The SEC had a disappointing SEC-Big 12 Challenge, going 3-7 this time around.
The Texas A&M Aggies held up in the best matchup of the lot, taking down Iowa State 72-62. Danuel House fueled a 16-4 run over the final 4:08, scoring a dozen of the points and securing the win. House finished with 20 points, while Jalen Jones had a double-double with 13 points and 14 boards.
The Florida Gators came through with their signature win on the season so far, throttling West Virginia and its vaunted press defense 88-71. Hot outside shooting carried the day, with UF connecting on 12 of its 20 three point attempts. Dorian Finney-Smith led the way with 24 points, while KeVaughn Allen dropped in 19. Florida is rounding into shape right now in Mike White's first year on the job, and this was the team's best performance yet.
The final win of the challenge came courtesy of the Arkansas Razorbacks holding off Texas Tech 75-68 in overtime. Dusty Hannahs, Arkansas's Red Raider transfer, led the team through the first half, scoring 21 of his 25 prior to the break. Afterwards, Moses Kingsley took the lead with all of his 17 points coming in the second half and overtime. The win capped a big week for the Hogs, who beat Texas A&M a few days prior.
The LSU Tigers came tantalizingly close to getting the biggest win of the challenge, falling 77-75 to Oklahoma. OU's Buddy Hield held up his end of the superstar matchup, scoring 32 points including seven triples in the second half. Ben Simmons had a good shooting night, making 6-of-7 field goals en route to 14 points. The Sooner defense largely denied him the ball late, though, as he only got off one shot in the last ten minutes. On the deciding possession, LSU understandably focused on denying Hield. That focus allowed Isaiah Cousins to make the game winner with four seconds to go, and Tim Quarterman's subsequent tying attempt got blocked.
The Kentucky Wildcats came up just short in the other marquee game as Kansas won 90-84 in overtime. Tyler Ulis was a warrior, playing all 45 minutes and having 26 points and eight assists to show for it. Wayne Selden, Jr. was the player of the game, though, going 44 minutes and coming up with 33 points. It's nearly impossible to win at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, so going to overtime was almost a win in and of itself. UK's arrow is still pointed upwards right now despite not being able to pull out this one.
A pair of Texas teams gave the SEC its most disappointing results. The Texas Longhorns didn't just beat the Vanderbilt Commodores, but they dominated a first half in which Vandy got just 16 points on the way to a comfortable 72-58 win. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Volunteers suffered a second half collapse and lost at TCU 75-63. The Vols led 41-27 at the half, but they were outscored 48-22 in the second.
The other three games of the challenge fall in the tough-but-understandable loss category. Kansas State shut down Stefan Moody but still only beat the Ole Miss Rebels 69-64. Moody finished with just ten points and couldn't get off a shot after halftime. The Georgia Bulldogs managed to lead Baylor by three at the half, but the superior talent of the Bears won out in an 83-73 victory. Finally the Auburn Tigers did their best to hang in there, but Oklahoma State defeated them 74-63. In all three of these games, the Big 12 team was clearly the better squad on paper but none won in a blowout.
Eight of the ten home teams won, with the Oklahoma teams being the ones to buck the trend. Though the conference as a whole went 3-7, it went 2-2 in the four biggest games. The losses were by two points and in overtime, respectively. That's not too bad.
In conference play, the South Carolina Gamecocks avenged their earlier loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide by winning 78-64 in Columbia. It would've been nice to have Carolina in one of the Challenge games, but canceling out a loss isn't a terrible takeaway from the weekend.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs dominated the first half and played the second about even in a 76-62 victory over the Missouri Tigers. It was MSU's first road win in nearly a year, with the last one also coming at Mizzou.