SEC Saturday Recap: drama unfolds from Auburn to Knoxville
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SEC Saturday Recap: Drama unfolds from Auburn to Knoxville

Article written by:Kassidy StumboKassidy Stumbo


Todd Kirkland | Getty Images

Happy Sunday, BBN. I know we’re all bummed about our ‘Cats losing, but there was plenty of other exciting SEC basketball played on Saturday. Let’s talk about it.

No. 13 LSU at No. 24 Tennessee

The No. 24 Tennessee Vols are still unbeaten at home after a 64-50 statement win over the No. 13 LSU Tigers last night. After some major smack talk between the two teams prior to tipoff, Tennessee (13-5) led from start to finish.

Apparently the pre-game drama started when a member of LSU’s staff threw a basketball into the stands. Whatever it was, the Vols didn’t like it. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead just a little over six minutes into the game and never let up from there. Super senior Santiago Vescovi led with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. Uros Plavsic added 12 points and some saucy words after the game. “LSU wanted to win the fight,” Plavsic said. “We wanted to win the basketball game. I think we won both.”

The Tigers managed to get close a few times, but could never quite close the gap entirely. Tari Eason came off the bench to lead the team, ending with 16 points and six rebounds. Brandon Murray and Eric Gaines added 15 and 10, respectively, to the effort, but the Tigers didn’t get much offensive help outside of that. It was LSU’s third straight loss.

Vanderbilt at Florida

After a tough three-game skid earlier this month, the Florida Gators have now won their third straight game with a 61-42 win over Vandy last night in Gainesville. It wasn’t the prettiest, though.

Florida guard Tyree Appleby was the only player on either team to score in the double digits. He came off the bench for 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals. Brandon McKissic added nine while Jason Jitoboh ended just shy of a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds. Florida led just 31-28 at halftime but started the second half with a 12-0 run to steal a little breathing room.

Vandy had an all-systems failure in the second half, scoring just 14 points after the break. They shot a cringe-worthy 13.6% in the second (3 of 22) and missed all nine of their attempts from the 3-point line. Scotty Pippen Jr., the SEC’s leading scorer, ended with just six points. He missed all seven of his shots in the second half. It is the first game since mid-November where he has not scored in double figures. Big yikes.

Florida lost their leading scorer Colin Castleton on Tuesday due to what the team is calling a ‘significant’ shoulder injury suffered in practice. Though the loss is certainly being felt, the Gators are 2-0 since his injury. They will travel to Ole Miss on Monday.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State

The battle for bragging rights of best SEC Men’s Basketball team in the great state of Mississippi has been decided. The Bulldogs beat the Rebels last night 78-60 to move to 13-5 on the season.

Mississippi State’s Iverson Molinar led the Bulldogs with 20 points, enough to push him over 1,000 total career points in Starkville. Molinar, a junior from Panama, also snagged four steals in the effort. Garrison Brooks added 17 points. All five of Mississippi State’s starters scored double-digits and the Bulldogs shot 54.7% overall.

Matthew Murrell led Ole Miss with his 14 points. Jaemyn Brakefield and Nysier Brooks added 13 and 12, respectively. Ole Miss, now 9-9 on the season, has lost four straight games and six of their last seven. They beat Mississippi State earlier this month in Oxford thanks to a 31-point effort from Murrell. The Rebels managed to come within two midway through the second half, but the Bulldogs held tough and scored 15 straight points to extend their lead back to double-digits.

Mississippi State will make the trip to Lexington next to face the ‘Cats on Tuesday.

Missouri at Alabama

After losing three straight and falling out of the top 25, the Alabama Crimson Tide is rolling once again. Last night, they beat Missouri 86-76 at home to move to 13-6 on the season and sixth in the conference.

After some spurts of inconsistency the last few weeks, Bama’s Jaden Shackelford put up an impressive 21-point effort. Jahvon Quinerly added 13 points and nine assists off the bench. The Tide battled all game, overcoming an early 21-7 Mizzou lead in the first half. They finally tied it up with just over five minutes left in the first half, but found themselves down double-digits again midway through the second.

