UK Men's Basketball

Big 12-SEC Challenge: Big 12 claims seven wins in 10 games

Iowa State's Monte Morris (11) shoots over Texas A&M's D.J Hogg (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M won 72-62.
Iowa State's Monte Morris (11) shoots over Texas A&M's D.J Hogg (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M won 72-62. AP

Oklahoma senior Buddy Hield has taken plenty of shots in crunch time and could not have looked more comfortable letting it fly again while his team roared back from a double-digit deficit in front of a packed, hostile and fully wound-up crowd.

Hield made seven of his eight 3-pointers in the second half on his way to a 32-point performance, Isaiah Cousins hit a go-ahead jumper with 4 seconds left and No. 1 Oklahoma overcame a 14-point deficit to escape with a 77-75 victory over LSU on Saturday at Baton Rouge, La.

“That’s all confidence,” Hield said of his flourish down the stretch, which came after he’d made one of his first five 3s. “My teammates keep lifting me up, even when I start off missing the first two of the second half. They find me in good spots and I was able to knock down good, rhythm shots.”

LSU freshman sensation Ben Simmons had his share of highlights in a 14-point performance, including a memorable driving reverse dunk. But he had trouble even getting his hands on the ball in the last 10 minutes.

LSU coach Johnny Jones emphasized the experience factor when explaining why the Tigers struggled to stop Hield, who scored at least 30 for the eighth time this season.

“He just made some huge plays out there tonight that were needed to put his team in position to win – and that’s what veteran guys do,” Jones said. “So for a guy like that to come back for his senior year and continue to improve as a player, you could see the fruits of his labor out there today.”

Cousins finished with 18 points, and Ryan Spangler had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Sooners (18-2).

LSU (13-8) didn’t go quietly. Antonio Blakeney hit a pair of late 3s, and the second tied it at 75 with 24 seconds left.

The Tigers weren’t finished until Khadeem Lattin blocked Tim Quarterman’s driving shot as time ran out.

Many fans seemed to think Quarterman was fouled. Some even hurled garbage toward the court, showering those below them with bits of ice. There was contact on the play, but it could have been tough to tell in real time who initiated it as the Sooners collapsed defensively into the paint.

“I went to the hole pretty hard and got hit, but they didn’t call the foul,” said Quarterman, who scored a team-leading 18 points. “We can’t hang our heads on that.”

No. 5 Texas A&M 72, No. 14 Iowa State 62

Danuel House scored 20 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer late in the second half that sent No. 5 Texas A&M over No. 14 Iowa State 72-62 Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge at College Station, Texas.

The Aggies (18-3) trailed 58-56 before House hit from beyond the arc with about four minutes left. On their next possession, the senior guard worked his way inside for a layup.

House’s two free throws with 2:29 remaining made it 63-58. House later missed a short jumper, and freshman Tyler Davis tipped it in for a seven-point lead.

Star forward Georges Niang scored 15 points for the Cyclones (16-5). He picked up his fourth foul with 11:43 left in the second half, and fouled out with 1:39 to go and A&M leading 65-60.

Niang, guarded most of the game by Jalen Jones, was held five points below his average.

Jones had 13 points and 14 rebounds. Davis scored 15 points for Texas A&M.

The Aggies, who left the Big 12 for the SEC in the summer of 2012, finished 4-0 against the Big 12 this season. They defeated old conference foes Texas, Kansas State, Baylor and now Iowa State.

The teams hadn’t played since February 2012, just prior to the Aggies leaving the Big 12.

Deonte Burton added 11 points for the Cyclones. They had 16 turnovers, including five by Abdel Nader.

The Aggies dominated in points off of turnovers (21-4), and held a 40-34 edge in points in the paint.

Florida 88, No. 9 West Virginia 71

Dorian Finney-Smith scored 24 points, Brandone Francis-Ramirez hit three huge three-pointers and Florida upset No. 9 West Virginia 88-71 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday at Gainesville, Fla.

It gave first-year Gators coach Mike White a signature win and surely will help his team’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament in March.

Florida (14-7) had lost its last 12 games against top-10 teams, but put together arguably its most complete outing of the season against the Mountaineers (17-4).

Finney-Smith made 7 of 12 shots, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, and the Gators never trailed after his first trey off the opening tip. His last one with 1:02 to play – as fans chanted “S-E-C” and “overrated” – led to a standing ovation.

