The SEC East fared better than the West on the second day of the SEC men’s basketball tournament, as Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Missouri all notched wins and the right to advance to the next round. LSU was the lone team from the West to stay alive.
LSU 68, Georgia 63
If you only looked at the halftime score from this game, you’d be amazed at how close the final score was. The Dawgs, down 39-19 heading into the locker rooms, had only one first half lead (and it lasted approximately 20 seconds) and trailed by as many as 23 points.
Georgia closed the gap in the second half, though, and went on a 12-3 run, which pulled them within three points of the Tigers with about half a minute remaining in the game. The score was still 66-63 with as few as seven seconds left, but LSU hit a couple of key free throws to extend their lead just enough.
Shavon Coleman had 24 points, six rebounds, two steals, and a block to lead the Tigers. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Bulldogs with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and an assist. LSU outshot UGA 43.4 percent to 28.6 percent, but the Dawgs outrebounded the Tigers 48-34.
Georgia finishes the season 15-17 overall and 9-9 in regular season SEC play. LSU is now 19-11 overall and was also .500 in conference play. They’ll face off against No. 13 Florida (24-6, 14-4) Friday at 1 ET. The game will be televised on ESPNU/WatchESPN.
Tennessee 69, Mississippi State 53
Fresh off their first round defeat of South Carolina, the Bulldogs couldn’t keep their season alive against the superior Vols. MSU took a 4-0 lead, but it quickly disappeared as UT went on a 12-0 run. The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 19 points and by halftime, they were down 35-19 and the Volunteers were clearly in control of the game.
Things got better for Mississippi State in the second half, as they found some fight and Tennessee seemed content to rest on their lead. The Bulldogs came with nine points with under five minutes left in the game, but the Vols didn’t let them get any closer. UT’s Jordan McRae even got fancy at the end, doing a 360 spin and dunk move.
Craig Sword had 19 points, three rebounds, two assists, and four steals to lead the Bulldogs. Jarnell Stokes led the Vols with 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and three steals. MSU was outshot 51.8 percent to 34.5 percent and outrebounded 34-32.
Mississippi State finishes the season 10-22 overall and 4-14 in regular season SEC play. Tennessee improves to 20-11 overall and went 11-7 in conference play. They’ll take on Alabama (20-11, 12-6) Friday at 3 ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU/WatchESPN.
Vanderbilt 75, Arkansas 72
It was closer than either team would have liked, but the Commodores did just enough against the Razorbacks to keep their season alive. The teams were pretty even on the score sheet for the first quarter of the game, but Vandy started to pull away midway through the first half, and led by as many as 14 points before taking a 38-30 lead into the locker room.
The Hogs never held a lead in the second half, and they went on multiple scoreless stretches of more than two minutes, but they managed to pull within two points with as few as 20 seconds remaining. The game essentially came down to free throws, which Arkansas couldn’t make, but the ‘Dores could, giving them just enough points for the win.
BJ Young had 16 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a block to lead the Razorbacks. Rod Odom led the Commodores with 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and four blocks. The Hogs outshot Vandy 43.6 percent to 41.1 percent and outrebounded them 37-34.
Arkansas finishes the season 19-13 overall and 10-8 in regular season SEC play. Vanderbilt is now 15-16 overall and went 8-10 in conference play. They’ll square off against Kentucky (21-10, 12-6) Friday at 7 ET. The game will be shown on ESPN3.
Missouri 62, Texas A&M 50
In the battle of SEC newcomers, the Tigers came out on top, sending the Aggies home a day after they beat lowly Auburn in the first round. Texas A&M struggled to make baskets from anywhere in the first half, never had a lead, and they trailed by as many as 13 points. Mizzou led 28-19 at the half, though, so Texas A&M wasn’t totally out of the game.
Things didn’t get any better for the Aggies in the second half, though. Though they were down by only seven early in the period, they had long scoreless stretches, trailed by as many as 21 points, and were down by double digits for almost the entire half. They also allowed the Tigers to go on a 15-3 run that pretty much sealed the deal.
Fabyon Harris had 15 points, four rebounds, an assist, and three steals to lead Texas A&M. Alex Oriakhi led Mizzou with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and a block. The Tigers outshot the Aggies 44.7 percent to 24.1 percent and outrebounded them 40-28.
Texas A&M finishes the season 18-15 overall and 7-11 in regular season SEC play. Missouri improves to 23-9 overall and went 11-7 in conference play. They’ll face off against Ole Miss (23-8, 12-6) Friday at 10 ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.