The quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament largely had the favorites winning, and when it didn't, it provided continuity with the regular season.
In the first game of the day, the Texas A&M Aggies held off the Florida Gators 72-66. The first half was a back-and-forth affair, as the teams took turns with the lead and ended the period with a two-point Aggie margin. It continued that way into the second half until A&M went on a quick 6-0 run leading up to the under 8:00 TV timeout that gave it a measure of control at 59-53.
That control lasted a few minutes until a Kasey Hill three-point play with 2:24 to go tied it back up. The Aggies would get it back between the 2:07 and 1:00 marks with a 7-1 run that was capped with a Danuel House three pointer. TAMU needed all of that 68-62 as UF scored four quick points in the next 30 seconds to draw closer, but free throws from Admon Gilder and Alex Caruso plus a key block from Gilder iced the game.
Tyler Davis led the way for A&M with 15 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks inside. House also scored 15, while Jalen Jones contributed 13. Hill led the Gators with 18 off the bench, while Dorian Finney-Smith and John Egbunu each had 11. Texas A&M advances to the semifinals to play the LSU Tigers, while the Gators will now await their NIT bid.
Speaking of LSU, the Tigers found a way to get past the Tennessee Volunteers 84-75. The game was uneven from the start. The Tigers ran up a decent lead despite Ben Simmons having to sit much of the first half in foul trouble. UT battled back with a 16-6 run over the final five minutes to take a one-point edge into the break. LSU couldn't put the game away until late, when a 10-0 run capped by a Tim Quarterman three pointer at the 3:25 mark gave the Tigers a 69-59 lead and control over the game.
Antonio Blakeney led LSU with 22 points, while Quarterman backed him up with 18 and seven assists. All five Tiger starters made double digits, as Simmons had 15, Josh Gray contributed 11, and Craig Victor put in ten. The Volunteer bench was where the scoring came from on that side, as Robert Hubbs III and Derek Mostella each had 19. LSU is in the quarters, but it'll have to win the whole tournament to get a Big Dance ticket.
In the evening session, the Kentucky Wildcats asserted their dominance by blowing away the Alabama Crimson Tide 85-59. UK started a bit slow and only led at the half by ten, but it pulled away throughout the second half against an overmatched Tide team.
The Wildcats thrived from behind the arc, making 59% of their long distance shots. Jamal Murray had 23 points, including five triples, and Alex Poythress put in 20, including four from deep. Arthur Edwards led Bama with 20 points while Retin Obasohan had 18. Shannon Hale also had eight for the Tide, but no one else had more than four points. Alabama will await its NIT seeding while Kentucky goes on to the semis to face...
...The Georgia Bulldogs, who completed a three-game sweep of the South Carolina Gamecocks with a 65-64 win. Carolina held slim-to-moderate margins the whole game, as UGA didn't get its first lead until a pair of Charles Mann free throws up his team up 60-59 with 3:03 left in the game. J.J. Frazier made the difference in the end, hitting a shot to tie the game at 64 with 26 seconds left and making a free throw with two seconds left to give his team the win.
Frazier was the top dog with 20 points, while Yante Maten registered a double-double with 17 and 12. Sindarius Thornwell's 23 led all scorers, while Laimonas Chatkevicius was the only other Gamecock in double figures with 14. South Carolina is probably still an NCAA Tournament team despite the loss and its other losses down the stretch, but it's no longer a good possibility that the team will get a single digit seed. Georgia goes onto the SEC Tournament semifinals for the third straight year, something only its next opponent can also brag.