Here’s what has happened in the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament so far:
▪ 1:00 - No. 1 Texas A&M vs. No. 2 Kentucky (ESPN)
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No. 2 Kentucky 93, No. 6 Georgia 80: For the first time this season, UK overcame a halftime deficit to finally win a game. The Cats trailed 49-44 at the break -- Kentucky was 0-3 when trailing at the half this seeason -- but got big efforts from Jamal Murray (26 points on the afternoon), Tyler Ulis (25) and Isaiah Briscoe (12 points, seven rebounds) to reach Sunday’s final. The Cats shot 50 percent. After Georgia shot 61.3 percent the first half, Mark Fox’s team cooled off to 34.6 the second. The Bulldogs finish 19-13. John Calipari made a case that Georgia should be in the NCAA Tourney, but that seems unlikely. Meanwhile, UK plays Texas A&M in Sunday’s final.
No. 1 Texas A&M 71, No. 4 LSU 38: It was an abysmal performance by LSU in its 33-point loss to the Aggies. The Tigers went a stretch of over 14 minutes in the first half without a field goal. LSU shot 20.6 percent for the game, hitting just 13 of 63 shots. Ben Simmons finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, but battled foul trouble and picked up a technical foul for slamming down the basketball in the second half. Texas A&M was very balanced. Tony Trocha-Morales led the way with 13 points. The Aggies are now 26-7 and in the SEC title game on Sunday afternoon.
No. 6 Georgia 65, No. 3 South Carolina 64: Georgia’s J.J. Frazier made one of two free throws with two seconds left to send the Bulldogs into Saturday’s semifinals against Kentucky. With the score tied at 64-64, South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell was called for an offensive foul which sent Frazier to the foul line. The guard finished with 20 points on the night to lead Georgia. Yante Maten scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Thornwell led South Carolina with 23. The Gamecocks finish 24-8 and await word from the NCAA Tournament Selection committee on Sunday.
No. 2 Kentucky 85, No. 10 Alabama 59: Alex Poythress, who had made just two-of-16 three-point shots all season, hit a career high four three-pointers as the Cats rolled over the Crimson Tide. Kentucky shot 54.5 percent from the field, including 13-of-22 from behind the three-point line for 59.1 percent. That’s the most threes UK has made all season. Jamal Murray ran his streak of 20-or-more-points games to 11. He finished with 23. Alabama got 20 points from Arthur Edwards, but saw its season end at 18-14. The Tide is hoping to get an NIT bid. Kentucky will play in Saturday’s second semifinal game.
No. 4 LSU 84, No. 12 Tennessee 75: LSU ended the Vols’ Cinderella run, but it wasn’t easy. Tigers’ star Ben Simmons picked up two quick early fouls in the first half and Tennessee led 33-32 at the half. The Vols were up 57-56 with 6:37 left, but a short time later LSU went on a 10-0 run for a 69-59 lead and held on for the victory. Antonio Blakeney led LSU with 22 points. Simmons finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Tennessee’s season ends at 15-19. LSU will play Texas A&M on Saturday.
No. 1 Texas A&M 72, No. 8 Florida 66: Tied 61-61 with 2:24 left, the Aggies outscored the Gators 12-5 down the stretch to earn a spot in Satuday’s semifinal round. Danuel House and Tyler Davis eached scored 15 points for A&M, who turned the ball over just seven times compared to Florida’s 12 turnovers. Florida got 18 points off the bench from point guard Kasey Hill, but the Gators shot just 38.7 percent. The Aggies shot 39.4. Florida missed 16 of its 19 three-point attempts. The Gators fell to 19-14 on the season. An NCAA Tournament berth is probably not in their future.
No. 8 Florida, 68, No. 9 Arkansas 61: Florida got back to playing defense, ending a season-ending slump to beat the Razorbacks. Dusty Hannahs scored 33 points for Arkansas, but Mike Anderson’s team shot just 36.1 percent from the floor. Hannahs went 12-of-23. The rest of the Razorbacks were 10-of-38 from the floor. Kasey Hill came off the bench to score 18 points for Florida. Hill also had five assists. Playing with a torn thumb ligament, center John Egbunu still had eight points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes. Arkansas finished the season 16-16.
SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket
No. 12 Tennessee 67, No. 5 Vanderbilt 65: The arch-rival Vols knocked Vandy clearly on the NCAA bubble with an upset victory. Down by as many as 15 points in the first half, Vanderbilt rallied to the point where Wade Baldwin IV made a layup at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. Replays showed that Baldwin didn’t get the shot off in time. Detrick Mostella scored 18 points for the Vols. Derek Reese made two free throws with 13.3 seconds left to win it. Vandy center Damian Jones was held to 12 points and just two rebounds as the Commodores dropped to 19-13.
No. 10 Alabama 81, No. 7 Ole Miss 73: With Retin Obasohan limited to just 26 minutes by foul trouble, the Tide got help from his teammates to overcome a terrific performance from the Rebels’ Stefan Moody. Obasohan scored 17 points, but Alabama got 16 from Riley Norris and 15 each from Arthur Edwards and Justin Coleman. Moody made 12 of 27 shots, including eight of 17 three-pointers, on the way to 39 points, but it wasn’t enough. Alabama shot 52.8 percent and Ole Miss dropped to 20-12.
No. 6 Georgia 79, No. 11 Mississippi State 69: J.J. Frazier scored 28 points and Yaten Maten added 20 as Georgia advanced with a win over Ben Howland’s Bulldogs. Four Georgia starters reached double figures as Mark Fox’s team won its fourth straight game. Georgia led by as many as 16 before MSU cut the lead to four with seven minutes remaining. Craig Sword lead State with 19 points, but Howland’s first season in Starkville ended at 14-17.
No. 12 Tennessee 97, No. 13 Auburn 59: Armani Moore made 10 of 13 shots and scored 22 points and Derek Reese grabbed 11 rebounds as Tennessee brought Auburn’s season to a merciful end. Even without its best player in Kevin Punter (right foot surgery), Tennessee jumped to a 44-25 lead at the half, then put up 53 more points in the second half. Tennessee shot a season-best 58.6 percent from the floor to Auburn’s 29.8 percent which drove former UT and current Auburn coach Bruce Pearl to a second-half technical foul. The Tigers finished 11-20, bringing their two-year record under Pearl to 26-41.
Kentucky vs. Texas A&M
When: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
TV: ESPN with Brad Nessler, Dick Vitale and Shannon Spake
Radio: UK Radio Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt