Sidelines with John Clay

SEC basketball shows improvement in splitting Big 12 Challenge

Florida forward Devin Robinson (1) greets teammate Justin Leon (23) as he returns to the bench during the Gators’ 84-52 win over Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
Florida forward Devin Robinson (1) greets teammate Justin Leon (23) as he returns to the bench during the Gators’ 84-52 win over Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Associated Press

Even with Kentucky’s loss to Kansas on Saturday night, the SEC held its own with the Big 12 in the annual challenge, splitting the results 5-5.

SEC wins: Florida over Oklahoma 84-52; Tennessee over Kansas State 70-58; Georgia over Texas 59-57; Vanderbilt over Iowa State 84-78; Auburn over TCU 88-80.

Big 12 wins: Baylor over Ole Miss 78-75; West Virginia over Texas A&M 81-77; Texas Tech over LSU 77-64; Oklahoma State over Arkansas 99-71; Kansas over Kentucky 79-73.

The Big 12 had won the Challenge each of the previous three years: 7-3 in 2013-14, 6-4 in 2014-15 and 7-3 in 2015-16.

Here are some notes from the Saturday games:

▪ No. 5 Baylor rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Ole Miss and pick up its fifth straight win. Manu Lecomte made five of six three-pointers and scored 17 points for the winners. Baylor hit 11 of its 25 three-point shots. Sebastian Saiz and Breein Tyree each scored 20 for Ole Miss.

▪ The Rebels’ Deandre Burnett had an off night, missing nine of his 10 shots from the floor.

▪ Ole Miss went 22 of 23 from three free throw line, yet lost.

▪ Admon Gilder scored 24 points and Tyler Davis added 19 points and 18 rebounds, but West Virginia fell short at Morgantown.

▪ Again, the Aggies were hurt by turnovers. Texas A&M turned it over 23 times against Press Virginia.

▪ Sindarius Thornwell just keeps rolling along. South Carolina’s star scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Gamecocks’ 63-53 win at Missouri.

▪ Missouri went 1 of 17 from three-point range in dropping to 0-8 in the conference. The Tigers shot 35.7 percent from the floor overall.

▪ South Carolina and Kentucky are now tied atop the SEC at 7-1.

▪ Alabama improved to 6-2 in league play, climbing into a tie with Florida for third place, with a 71-62 win over Mississippi State. Since losing by 20 points to Auburn, the Crimson Tide have won two straight games by a combined 29 points.

▪ Avery Johnson’s team shot just 32.7 percent but won. Braxton Key scored 19 points and collected nine rebounds. Mississippi State made just 11 of 19 free throws and turned the ball over 18 times.

▪ Florida got 20 points off the bench from Kevarrius Hayes in its rout of Oklahoma in Norman. Hayes’ previous high was 14 points.

▪ The Gator defense held Oklahoma to 27.7 percent shooting from the floor and the Sooners missed 15 of their 16 three-point shots.

▪ Despite 23 points from Antonio Blakeney, LSU lost its seventh straight game on Saturday. The Tigers made just 9 of 16 free throws for 56.3 percent.

▪ Grant Williams scored 17 points in Tennessee’s win over Kansas State. The Vols held the visitors to 39.6 percent shooting and enjoyed a 43-29 advantage on the boards in picking up their fourth win in their last five games. Tennessee led the Wildcats 39-22 at the half.

▪ Arkansas’ four-game win streak was rudely snapped in Stillwater. Oklahoma State led 59-33 at the half and breezed to the win behind 20 points from Jeffrey Caroll, plus 18 points and six assists from Phil Forte.

▪ Arkansas shot just 41.4 percent and made just five of 18 three-point shots. Oklahoma State shot 50 percent from the floor.

▪ Georgia, which plays at Kentucky on Tuesday night, overcame a 32-23 halftime deficit to edge the Longhorns in Athens. Yante Maten score 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Bulldogs in the win. J.J. Frazier scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half.

▪ Luke Kornet scored 21 points as Vanderbilt rallied from an 11-point first half deficit to beat Iowa State. Vanderbilt shot 59.3 percent in the second half and got a big boost from Nolan Cressler, who scored 20 points.

▪ Monte Morris scored 25 points for Iowa State, but the visitors shot just 12 free throws, making nine. Vanderbilt was 21 of 26 from the free throw line for 80.8 percent.

▪ Austin Wiley is starting to come on for Auburn. The freshman center, who joined the Tigers after the season had started, scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the win over TCU. Wiley was 11 of 13 from the floor and topped his previous career-high of 19 points against Alabama.

▪ Auburn, which had a season-high 23 assists against TCU, has won four of its past six games. The two losses were at South Carolina and at Kentucky.

SEC men’s basketball standings







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SEC men’s basketball midweek schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 31

  • 7:00 - Mississippi State at Ole Miss (SEC)
  • 9:00 - Tennessee at Auburn (SEC)
  • 9:00 - Georgia at Kentucky (ESPN)
  • 9:00 - Vanderbilt at Texas A&M (ESPNU)

Wednesday, Feb. 1

  • 7:00 - Alabama at Arkansas (SEC)
  • 9:00 - South Carolina at LSU (SEC)

Thursday, Feb. 2

  • 7:00 - Missouri at Florida (ESPN2)
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