Eleven SEC teams got one final basketball game in before Christmas on Saturday afternoon and evening, and the conference went 9-2, with most of the wins coming against some really good competition.
How did your favorite team fare? Let’s take a look!
(3) Tennessee 83, Wake Forest 64
This really wasn’t a shock, as Tennessee (likely the #2 team in the country now after Kansas’ loss at Arizona State) hosted a Wake Forest team that has lost to Houston Baptist and Richmond this season.
Grant Williams had a double-double in the victory, scoring 22 points and hauling in ten rebounds. Kyle Alexander had a career-high 19 points on 9-10 shooting. The Vols only trailed for 25 seconds of this game.
(19) Kentucky 80, (9) North Carolina 72
Remember when everyone insisted Kentucky was bad this year? Well... surprise!
Keldon Johnson and PJ Washington were the stars of the game for the Wildcats, as Johnson had 22 points and Washington nearly recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists. The Wildcats look good heading into conference play, as they generally do.
(7) Auburn 93, Murray State 88
This game turned into a real blast, as the Racers had the Tigers on the ropes in the second half before Auburn roared back in a big way. Samir Doughty had a season-high 20 points while Austin Wiley (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Jared Harper (12 points, 10 assists) both had double-doubles for the Tigers who head into the Christmas break at 10-2.
Georgia 70, Georgia Tech 59
We’ve reached the rivalry game portion of this recap, as a pair of SEC teams picked up rivalry game victories. We begin with Tom Crean’s Georgia Bulldogs, who picked up their fourth straight win over the Yellow Jackets.
Nicolas Claxton did it all for Georgia, leading the Bulldogs in scoring (13), rebounding (13) and assists (six). The Bulldogs built a big lead early in the game and never relented.
Missouri 79, Illinois 63
Braggin’ Rights are finally back with the Tigers. After five straight years of Illinois victories, Jordan Geist and (former Illinois commit) Jeremiah Tilmon stepped up and led Mizzou to a victory. Geist had a team-high 20 points and Tilmon grabbed 12 rebounds to go along with 16 points for his fourth double-double of the year.
Florida 77, Florida Gulf Coast 55
This isn’t really a rivalry but they’re both in-state so we can put it in the rivalry section. The Gators really never gave the Eagles a chance in this one, leading the entire way.
Noah Locke led all scorers with 15 points.
Texas A&M 92, Marshall 68
This is actually more impressive than an average blowout because Marshall’s offense under former NBA assistant Dan D’Antoni is generally able to score more than 68 points in a game. It was an impressive display on defense for the Aggies who held Marshall’s leading scorer Jon Elmore to just six points.
(17) Mississippi State 67, Wright State 63
Ben Howland’s bunch narrowly avoided an upset, as a 14 point second half lead dissipated to four points by the end, but they survived and advanced and sit at 11-1 going into Christmas with a nonconference game against BYU on the horizon before SEC play starts next week.
Arkansas 73, Texas State 70
Arkansas, you just lost to Georgia Tech and had a 10 point lead with three minutes to go in this game, what are you doing struggling with Texas State? Daniel Gafford had 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Clemson 78, South Carolina 68
Remember when South Carolina made the Final Four? Those were the days. The Gamecocks have lost four straight games and are 4-7 on the year, and fans are starting to get mad at Frank Martin.
Five Tigers scored in double-digits, and South Carolina trailed for the whole second half.
Kansas State 69, Vanderbilt 58
The Commodores had to go to Kansas City to face a talented Kansas State team and lost to fall to 7-3 on the year. There’s no shame in that. The ‘Dores likely have some work to do in SEC play if they want to make the NCAA Tournament, but overall they’re fine.