Jaysean Page and Tarik Phillip scored 15 apiece for West Virginia, which gave up its most points of the season.

Coach Bob Huggins used timeouts and different lineups, but found no answer for Florida’s ball movement and outside shooting. The Gators hit 12 of 20 from behind the arc.

Most of the damage was done in the first half. Florida closed the half with a 14-3 run that turned a four-point game into a double-digit affair, and when Finney-Smith hit his third 3 right after the break, it was clear this was going to be the Gators’ day.

Florida opened up a 20-point lead midway through the second half and never let West Virginia back in it. The Gators closed it out from the free-throw line, finishing 24 of 31 from the stripe after a 2-of-7 start.

KeVaughn Allen chipped in 19 points for the Gators, and Chris Chiozza finished with 10.

Francis-Ramirez was the surprise of the day. The freshman entered the game 5 for 40 from 3-point range and had missed 22 of his last 23 from behind the arc. But he seemingly couldn’t miss against West Virginia, and even had Kasey Hill apologizing for missing him wide open in the corner late.

The Mountaineers played without starting forward Jonathan Holton, who was suspended indefinitely Thursday for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The Gators, meanwhile, were without starting forward Justin Leon, who sustained a concussion at Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

A pregame skirmish seemed to set the tone.

The teams had to be separated just before the national anthem, after Florida players took exception to West Virginia circling up on their side of the floor. Referees reviewed video of the incident, but decided not to call any technical fouls.

They blew the whistle plenty after the tip.

West Virginia and Florida combined for 48 fouls and 47 free throws.

Florida opened up a 16-point lead early and looked like it would pull away. But foul trouble and turnovers helped West Virginia get back in the game. The Mountaineers cut it to 31-27 late in the first half, but the Gators closed the first half strong and pulled away after the break.

Texas Christian 75, Tennessee 63

With a break from the brutal Big 12 schedule, Chris Washburn and TCU felt like they really needed to take advantage of the opportunity.

Malique Trent scored 14 of his 15 points after halftime, when the Horned Frogs had a pair of 10-0 runs and rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Tennessee 75-63 on Saturday in the Big 12-SEC Challenge at Fort Worth, Texas.

“We felt like this was a need-win game. We all came in here and played that way,” said Washburn, who had 14 points and nine rebound. “Just the way everything’s been going, we’d lost three or four straight games. That’s why I felt like we needed to win this game.”

The Frogs (10-11), who get back into conference play next week at No. 1 Oklahoma and at home against No. 4 Kansas, had actually lost five in a row.

“It’s a good win for us,” said coach Trent Johnson, who before TCU coached in the SEC at LSU. “Any win’s a good win for us, considering how we have been playing.”

Trent started one of the big runs by the Frogs with two free throws to go up 56-55 with 8 minutes to play. It was their first lead since Chauncey Collins’ 3 with 14 minutes left in the first half made it 16-15. Over the next 3 minutes, Trent had two more free throws, Karviar Shepherd made a jumper and Chris Washburn had back-to-back baskets – a slam dunk and a tip-in.

Tennessee (10-11) missed 15 of 16 shots in one stretch, including 10 in a row to fall behind by 12 until Kevin Punter’s three-point play with 1:20 left.

Punter scored 24 points for the Volunteers (10-11), who shot only 33 percent (23 of 69) and blew a double-digit lead after halftime for the second game in a row.

The Vols led by 15 with 14 minutes left Wednesday night before losing 63-57. Tennessee is 1-9 on the road this season.

“It’s been kind of the same thing the last couple of games when adversity starts coming a little bit,” first-year Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “What happens when it starts swinging the wrong way for us, we have too many (players) that just go and hide and put everything on KP, and everybody’s game-planning for him anyway. … He needs some help.”

Barnes had been in the Big 12 the previous 17 seasons as coach at Texas. He was 8-0 against the Frogs while with the Longhorns.

TCU scored 10 consecutive points to start the second half after trailing 41-27 at the break. Trent had a layup and a 3-pointer to start it, and the Frogs were within 41-37 on a 3 by Brandon Parrish with 17:21 left.

Parrish scored 14 points and Shepherd 13.

“At halftime I just told them, ‘Hey look, we’ve been here before.’ We need to be aggressive. Everybody needs to do their job,” Johnson said. “We showed some courage and we kept our poise, meaning we had every opportunity to fold our tents.”

