COLUMBIA, Mo. -- No. 11 Kentucky bounced back from a road loss at LSU earlier in the week to notch an 84-79 win at Missouri on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats (16-5, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) took the lead in the early going thanks to a 3-pointer from Aaron Harrison, and UK would never trail from that point on. Harrison turned in a big effort for Kentucky, leading the team in scoring with 21 points to go along with a pair of rebounds.
Harrison received plenty of help from his teammates in the victory, including a 20-point effort from James Young and a 19-point, nine-rebound outing by big man Julis Randle. The Wildcats shot 53 percent as a team, including a 57-percent success rate from 3-point range.
Mizzou (16-5, 4-4) fell despite a pair of massive offensive efforts in its backcourt.
Jabari Brown led all scorers on the afternoon, dropping a career-high 33 points while Jordan Clarkson chipped in 28 points of his own. Clarkson hit a shot in the final minute to pull the Tigers to within three, but Harrison answered with a lay-up on the other end to extend the lead once again for Kentucky and secure the Wildcats' sixth win in SEC play this season.
Both teams will return to the court on Tuesday night for more conference play. Kentucky will tip-off against Arkansas in Lexington at 7 p.m. Eastern, and Mizzou will travel to Gainesville to take on No. 3 Florida in a 9 p.m. contest.
AUBURN – Chris Denson scored 18 points to lead five Tigers in double-figures as Auburn basketball earned its second-straight victory with a 74-67 win over Georgia on Saturday in Auburn Arena.
It was the first time five Auburn players scored in double figures in an SEC game since February 20, 2010 against Arkansas.
Auburn (10-9, 2-6) led by as many as 12 in the second half, but Georgia closed to two on a 3-pointer by J.J. Frazier with 5:43 remaining.
The Tigers answered with a layup by Allen Payne and then two free throws from Chris Denson as they widened their lead back to 63-57 with less than five minutes to go.
Following another trey from Frazier, Matthew Atewe came up with a clutch blocked shot on Georgia’s Kenny Gaines that kept the Auburn advantage at two possessions.
The Bulldogs (10-10, 4-4) twice cut the Auburn lead to three points in the final minute, but the each time the Tigers answered with free throws to seal the victory.
KT Harrell finished the game with 16 points and four rebounds, while Tahj Shamsid-Deen had 12 points and four assists. Asauhn Dixon-Tatum added 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocks and Payne totaled 10 points and seven rebounds.
Auburn shot 27-of-34 (79.4 percent) from the foul line, including 7-of-9 by Denson and 6-of-7 by Payne.
Charles Mann led the Bulldogs with 18 points.
Auburn is in action next on Wednesday when it visits South Carolina at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3.
Ole Miss Takes Down South Carolina
OXFORD, Miss. - South Carolina (8-13, 1-7 SEC) held a double-digit lead through the majority of the second half, but Ole Miss (15-6, 6-2 SEC) was able to overcome the deficit late to defeat the Gamecocks 75-71 on Saturday in Oxford.
South Carolina senior guard Brenton Williams paced the Gamecocks with a game-high 23 points, while freshman guards Sindarius Thornwell and Duane Notice added 18 and 11 points, respectively. Thornwell added a season high six assists and Notice collected four. Sophomore guard Michael Carrera led the Gamecocks with 11 rebounds.
The Gamecocks shot 46.9 percent (23-49) in the game, but hit just 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) in the second half. South Carolina out-rebounded the Rebels 38-28.
Ole Miss held as much of an eight-point lead early, but Carolina chipped away at the Rebel lead and Williams' third 3 in the opening nine minutes of play gave the Gamecocks a 19-18 upperhand with 11:39 remaining in the opening half.
Both teams struggled to find the basket through the middle portion of the half, and the score stood at 23-21 Ole Miss at the under-eight minute media timeout. Out of the break, Williams reached double-figures, as the national leader in free throw percentage knocked down a pair from the line to tie the game with 7:55 remaining before the break.
Marshall Henderson hit a floater from the corner for the Rebels with four minutes remaining on the clock, but Notice continued a stellar half of basketball, taking the possession coast-to-coast and notching the lay-in and Ole Miss foul for a chance at a 3-point play out of the media timeout. Notice missed the opportunity at the line, but Carrera was there for the tip-in and Carolina took a 33-31 advantage.
The Gamecock lead continued to grow, and a jumper from Carrera capped a 9-0 Carolina run and put the advantage at 38-31 with just shy of two minutes to play in the half.
South Carolina took a five-point lead into the break, after the teams traded makes at the free throw line, before Henderson capitalized on a Gamecock turnover with under 10 seconds to play and broke a four-minute rebel scoring drought to put the score at 40-35.
