority of the game that we didn't think we could win it. We fought through adversity. We were playing uphill and we got it back to single digits [early in the second half] but we didn't capitalize when we got it there."
     
    After forcing Kentucky (15-4, 5-1) to several early turnovers, Kentucky went on a deafening 20-2 run midway through the first half to take a 25-10 lead with six minutes remaining. However, the Bulldogs would slow the Wildcat momentum back cut the halftime deficit to 34-22, largely behind 12 first-half points from Brandon Morris.
     
    To open the second half, Georgia held Kentucky without a field goal for the first four minutes to cut the Wildcats' lead to just six points, but Kentucky responded with two offensives, the last of which put Kentucky on a 19-3 run to give it a 24-point lead, its largest of the game.
     
    The Bulldogs played Saturday's game without sophomore guard Kenny Gaines and freshman forward Juwan Parker. Both players sustained injuries in Wednesday's win over South Carolina.
     
    "It crippled us," continued Fox. "Injuries are part of the game and we have to deal with that, but [the guard spot this year] is where we have two guys so when they both get hurt it puts us behind the eight-ball."
     
    Aaron Harrison and Julius Randle paced Kentucky with 15 and 14 points, respectively. The win was Kentucky's 21st straight at Rupp Arena.
     
    Georgia returns home to host Vanderbilt (10-8, 2-4) on Wednesday. The game will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on CSS. For ticket information, go to Georgiadogs.com.



    Vanderbilt Picks Up Road Win in College Station

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Vanderbilt Commodores were in the Lone Star State on Saturday afternoon to take on the Aggies of Texas A&M, and the 'Dores came away with a 66-55 win over the Ags thanks in part to big efforts from James Siakam and Kyle Fuller.

    Siakam led the way for Vandy (10-8, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) with 22 points, while Fuller poured in 19 points of his own. The win for the Commodaores came despite playing with only seven scholarship players, and it snapped a two-game losing streak for VU. 

    Vandy faced a one-point deficit with 15 minutes remaining in the second half before going on a 12-0 run to establish control. Kourtney Robinson scored 14 for the Aggies (12-7, 3-3 SEC), but it would not be enough in the end. Texas A&M pulled to within four points with four minutes and change remaining on the clock, but Vanderbilt ended the game on a 14-7 run to ensure that the Ags did not complete the comeback.

    Both teams turned in paltry efforts from behind the 3-point arc, with Vanderbilt shooting 31.8 percent (7-of-22) compared to TAMU's 22.2 percent clip (4-of-18).
     



    Gators Smother Tennessee for Big Win in Gainesville

    WATCH VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

    By Chris Harry
    GatorZone.com Senior Writer

    WHAT HAPPENED: The sixth-ranked Gators turned their defense up loud enough to rival the super-sonic sounding home crowd and smashed the Southeastern Conference rival Volunteers for an 11th straight win. Sophomore guard Michael Frazier scored 17 points and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin chimed in with 13 and in-your-face defense against one of the league's premier offensive players (see below). As evenly distributed as UF's baskets were (four players with double-figures, another with 9 points), it was the baskets visiting UT did not score -- and there were many -- that proved the difference in this game. The Vols scored just nine field goals through the game’s first 29 minutes and finished with a season-low point output in making just 26.8 percent from the floor.

    WHAT IT MEANS: Florida remained the lone unbeaten team in the SEC, improving to 6-0 in league play while padding the school record for consecutive wins at the O’Connell Center to 26 straight. The Gators opened a three-game cushion on the Vols in the SEC race.

    IN THE SPOTLIGHT: He may not appear on too many highlights tonight, but sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith was sensational off the bench, finishing with nine points, eight rebounds and bringing the Gators unbridled energy under the basket. His diving, into-the-bench save eventually netted a Frazier 3-pointer during an early second-half Florida run that blew the game open.  

    STAGGERING STATISTIC: Gotta go with two. Tennessee finished just 1-for-19 from the 3-point line (5.3 percent) against a UF defense that came in ranked 11th in the league -- and 222nd in the nation -- in 3-point defense at 35.2 percent. And the Vols leading scorer, 6-foot-6 guard Jordan McRae, who lit the Gators up for 27 points last season and was coming off a 34-point eruption Wednesday against Arkansas, came in averaging 19.2 points. He finished with just five points on 1-for-15 shooting. Take a bow, Mr. Wilbekin, arguably the best on-ball perimeter defender in the country.

