LSU 68, Georgia 63
LSU ran up a huge lead and tried to give it all away, but the Tigers held on to win against Georgia to pick up an SEC Tournament victory.
LSU jumped out to a 15-6 lead before the under 16 TV timeout, and it pushed its edge out as far as 23 points to the tune of 39-16 after a Johnny O'Bryant III layup with about two minutes to go in the first half. Georgia slowly chipped away at the Tigers' 20-point halftime lead, only getting it down to single digits after a Charles Mann triple with 6:20 to go in the game. The Bulldogs closed furiously with a 12-3 run to get to within three with 28.5 second left, but they couldn't quite finish the deal.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played like the SEC Player of the Year he is, setting a career high with 32 points while adding 13 boards. He had 25 in the second half alone during UGA's impressive comeback attempt. Of course, that comeback had to happen because LSU built up such a huge lead. The main guys doing that damage were Shavon Coleman with 24 and Andre Stringer with 16. O'Bryant had a double-double, with a dozen points and a dozen rebounds.
LSU moves on to play the top-seeded Florida Gators in the next round.
Tennessee 69, Mississippi State 53
Tennessee's March mission got off to a good start as the Vols handily put away Mississippi State in their first SEC Tournament game of 2013. A loss would have put them out of the field of 68 for good, but a win keeps them in the hunt.
The shorthanded MSU team just couldn't handle the deep and rested Volunteers, who got to a double digit lead within the first 10 minutes of the game and never saw it dip below that the rest of the way. It would oscillate between about 10 and 17 as the game went along, but MSU never really threatened.
State's terrific freshman Craig Sword led all scorers with 19, but Fred Thomas, whose career high led the team over South Carolina yesterday, managed just eight points in his follow-up performance. Jordan McRae was the high point man for Tennessee with 17, and fellow backcourt mate Trae Golden had 15. Jarnell Stokes also had 10 and 9 for the Vols.
Tennessee advances to take on Alabama in the next round. Oh yeah, and McRae had a pretty impressive dunk:
Vanderbilt 75, Arkansas 72
Vandy tried pretty hard to give this one away at the end, but the Razorbacks wouldn't take it and fell to the hometown Commodores. Arkansas has only two wins away from home in Mike Anderson's tenure, and both have come against Auburn.
Vandy took control in the middle of the first half, going from a tie game with 13:00 to go to a 14-point lead with 8:18 to go. Arkansas pulled to within eight by halftime, but Vanderbilt would go back to building its lead in the second half. It was looking like Vandy would put it away early, but after a Kyle Fuller three-pointer with 3:03 to go that pushed the lead to nine, the Commodores wouldn't make another field goal in the game. Arkansas scored seven unanswered to get within a bucket, but it couldn't make enough free throws in the final 30 seconds to complete the comeback.
Vandy's Rod Odom managed to lead all scorers with 20 despite going a dismal 3-11 from the free throw line. Kyle Fuller nearly matched him with 19 points off the bench. BJ Young was the high point man for the Razorbacks with 16, while Marshawn Powell nearly got a double-double with 13 and 9.
Vanderbilt will next get the pleasure of playing Kentucky in the following round.
Missouri 62, Texas A&M 50
The Aggies got their SEC Tournament win on Wednesday, but they'd have to settle just for the one as Missouri smothered A&M to take this second round game. The stingy Tiger defense allowed TAMU to shoot just 24.1% from the floor only one night after they shot 45% against Auburn.
Four Tigers reached double digits in a balanced attack, with Alex Oriakhi's 13 points leading the way. He was dominant at times down low, scoring on several easy dunks and grabbing 10 rebounds. Laurence Bowers, Jabari Brown, and Tony Criswell all had 10 points each. Only Faybion Harris of Texas A&M made it to double digits with his 15 points; no one else on the team had more than eight.
Though MU won by a dozen, the final score isn't really indicative of how the game went. Texas A&M hung around a bit in the first half, though the Aggies kind of wilted late as Mizzou ran up a 13-point lead that fell to nine by intermission. Missouri dominated after halftime, pushing its advantage out beyond the 20-point barrier before late sloppiness after the game had been decided let A&M make the score a little prettier.
Missouri will play Ole Miss in the next round.