South Carolina scored 16 points in the paint in the first half, and out-rebounded the Rebels 17-12. The Gamecocks hit 56.0 percent (14-25) in the first half and the Rebels 14-of-28 (50.0 percent), with both South Carolina's Williams and Ole Miss' Henderson leading the way with 13 points in the opening stanza.
Both teams pushed offense in the opening two minutes of the second half, as the Gamecocks scored seven quick points out of the break behind two three-point plays from Thornwell, but the Rebels made a push of their own behind 3s from Anthony Perez and Henderson to put the score at 47-42 Carolina with 17:50 to play.
Williams hit his fourth 3 of the game with 16 to minutes on the clock, the fourth straight game that the senior has hit at least four 3s in the contest, and he added another 30 seconds later, which saw Carolina take its biggest lead of the afternoon to that point at 55-44 with 15:37 remaining, forcing an Ole Miss timeout.
South Carolina continued to build its lead, behind a jumper from sophomore forward Laimonas Chatkevicius and a pair of free throws from Thornwell. Summers connected for a lay-in at the 9:50 mark and the Gamecock lead was 11, 61-50.
Dwight Coleby's lay-in pulled the Rebels within seven with 8:24 to play, but Thornwell hit a huge 3 for Carolina to put the lead back to 10 seconds later. Ole Miss continued to battle, however, and White hit a put-back lay-in to pull the home team within eight at 64-56 with 7:43 to play, and the Rebels called a timeout.
Notice took a charge underneath the Ole Miss basket near the seven-minute mark, followed up with a steal with six minutes to play, which resulted in a make from the free throw line, keeping the Gamecock lead at nine points, 66-57.
On the ensuing Ole Miss possession, Henderson was fouled on a 3-point attempt, and he hit all three from the line to pull the Rebels within six points.
South Carolina was forced to call a timeout with 4:57 to play after the lead was drawn to just four points at 66-62 after two Rebel free throws.
Ole Miss forced a Gamecock turnover in the midcourt out of the break, and the Rebels capped a 7-0 run with a lay-in from LaDarius White with 4:51 to play. Jarvis Summers sank a 3 at the four-minute mark and Ole Miss took a one-point lead at 67-66.
Williams hit two from the line, and Summers hit a long jumper from just inside the 3-point arc to maintain a one-point Rebel lead at 69-68 with 2:19 to play.
Summers added two more points for Ole Miss with 1:32 remaining to push the lead to three, and Carrera hit one from the line with under a minute to play to put the score at 71-69 Rebels.
Ole Miss held the ball near midcourt long into the shot clock on the ensuing possession, and Summers couldn't connect, but Aaron Jones hit a lay-in and was fouled. He converted at the line, and the Ole Miss lead was five at 74-69 with 24 seconds remaining.
Sophomore forward Mindaugas Kacinas had a tip-in with 18 seconds remaining on a 3-point attempt from Williams, but Summers hit one of two attempts from the line with seven seconds to play and Carolina missed a 3 attempt at the buzzer, as Ole Miss posted the 75-71 victory.
The Rebels closed the contest on a 17-5 run over the final 5:37 and held Williams to just two points the final 13 minutes of the contest.
South Carolina continues SEC play when it hosts Auburn on Wednesday, Feb. 5. That contest will tip at 7:30 p.m. ET at Colonial Life Arena and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
No. 3 Gators Suffocate Texas A&M with Defense
WHAT HAPPENED: The third-ranked Gators absolutely vaporized the Aggies, limiting their Southeastern Conference foe to just 25.9 percent shooting to win their 13th straight game. UF’s defensive effort helped the Gators match their record for fewest points scored by an SEC opponent since 1950. On his 22nd birthday, Patric Young scored nine points and grabbed a season-best 14 rebounds, coming a point shy of the first double-double of his senior season. Sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith had 11 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Michael Frazier led all scorers with 20 points.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Gators remained undefeated in SEC play and two games up in the league standings on Kentucky and Ole Miss, both of whom won Saturday. The victory also was the 27th straight at home.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Young was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” when he came out on the floor to start the game and responded with one of his most passionate efforts of the season.
STAGGERING STATISTIC: UF absolutely pummeled A&M on the glass, beasting to a 57-27 advantage on the glass. Now, obviously, a poor night shooting by the visitors had a direct correlation, but someone still has to grab those misses. The Aggies came into the game ranked at the bottom of the SEC in rebounding (just 29.9 per game) and it showed. The Gators had four players with at least eight rebounds.
SUBPLOT: Florida’s roster officially has grown by one. Welcome, Chris Walker, the 6-foot-10 McDonald’s All-America center is now eligible to play. He adds depth in the front court, more defense in the post and the kind of rim-rattling highlight potential -- on both ends -- that earned him the nickname “Sky” Walker during his prep career at Bonifay (Fla.) Holmes County High.