Kansas State 69, Ole Miss 64

D.J. Johnson scored eight of his 14 points during a 19-2 run in the second half, and Kansas State held off Ole Miss 69-64 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday at Manhattan, Kan.

Wesley Iwundu finished with 11 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Wildcats (13-8, 2-6). Justin Edwards and Stephen Hurt added 10 points apiece.

A 17-point swing in favor of the Wildcats, spanning six minutes, helped blow the door open and give the home team a 63-45 lead with 7:48 remaining. Johnson led the stretch with eight points, but it was Barry Brown who bookended it. Brown missed the second of two free-throw attempts following a foul with 8:49 left, but grabbed his own rebound and then sunk a 3-pointer from the corner.

Ole Miss (13-8, 3-5) was 2 of 14 from the field during the Wildcats’ spurt, including a near four-minute scoring drought. Rebels star Stefan Moody entered leading the SEC in scoring averaging 24.3 points, including 14-straight games with 20-plus points. But after his 10-point first half, Moody was held scoreless in the final period.

Kansas State opened the game with a 16-8 lead on the heels of a 9-0 run before losing starting point guard Kamau Stokes to a non-contact knee injury. Stokes was examined on the sidelines briefly before being taken to the locker room on a wheelchair.

Ole Miss recovered swiftly and took its biggest lead of the first half, 24-19, with 6:30 left. Moody, who was held scoreless for the first seven minutes, hit consecutive 3-pointers and finished the first half with a team-high 10 points. However, it was the Wildcats and backup guard Carlbe Ervin who went into the locker room at halftime with the lead. Ervin scored five points in a three-minute stretch to give the home team a 38-36 advantage at the break.

Ole Miss was led by Anthony Perez with 13 points.

Texas 72, Vanderbilt 58

Game by game, Shaka Smart’s “havoc” style of play is taking shape at Texas.

The latest example: A 72-58 takedown of bigger and taller Vanderbilt on Saturday in the Big 12/SEC challenge at Austin, Texas, a win sparked by tenacious defense and aggressive play attacking the basket by Longhorns guards.

Kerwin Roach Jr. had 15 points and 11 rebounds and center Prince Ibeh added 13 points and 11 boards for Texas (14-7), which got its fifth win in six games in a mid-season surge in Smart’s first year with the Longhorns.

“Our guys are trying to play the way we’re asking them to play,” Smart said. “It’s a mentality. Some people are born that way, some people it takes a year or two or three years in a program. The key to me, if I could say one word, would be aggressiveness. … We had that edge today.”

Damian Jones scored a career-high 26 points for Vanderbilt (12-9). Matthew Fisher-Davis scored 19 for the Commodores.

Texas had been slugging its way through the rugged Big 12 and entered the rare mid-season non-conference matchup brimming with confidence.

“This was a fun game for us,” Texas guard Isaiah Taylor said “The whole Big 12 prides ourselves as being the best conference in the country.”

Still, Vanderbilt figured to a be physical matchup problem for Texas with 7-footers Jones and Luke Kornet, one of the nation’s top shot blockers, in the frontcourt. But Kornet provided little offensive or defensive punch as Texas built a big lead that all but buried the Commodores early.

Vanderbilt staged a late rally with a flurry of 3-pointers. The Commodores shot 53 percent after halftime but timely turnovers, Texas’ offensive rebounding and free throws sealed the Texas win. Texas also outscored the bigger Commodores 40-18 in the paint.

Texas dismantled Vanderbilt’s size advantage early with full- and mid-court defense that pressured Vanderbilt ball handlers, closed passing lanes and seldom let the Commodores get anything inside. Texas forced Vanderbilt into eight turnovers and a paltry 6-of-21 shooting in building a 31-16 lead by halftime.

Roach, who had a career game earlier in the week against TCU, had back-to-back fast-break dunks. A 3-pointer by Tevin Mack started a 7-0 Texas run that had Vanderbilt on its heels and searching for some way to slow down the Longhorns.

“They are very quick on the perimeter, speed and quickness with their guards. They were very disruptive for us,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said.

The Longhorns led 41-27 before a Vanderbilt burst sparked by a pair of 3-pointers from Fisher-Davis pulled the Commodores within 43-35.

