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SEC Tournament Day 1 Recap

Two games down, 11 more to go.

Andy Lyons

Mississippi State 70, South Carolina 59

A good shooting night from the Bulldogs of Starkville propelled them to the first win of the 2013 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament. Mississippi State shot 40% from the field and 28% from three on the season, but they drained 46.9% from the field and 46.7% from downtown to overwhelm the Gamecocks.

The star of the game was MSU's Fred Thomas, who picked a great night to hit his high point mark for his young career. He had 21 points, making 50% of his shots both from behind the arc and from the field as a whole. The frontcourt stepped up too, with all three Bulldog forwards making it to double figures in points. Colin Borchert had 11 and 8, Gavin Ware had 10 and 7, and Roquez Johnson came off the bench to contribute 11 and 8.

Only two Gamecocks made it to double figures in points. Bruce Ellington had 13 to lead the team in scoring, while Laimonas Chatkevicius had 11 in reserve duty. South Carolina only made 37.5% of its shots, including a dismal 19.4% from three.

Mississippi State started strong, building up a 32-21 lead at the half. South Carolina would make some runs in the second half, but it could never quite catch up before MSU extended the lead again. State will go on to play Tennessee in the second round of action.

Texas A&M 71, Auburn 62

It wasn't easy for a lot of the way, but Texas A&M held off a game Auburn squad to secure its first-ever SEC Tournament win.

Four of the five starters for the Aggies made it to double digits. The injured left pinkie didn't hold back Elston Turner too much, as he led all scorers with 22 points. Alex Caruso had 14, Kourtney Robinson had 11, and Fabyon Harris also had 11. Texas A&M also controlled the boards well, hauling in 31 rebounds to Auburn's 21.

For Auburn, a dismal season has finally come to a close. Only Chris Denson managed to hit double digits in points with 15 off the bench, and Asauhn Dixon-Tatum was the only Tiger above five rebounds on the night with six. Auburn was never truly out of the game, as it only trailed by four as late as 32 seconds to go in the game. Turner, Caruso, and Harris combined to make 11 of 12 free throws inside the last 2 minutes to secure victory.

Texas A&M now moves on to play fellow SEC newcomer Missouri in the second round.