    SUBPLOT: The blowout win halted the Vols’ three-game winning streak in the series. Tennessee (12-7, 3-3) came in having won 13 of 19 in the series. For what it’s worth, the Gators go to Knoxville for a rematch Feb. 11.

    UP NEXT: The Gators (17-2, 6-0) don’t play until next Thursday when they travel to face Mississippi State (13-6, 3-3).



    Ole Miss Runs Away From Rival Mississippi State

    OXFORD, Miss. – A tough stretch on the defensive end hurt Mississippi State’s chances in its rivalry game with Ole Miss Saturday afternoon.
     
    The homestanding Rebels built a double-digit lead late in the first half and made it stand up for an 82-63 Southeastern Conference men’s basketball win at the Tad Smith Coliseum.
     
    With the victory, Ole Miss improved to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in league play, while MSU fell to 13-6 and 3-3. The two arch-rivals split the regular season series for a second straight year.
     
    “Our guys didn’t come out and execute on the defensive end and that is very disappointing,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “We have our challenges on the offensive end but that does not impact how we should be playing on the defensive end.”
     
    The Bulldogs had another struggle out the gate, falling down 8-2 quickly. Ole Miss stretched the lead to 15-7 on a jumper by Aaron Jones.
    Ole Miss built a double digit lead before Roquez Johson had the deficit back to nine at 34-25 on a layup for MSU. The Bulldogs appeared ready to make a push but failed to convert on the front end of three different one-plus-one attempts to end the half.
     
    Ole Miss led 38-27 at the intermission.
     
    “We had some unbelievable opportunities at the rim but did not finish,” Ray said. “The inability hit free throws continues to hurt us. I didn’t like our fight or energy, especially consider it was against Ole Miss. We have now lost three road games (in league play) and not been competitive. We have to find a way to play better on the road.
     
    “We have to learn how to be competitive away from home.”
     
    MSU turned the ball over on three of four possessions to start the second half and the lead quickly sprinted to 21 thank to a 15-5 run. Ray played many reserves in the second half, and strong play by Tevin Moore and De’Runya Wilson sparked an 8-0 run as the Bulldogs made one last rally.
     
    The Bulldogs closed within 12 but got no closer.
     
    “Some of the new guys played with a lot of spark and determination,” Ray said. “Even though they didn’t do some things, were making mistakes through effort. We need to see more of that.”
     
    For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 24 of 59 shots from the field (40.7 percent), 9 of 20 shots from 3-point range (45.0 percent) and 6 of 14 shots from the foul line (42.9 percent). The Rebels hit 29 of 63 shots from the field (46.0 percent), 7 of 21 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 17 of 20 shots from the foul line (85.0 percent).
     
    Ole Miss held a 43-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 18 assists and 11 turnovers, while the Rebels had 12 assists and nine turnovers.
    Returning to the lineup after missing two games for injury, IJ Ready led MSU with 13 points. Johnson also had 13 points.
     
    Ole Miss received 19 points from Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers. LaDarius White added 11 points. Sebastian Saiz had a game-high 11 rebounds.
     
    MSU hosts Florida at 6 p.m. Thursday. The contest will be televised nationally by ESPN2 from Humphrey Coliseum.
     


    Mizzou Holds Off South Carolina Rally to Down Gamecocks

    WATCH VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

    COLUMBIA, Mo. – A career-high seven 3-pointers from Brenton Williams and a double-double from Michael Carrera wasn’t enough on the road as Missouri (15-4, 3-3 SEC) held off South Carolina (7-12, 0-6 SEC) for an 82-74 win at Mizzou Arena.

    Williams posted 32 points as he set career highs in made 3s (7) and 3’s attempted (14). Carrera recorded his first career double-double with a season-high 16 points and 11 rebounds. Missouri was led by its scoring duo of Jordan Clarkson (22) and Jabari Brown (24) who were above their season average with 46 combined points.

    The Gamecocks struggled against Missouri’s defense in the early going as the Tigers ran out to an 11-0 run, bookended by 3s from Earnest Ross and Brown. Carolina scored its first points of the game just over four minutes in as Sindarius Thornwell hit a pair from the foul line.

    Despite Williams hitting his first 3-pointer of the game at the 12:47 mark, the Tigers were able to push the lead back to 11 with under 10 minutes remaining after a layup from Brown. Another 3 from Williams though started a 9-2 run from Carolina that brought the team within four at 22-18 with just over six minutes remaining the half.

