The No. 11 Tennessee Vols continued to act like a superpower as they blasted ECU 105-66. Scotty Hopson once again led the way for the orange, putting in 25 points. Bobby Maze and Tyler Smith contributed 15 and 13 points apiece. Both teams actually shot the ball well; Tennessee hit on 58% of shots while ECU connected on 52.6% of field goals. The difference in the game came from the shots attempted differential: UT attempted 69, while ECU had just 38. How does that work? The Vols forced a stunning 34 turnovers (including 17 steals) while giving it back just 13 times. Rocky Top Talk has some quick thoughts.
Staying in the East, Florida had no trouble shutting down Troy 80-58. Kenny Boynton led the Gators with 23 points, and all five starters had at least five rebounds. Erving Walker had the most complete line of the night with 13 points, six boards, and seven assists. The Gators' defense stole the show again, holding the Trojans to just 35.5% shooting, but they also woke up from three finally, hitting 12 of 32 treys on the night.
Shifting divisions, Ole Miss pulled away in the second half to defeat Kansas State 86-74. The Rebel starters put on quite a show, as Chris Warren had 27 points, Terrico White had 25 points, Eniel Polynice had 13 points, and Murphy Holloway had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Hot shooting carried the day, as the Mississippi boys shot 56% from the field.
Alabama got a win over the Big East with their 84-75 come from behind victory against Providence. The Tide trailed by four at the half, but they pulled away in foul-to-stop-the-clock territory, going from a 76-75 lead with a little over a minute to go to the nine point final margin. Mikhail Torrance hit three critical free throws during that stretch, and he led the team with 26 points overall. Alabama's starting forwards also put up double-doubles, as JaMychal Green had 15 and 12 while Justin Knox put up 13 and 10.
Speaking of nine point wins, Arkansas needed overtime to do it but pulled out an 81-72 win over Appalachian State. Marshawn Powell had a career night, pouring in 29 points on the night. Michael Washington had a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. The Hogs only got two bench points the whole game. Arkansas Expats took a deep breath after the game.
Back East, South Carolina pulled out a 69-66 win over South Florida to reach the finals of the Charleston Classic. The Gamecocks will play Miami tomorrow for the title. The Bulls had an early 10 point lead, but South Carolina took the lead five minutes into the second half and never gave it up (though it was close throughout). Devan Downey led the team with 17 points.
Out on the West Coast, Vanderbilt pulled out a 72-70 win over perennial tournament contender St. Mary's. Three Commodore starters made it into double digits, led by Jeffery Taylor's 19. A.J. Ogilvy didn't have a great night, contributing just two points, but he did lead the team with two blocks and tied for team high with seven rebounds. Vandy's bench also contributed 19 points.
It was another tough night for Auburn as they fell to UCF 84-74. Frankie Sullivan put up 22 points, including a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line, and DeWayne Reed had 15 points and a team-high five assists. The difference in the game can be seen at the line, as Auburn's 11 to 3 advantage from three was nullified by UCF's 31-11 edge in free throws made.