Sidelines with John Clay

College basketball notes: SEC comes up short

Tennessee’s Lamonte Turner (1) reacts after sinking a basket to give the Volunteers a 10-point lead over North Carolina in the first half on Sunday, December 11, 2916 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. North Carolina rallied to win 73-71.
Tennessee’s Lamonte Turner (1) reacts after sinking a basket to give the Volunteers a 10-point lead over North Carolina in the first half on Sunday, December 11, 2916 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. North Carolina rallied to win 73-71. Raleigh News and Observer

Besides Kentucky’s 96-73 win over Hofstra in Brooklyn on Sunday, more college basketball notes:

▪ Four SEC teams went on the road against tough competition and played well, just not well enough to win.

1. North Carolina had to rally from an eight-point halftime deficit to beat visiting Tennessee 73-71. Robert Hubbs III scored 21 points for the Vols. Hubbs hit nine of 11 shots as UT shot 51.9 percent in the Dean Dome. North Carolina was playing without guard Joel Berry. And Justin Jackson made just five of 13 shots. Yet Carolina found a way to improve to 10-1.

After taking a shot at his home crowds when UNC lost at a raucous Indiana two weeks ago, Roy Williams complemented Tar Heel fans on Sunday. “I’ve been complaining about our crowds,” said the coach, “but today the Smith Center crowd was one hundred times better than the head coach and I appreciate that.”

Rick Barnes not a fan of moral victories despite two-point loss.

2. Florida State held off No. 21 and visiting Florida 83-78. Dwayne Bacon scored 24 points for Leonard Hamilton’s club, which improved to 10-1 and will probably crack the Top 25. Kasey Hill scored a career-high 21 points in a losing cause for the Gators, who fell to 7-3. It was also Florida’s third straight loss to the arch-rival Seminoles.

Florida has had trouble playing defense in the second half. The Gators gave up 47 points in the second half to Florida State.

3. Alabama put up a respectable effort in Eugene before losing to Oregon 65-56. Tyler Dorsey scored 19 points for the Ducks, who are now 8-2. Donta Hall scored 14 points to lead the Crimson Tide, who fell to 4-4 overall. Any chance Avery Johnson’s club of pulling the upset died behind the three-point line. Bama was 2-of-19 from three.

4. Ole Miss lost 80-75 at Virginia Tech. Sebastian Saiz scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Rebels in a losing cause. Virginia Tech got 20 points from Ahmed Hill.

▪ Meanwhile, here’s Seth Berkman of the New York Times on Kentucky’s win over Hofstra at the Barclays Center.

▪ Fab freshman Markelle Fultz scored 21 points but Washington lost to Nevada 87-85 on Sunday. Marcus Marshall hit the game-winner with less than a second remaining for Nevada.

▪ Pancake Thomas scored 22 points as Western Kentucky improved to 4-5 with a 77-59 win at Indiana State. That’s the same Indiana State that beat Butler last week.

▪ Richard Pitino continued his rebound at Minnesota as the Golden Gophers ripped Northern Illinois 77-57 on Sunday. Reggie Lynch had 18 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota.

▪ Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon underwent season-ending knee surgery on Sunday. Falzon averaged 8.4 points per game as a sophomore last season.

▪ If you missed it, UCLA drilled Michigan 102-84 on Saturday night. The Bruins are for real. And Lonzo Ball had a terrific game.

▪ Bryce Harper hung out with the Duke basketball team after the Blue Devils’ romp over UNLV in Las Vegas on Saturday.

▪ Bill Self is not happy with the way Kansas is shooting free throws. The Jayhawks made just 14 of 25 free throws for 56 percent in KU’s 89-72 win over Nebraska on Saturday. “We have a gym where we live with goals in it just to shoot free throws,” Self said.

▪ Jeff Eisenberger of Yahoo offers eight snap judgments about the weekend’s action, including this about Villanova’s Josh Hart. “In a season in which nobody had emerged as a clear-cut early frontrunner in the national player of the year race, Villanova’s Josh Hart may have just changed that. The best player on the nation’s top-ranked team kept the Wildcats undefeated on Saturday with a one-man tour de force against Notre Dame.”

College basketball games on television Monday

  • 6:30 - Auburn vs. Boston College (Fox Sports 1)
  • 7:00 - Jacksonville State at Maryland (ESPNU)
  • 9:00 - South Carolina vs. Seton Hall (Fox Sports 1)
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