Kornet swished a 3-pointer from the right corner to cut the Texas lead to 58-51 with just under six minutes left, before Texas’ Eric Davis answered with a 3-pointer, then made two free throws to put the Longhorns ahead by 12.

Arkansas 75, Texas Tech 68 (OT)

Dusty Hannahs scored 25 points against his former school, and Moses Kingsley added 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead Arkansas to a 75-68 overtime victory over Texas Tech on Saturday in the Big 12- SEC Challenge at Fayetteville, Ark.

Hannahs, who played his first two seasons with the Red Raiders, scored 21 of his points in the first half as the Razorbacks (11-10) rallied from 12 points down to win for the sixth straight time against their former Southwest Conference rival.

Kingsley scored on a putback with 13.6 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime, the fifth overtime game for Arkansas this season. Zach Smith scored a career-high 19 points to lead Texas Tech (12-8), which lost for the seventh time in its last eight games.

No. 17 Baylor 83, Georgia 73.

Rico Gathers had 17 points and nine rebounds, and No. 17 Baylor used a quick start to the second half to beat Georgia 83-73 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday night at Waco, Texas.

Gathers had one of Baylor’s five three-point possessions during a 17-2 run in the first 4 minutes after halftime to turn a 35-32 deficit into a 49-37 lead. The Bears (17-4) scored just three points before the first media timeout in the first half.

Ishmail Wainright hit a tying 3-pointer 12 seconds into the second half, and Al Freeman put Baylor ahead for good with another in the Bears’ 34th consecutive home win against a nonconference opponent. It was the first meeting between the schools.

J.J. Frazier had 21 points and 11 assists to lead the Bulldogs (11-8), who lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Oklahoma State 74, Auburn 63

Jawun Evans had 21 points and Chris Olivier added 16 to lead Oklahoma State past Auburn 74-63 in the final game of the Big 12/SEC Challenge Saturday night at Auburn, Ala.

The Cowboys (11-10, 2-6) never trailed in the game. They opened up an early lead behind a flurry of 3-pointers and led by as many as 14 in the first half before Auburn (9-11, 3-5) pulled within three.

Evans poured in 16 points in the second half the help Oklahoma State build its lead back to 14. The Tigers clawed back within five before the Cowboys pulled away late.

Leyton Hammonds had 10 points, and the Cowboys were able to right the ship following a heartbreaking loss to No. 17 Baylor on Wednesday.

Kareem Canty scored 21 points for the Tigers, whose losing streak now sits at three games.

Evans’ five first-half points came in the first 90 seconds and then he missed his final four shots of the half.

Auburn, which came into the game shooting 37 percent from 3-point range, connected on just 6 of 29 attempts from beyond the arc. The Tigers shot 29 percent overall, as the Cowboys continuously funneled Auburn away from the line and into the paint.

The Tigers were without their third-leading scorer Cinmeon Bowers, who was suspended beforehand because of conduct detrimental to the team.

Tyler Harris added 16 points for Auburn, eight of which were from the free-throw line.

The Cowboys’ 14-point second-half lead dwindled to five with 6:28 to play, but a 17-11 run over the rest of the game cemented the first true road win for Oklahoma State this season.

No. 4 Kansas 90, No. 20 Kentucky 84 (OT)

Wayne Selden Jr. scored a career-high 33 points, seven in overtime, and fourth-ranked Kansas beat No. 20 Kentucky 90-84 on Saturday night in the premier showdown of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Frank Mason III added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Jayhawks (17-4), who snapped a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats (16-5) by winning their 35th straight game at Allen Fieldhouse.

It wasn’t easy. The Wildcats built an eight-point lead midway through the second half before Kansas switched to a zone defense and mounted a comeback. Perry Ellis made the second of two free throws to tie the game 76-all with 9 seconds left, and Tyler Ulis coughed up the ball at the other end before Kentucky got off a shot.

SEC/Big 12 Challenge

Big 12 wins 7-3

No. 5 Texas A&M 72, No. 14 Iowa State 62

Florida 88, No. 9 West Virginia 71

Texas Christian 75, Tennessee 63

Kansas State 69, Ole Miss 64

Texas 72, Vanderbilt 58

Arkansas 75, Texas Tech 68 (OT)

No. 1 Oklahoma 77, LSU 75

No. 17 Baylor 83, Georgia 73

No. 4 Kansas 90, No. 20 Kentucky 84 (OT)

Oklahoma State 74, Auburn 63

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