UP NEXT: The Gators (19-2, 8-0), after a quick turnaround from Thursday night’s game, have another quick turnaround of sorts with Missouri (16-5, 4-4) due in town Tuesday night. The Tigers were beaten at home Saturday by Kentucky and now get the SEC front-runners on the night the Walker circus comes to town.
Vandy Down Mississippi State in Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mississippi State’s best effort on the road in Southeastern Conference men’s basketball action still did not lead to victory Saturday afternoon.
Vanderbilt stretched a four-point halftime lead to as many as 13 points before holding on to post a 55-49 victory over MSU at Memorial Gymnasium.
With the win, Vanderbilt improved to 12-8 overall and 4-4 in league play. MSU dropped its third straight to tall to 13-8 and 3-5.
“This was a game where we competed in the first half,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “Then we forgot who we were offensively. We shot 20 3-pointers and only six free throws. That is not who we are, so that really was not a good recipe for us.”
The Bulldogs started strong from 3-point range and quickly built an 8-2 lead. Fred Thomas scored his team’s first 10 points and MSU held a 10-9 lead with 12:15 left in the opening half.
The lead switched hands before Vanderbilt reeled off a 10-2 run. The Commodores grabbed a 22-16 lead with two free throws by Rod Odom with 5:22 left in the half.
Colin Borchert hit a 3-point basket to bring the Bulldogs within 22-21. Vanderbilt answered with a 3-pointer by Kyle Fuller for a 25-21 halftime lead.
Vanderbilt scored 16 first half points off MSU turnovers.
“All of the turnovers were unforced because they played a zone and when they played man, they packed it in and didn’t pressure us,” Ray said. “We allowed 24 points off turnovers and that is hard to come back from. We knew going into the game that it was important that we took care of the basketball. We didn’t do a good job with that.”
Vanderbilt extended the halftime lead to 34-21 with nine straight points to start the second half. Jacoby Davis finally snapped an eight-game scoring draught for the Bulldogs with a 3-point basket. The Bulldogs closed within 40-36 after scoring seven straight points.
The Bulldogs closed within four points on three other occasions down the stretch but could not reclaim a lead.
“In the second half, they shot 55 percent from the field,” Ray said. “It doesn’t matter what our worries are on offense. If you make stops on the defensive end in the second half, you have a chance to win the game.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 19 of 47 shots from the field (40.4 percent), 7 of 20 shots from 3-point range (35.0 percent) and 4 of 6 shots from the foul line (66.7 percent). The Commodores hit 21 of 47 shots from the field (44.7 percent), 6 of 25 shots from the 3-point range (24.0 percent) and 7 of 12 shots from the foul line (58.3 percent).
MSU held a 29-28 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 12 assists and 18 turnovers, while the Commodores had 13 assists and 14 turnovers.
Thomas led MSU with 16 points. Gavin Ware had nine points and eight rebounds.
Vanderbilt received 18 points from Odom, 14 points from Fuller and 13 points from Damian Jones.
MSU remains on the road for a Wednesday night contest at Texas A&M. The Bulldogs and Aggies will tip at 8 p.m. from College Station, with Comcast Sports Southeast having the regional telecast.
O'Bryant, Mackey Lead LSU Past Arkansas
BATON ROUGE -- The LSU men's basketball team built a 15-point early in the half and won for the fourth time in five games, 88-74, over Arkansas in front of 10,925 on Saturday afternoon at the Maravich Center.
LSU (14-6, 5-3 SEC) got 23 and 22 points from forwards Johnny O'Bryant III and Jordan Mickey, while outscoring the Razorbacks in the paint, 48-24.
O'Bryant had 12 points early to put LSU ahead by 17 midway through the first half. The 6-foot-9 junior was 11-of-16 shooting with nine rebounds. Mickey was equally unstoppable on both ends of the court, as the 6-8 freshman was 9-of-17 shooting with 11 rebounds and six blocked shots.
LSU shot 54.7 percent from the field (35 of 64) while using a zone defense to keep Arkansas out of the lane and shoot only 32.8 percent (21 of 64). The Razorbacks were 7-of-26 from three point range.
The Tigers return to action on Thursday, Feb. 6, when they travel to Athens to face Georgia at 6 p.m. CT. The game will be televised by ESPN2 and broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network starting at 5:30 p.m.
Arkansas (13-8, 2-6 SEC) made three runs to cut into a persistent double-digit LSU lead but weren't able to get closer than six for down the stretch. The Razorbacks stayed within shouting distance by making 25-of-27 free throws.
The Hogs were led by Rashad Madden, who finished with 17 points and made all eight of his free throws. Bobby Portis and Kikko Haydar each added 15.