    The Gamecocks went cold from that point on as Ross poured in a nine points during a 16-0 run for the Tigers that gave them a 38-18 advantage with a minute and half remaining until the break.

    Carrera ended the four-plus minute scoring drought with a jumper, and Williams added two from the foul line just before half, but Missouri held a 38-22 after the opening 20 minutes, shooting 13-26 (50 percent) from the field compared to Carolina’s 7-27 (25.9 percent).

    After Brown opened the second half with a 3 for Missouri, Williams answered and the Gamecocks were able to climb back to within 11 two minutes later after a four-point play from Carrera. The Tigers had another answer though in the form of back-to-back 3’s from Clarkson and Brown.

    Trailing 50-31 with 15:34 on the clock, Carolina went on an 8-2 spurt with 3s from Thornwell and Brian Steele to get within 13.

    Down 15 with 9:25 Thornwell, the team’s second-leading scorer at that point with nine, was called for his fourth foul and subsequently sent to the bench. Williams continued to try and keep the Gamecocks in the game as he knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers in four Carolina possessions. The third one was the senior’s seventh on the day, passing his previous career high of six he tied earlier this season against Akron.

    After a layup from Brown with 5:05 remaining gave the Tigers a 71-55 advantage, Carolina went on a 12-2 run to cut the deficit to six with just over a minute to go. The Tigers converted  9-12 from the line down the stretch as they held on for the 82-74 victory.

    After only making seven field goals in the first half, South Carolina made 16 in the second half as they shot 50 percent during the final 20 minutes, but its 39 percent (23-59) for the game was not enough as Missouri shot 26-48 (54.2 percent). The Tigers controlled the paint, outscoring the Gamecocks 34-16.

    Thornwell recorded 14 points and collected four rebounds and four assists before fouling out late in the game for South Carolina. Ross added 14 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Tigers.

    The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday night as they host Texas A&M. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPN3.


     

    Arkansas Cruises To Double Figure Victory Over Auburn

    FAYETTEVILLE - Returning to Bud Walton Arena after a week on the road, Arkansas jumped out to an early lead that it never relinquished, routing SEC foe Auburn 86-67 on Saturday.

    Junior Rashad Madden continued on his hot streak, setting a new career high with 24 points, reaching double figures in all six SEC outings. Freshman Bobby Portis made him impact known from the get-go, scoring the first field goal of the game and racked up 18 points, his thirteenth outing in double figures, and grabbed a team high nine boards. Senior Fred Gulley III closed out the Razorbacks in double figures, adding 10 points on 2-3 from beyond the arc, also recording zero turnovers.

    Arkansas' shooting picked up during the second half, jumping to 65 percent from the field and 42 percent from downtown, the team's best in an SEC contest this season.

    Senior Coty Clarke racked up the efficiency stats, dishing out a team high five assists and snagging three steals including an impressive grab after diving over the officlals bench and streaking around Auburn's team bench.

    The Razorbacks have forced 18 Auburn turnovers and capitalized with 11 points off miscues. Arkansas also dished out 21 assists to Auburn's 11.
     



    Alabama Men’s Basketball Defeats LSU, 82-80

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama men’s basketball defeated LSU, 82-80, Saturday night in a back-and-forth game at Coleman Coliseum. Senior guard Trevor Releford led the Crimson Tide with 21 points and two steals. Alabama is now 9-10 on the year, 3-3 in the SEC, while LSU falls to 12-6, 3-3 in conference play.

    After falling behind 7-0 to open the game, Alabama went on a 24-2 scoring streak, including a 14-0 spurt during the run. The Tide led 36-23 at the half and held a 19-point lead with 17:04 remaining in the game. LSU was able to come all the way back and take a lead late in the game, but the Crimson Tide weren’t down long as freshman forward Shannon Hale hit a go-ahead three pointer with 37 seconds remaining in the game.

    Hale had career-highs of 17 points and six assists. Junior Rodney Cooper had 19 points, with 17 of those coming in the second half, along with a game-high six rebounds. Junior Levi Randolph added 14 points and two steals.

    Prior to tonight’s win, Alabama had lost 19-straight games when allowing 70 or more points. LSU was led by junior forward Johnny O’Bryant III who had 18 points and five rebounds.

    Alabama will return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 29, when the Tide travels to take on the Auburn Tigers at 7 p.m. CT. The contest, which will be the first of two meetings between the squads this season, will be televised on SEC TV.

    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.