Three of Mizzou’s five starters scored in double-digits, led by 17 from junior Jarron Coleman. He hit five of his nine 3-point attempts. Dajuan Gordon, Javon Pickett and Amari Davis all added 12 apiece, but it wasn’t enough to fend off the determined Tide. The loss marked Mizzou’s fifth in their last seven games.

Texas A&M at Arkansas

Overtime alert! Arkansas managed to pull out a close 76-73 win over Texas A&M last night in extra time, pushing them to 14-5 on the season. After starting conference play off 0-3, the Razorbacks have now won their last four games.

JD Notae led the Razorbacks with his 17 points and six rebounds. Forward Jaylin Williams contributed 14 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, six steals and three blocks–I’m out of breath just typing that. Williams, a sophomore from Fort Smith, Arkansas, is averaging 13.4 points per game over his last five games while shooting 52.3 percent overall. Last night marked his fourth double-double in five games.

The bench was the big story for the Aggies. Wade Taylor IV scored 25 points in just 28 minutes of play. Quenton Jackson added 13 points off the bench as well. None of A&M’s starters scored in double-digits. The Aggies scored the final six points of regulation to tie the game at 64 and snagged the first points of overtime, giving them their first lead of the game. It was short-lived, though, as Arkansas pushed back quickly.

Tough last two games for the Aggies, eh?

Georgia at South Carolina

Georgia continues to be very, very bad. This time, they got steamrolled 83-66 by the Gamecocks in Columbia despite holding a seven-point lead midway through the second half.

Erik Stevenson led the Gamecocks with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists. Keyshawn Bryant added 19 of his own, 12 of which came during a dominant 24-0 run to close the game. Bryant, a senior forward from Florida, promised Gamecock fans his team was going to “figure this out” after going on a three-game losing steak–and he came through.

Braelen Bridges led the Bulldogs with 20 points and five rebounds. Noah Baumann came next with 14 points, followed by 10 from Christian Wright off the bench. Georgia shot 39.1% overall and just 25% from three. The Bulldogs are now 5-14 and sitting comfortably at last in the conference. They have lost their last eight games. Hate that for Tom Crean, don’t you?

No. 12 Kentucky at No. 2 Auburn

Sadly we have to talk about this one too. Our ‘Cats have now dropped their second SEC game of the season after a 80-71 loss at Auburn yesterday afternoon. It was Auburn’s 15th straight win.

Auburn students camped for more than 24 hours for a seat to what some consider was the biggest home game since the arena’s opening in 2010. It was worth it, too.

The ‘Cats jumped out to an early 10-point lead after some quick transition points and smothering defense. TyTy Washington started with a quick four points, but was injured with just over eight minutes left in the first half and did not return. After the game, Coach Cal didn’t have many updates on the star freshman and said he didn’t want to talk hypotheticals on possibly playing without him.

Savhir Wheeler and Kellan Grady led Kentucky with 17 points each. Grady was 4 of 7 on his 3-point attempts. Wheeler left the game for a brief bit in the second half after running into a screen by Auburn’s Walker Kessler. Though he did return, he seemed to be shaken up and went down again in the final minutes of the game.

Oscar Tshiebwe added 16 points, 14 rebounds, two steals and four blocks to the Kentucky effort. Prior to yesterday’s game, it was clear how bad Oscar wanted this win. Though the ‘Cats did not leave Auburn with a win, the big man is confident in his team: “I don’t think they are better than us, in my opinion,” Tshiebwe said. “I think we’re gonna beat them.”

Walker Kessler led Auburn with 19 points. KD Johnson and Jabari Smith added 17 and 14, respectively. The Tigers shot 56.8% overall and 37.5% from three. Auburn shot 29 free throws in the match compared to Kentucky’s 10. They also out-rebounded the ‘Cats, a feat not easily done.

For more on the loss and what it means for the ‘Cats moving forward, check out these top takeaways from our guy Jack Pilgrim.

Oh, and this happened.

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