The Tigers started the game red-hot from the field, making 10-of-14 shots including four three pointers by four different players and led 24-9 with 11:31 remaining in the first half.
O'Bryant extended LSU's advantage to 28-11 with his 10th point on a baseline jumper with 8:58 left in the half.
Meanwhile, the Tigers used a zone defense to hold Arkansas to only 5-of-22 from the field and 0-of-7 from three-point range in the first 13 minutes.
O'Bryant made it a dozen points with a powerful move in the paint before Gulley countered with Arkansas' first three pointer to cut the LSU lead to 31-15 with 4:35 to play in the half.
Layups by Mickey and Hickey pushed LSU's advantage to its largest of the half, 35-16, though Arkansas rallied with a 9-5 run going into the lockerroom and trailed 40-25.
LSU cooled to 47.2 percent from the field (17 of 36) in the half but maintained its double-digit advantage by holding Arkansas to 25.8 percent and out-rebounding the Razorbacks, 27-17.
A barrage of dunks and blocked shots by Mickey and Martin in the first four minutes of the second half lifted the Maravich Center crowd to its feet and kept the LSU lead at 15, 48-33.
Arkansas continued to claw back, cutting the LSU advantage to eight, 51-43, before Malik Morgan and Andre Stringer hit three pointers and Stringer added a circus layup on a fast break to give LSU a quick 8-0 run and control of the game once again.
Mickey completed his double double with 16 points and his 10th rebound with 9:18 to play and the Tigers ahead, 70-50.
Once again, Arkansas used an 11-0 run to get within seven, 72-65, but O'Bryant answered out of a timeout with a short jumper off the glass to settle the Tigers.
Though Wade made the deficit six with a three pointer, Martin answered with a long bucket from the left wing of his own to give LSU a 77-68 lead with less than four minutes to play.
An alley oops from Stringer to Mickey again brought the crowd to its feet once again and put the game on ice, 81-68, with 2:33 to play.
The teams traded free throws for the duration.
McRae, Stokes Power UT To 76-59 Win At Bama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Senior Jordan McRae scored 26 and junior Jarnell Stokes had a season-high 22 points and 16 rebounds as Tennessee knocked off Alabama, 76-59.
It was the Vols' 10th all-time win at Coleman Coliseum (10-26) and just their fourth win in Tuscaloosa since 1981, spanning 22 games.
The Vols moved to 14-7 overall and 5-3 in the SEC with their seventh wire-to-wire victory this season.
Alabama dropped to 9-12 and 3-5 in the league. The loss was the worst home defeat for the Crimson Tide since falling by 26 to Clemson on Jan. 1, 2008, 87-61, and worst in an SEC game since 2003.
Josh Richardson added 12 points for Tennessee.
Stokes' monster night marked his 12th double-double this season and 30th in 71 career games.
The Vols shot 48 percent from the floor in the game including 71.4 in the second half (15-21). Tennessee made nine 3-pointers on the heels of an 11-of-20 performance in a win over Ole Miss on Wednesday. The Vols are 20-of-40 on 3-pointers in their last two games.
Tennessee committed just five turnovers. The third time this season the Vols had five miscues -- which is the fewest in any game since 1992.
Alabama was led by Trevor Releford and his 23 points.
Up by six at halftime, the Vols saw their lead cut to two early in the second half. But Tennessee responded with a 9-0 run finished off by a breakaway slam dunk by Thompson with 14:12 left in the game. That put the Vols up 47-36, their largest lead to that point.
Stokes stuffed home an emphatic slam dunk to increase the Vols' lead to a dozen at 53-41 midway through the second half. Richardson nailed a 3-pointer a minute later and the advantage moved to 13 at 56-43.
The Vols led by 17 on a McRae jumper with 5:30 left in the game at 64-47. The lead continued to balloon as McRae and Stokes poured in the points.
UT led by double-figures for the final 10:50 of the game.
Tennessee led 30-23 at halftime as McRae and Stokes each scored nine points. The Vols knocked down six 3-pointers in the first half.
McRae's third 3-pointer of the half put the Vols up by double-figures for the first time at 22-12 with 8:35 left in the half.
The Vols jumped out to a 9-0 lead thanks to a pair of game-opening 3-pointers by Thompson and Richardson. Alabama scored the next eight points to get back within one, but the Vols maintained a lead for the remainder of the half.
Tennessee returns to action on Wednesday as the Vols travel to in-state foe Vanderbilt for an 8 p.m., ET tip. That game airs on ESPN3 and can be heard on the Vol Network.
The Vols next home game is set for Saturday, Feb. 8 vs South Carolina at 3 p.m. That game airs on ESPNU.