Sidelines with John Clay

SEC basketball: Texas A&M keeps right on rolling

Texas A&M's Jalen Jones (12) makes a three point gesture over his eye after hitting a three point basket at the buzzer of the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in College Station, Texas.
Texas A&M's Jalen Jones (12) makes a three point gesture over his eye after hitting a three point basket at the buzzer of the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in College Station, Texas. The Associated Press

In addition to Kentucky’s 80-74 win over visiting Mississippi State, here’s a look at what the rest of the SEC did Tuesday:

▪ Texas A&M’s train keeps right on rolling. The Aggies won their seventh straight game and improved to 4-0 in the league by holding off Florida 71-68 in College Station. Jalen Jones scored 26 points and Danuel House added 24 for Billy Kennedy’s club.

Florida pushed the home team to the wire. The Gators tied it up twice in the second half and pulled within a point at 67-66 when Dorrian Finney-Smith hit a three-pointer with 26 seconds left. Chris Chiozza’s bucket with 11 seconds left again cut the lead to one, but the Aggies escaped with the win. Finney-Smith led Florida with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Florida can’t make free throws. The Gators were just four-of-12 from the foul line, the fewest free throws made by an SEC team in any league game so far this season. Texas A&M was 20-of-30 at the line. Considering A&M shot just 36.1 percent from the floor, the foul line was the difference.

It’s the first time that Texas A&M has started with four straight conference wins since 2006-07 in the Big 12. A&M’s coach back then? Why it was Billy Gillispie, who went on to UK the next season and we all know how (unfortunately) that worked out. By the way, except for the games it was forced to forfeit because of paperwork problems, Gillispie’s Ranger College is currently undefeated.

▪ Kentucky’s next opponent, Auburn, was drilled 75-57 by Vanderbilt in Nashville, thanks in large part to Luke Kornet’s triple double.

Kornet, apparently fully back from knee surgery, scored 11 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked 10 shots as Vanderbilt snapped a three-game losing streak. If you did not know, the 7-foot-1 sophomore is the son of former Lexington Catholic star Frank Kornet, who played for C.M. Newton at Vanderbilt.

Wade Baldwin IV scored 17 points and dished 10 assists as Vanderbilt shot 55.3 percent. The Commodores made seven of 13 three-pointers on the way to their first league win. Riley LaChance made three of his four three-point attempts.

Auburn shot just 32.8 percent from the floor. Kareem Canty scored 16 points, but the Tigers made just four of 22 three-pointers. Bruce Pearl’s club averaged just 0.809 points per possession, the lowest by any SEC team in a league game so far this season.

Kentucky is at Auburn for a 4 p.m. game on ESPN this Saturday.

▪ Arkansas mashed Missouri 94-61 in Columbia. It was Missouri’s worst loss in the 11-year history of Mizzou Arena. “I’m embarrassed,” said Mizzou coach Kim Anderson.

Since losing 92-69 to Texas A&M in its SEC opener, the Razorbacks have been on a roll. Arkansas shot 62.7 percent, its highest shooting percenttage in an SEC game in school history. Moses Kingsley scored 24 points and blocked four shots for Mike Anderson’s club. Dusty Hannahs added 20 points. Arkansas was five-of-six from three-point range in the second half. And the visitors’ averaged an eye-popping 1.380 points per possession.

By the way, Kentucky travels to Fayetteville to play the Razorbacks a week from Thursday, Jan. 21. And in its four SEC games, Arkansas’ points per possession have gone from 0.927 to 1.064 to 1.152 to 1.380.

▪ Wednesday night’s best SEC game is Ole Miss at LSU, 9 p.m. on ESPN2. After dropping its league opener at Kentucky, Mississippi has recorded back-to-back home wins over Alabama and Georgia. LSU followed an 18-point win over Kentucky with a six-point loss at Florida. The Rebels and Tigers are each 2-1 in the conference.

No. 19 South Carolina puts its 15-0 overall record and 2-0 conference mark on the line against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, which is surely still celebrating the Crimson Tide’s 45-40 win over Clemson in the national championship game Monday night in Arizona. If Avery Johnson can find the basketball equivalent of Nick Saban’s surprise on-side kick against the Tigers, maybe Bama’s basketball team can pull off the upset.

Tennessee is at Georgia for a 7 p.m. game on the SEC Network. Both teams are coming off tough losses. Tennessee fell 92-88 at home to Texas A&M last Saturday. Georgia lost 72-71 at Ole Miss.

SEC men’s basketball standings

Team

W

L

W

L

Texas A&M

4

0

14

2

South Carolina

2

0

15

0

Kentucky

3

1

13

3

Arkansas

3

1

9

7

Ole Miss

2

1

12

3

LSU

2

1

9

6

Florida

2

2

10

6

Georgia

1

2

8

5

Tennessee

1

2

8

7

Missouri

1

2

8

8

Vanderbilt

1

3

9

7

Auburn

1

3

7

8

Alabama

0

2

9

5

Miss State

0

3

7

8

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