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Vanderbilt 79, Texas A&M 68
The Vanderbilt Commodores scored a win in the SEC Tournament opener. Vandy bested A&M 79-68 to advance to the second round, where they will soon play the Florida Gators. Scotty Pippen Jr. was pivotal in the victory. Pippen scored 22 points and went 15-for-15 from the free throw line. Pippen also had six assists, three steals, four rebounds, and just two turnovers in 34 minutes played. DJ Harvey and Maxwell Evans joined him in double figures with 17 and 12 points apiece. Emanuel Miller of A&M had 22 points as well, as the Aggies had four double-figure scorers in the losing effort. Jay Jay Chandler, Hassan Diarra, and Quenton Jackson joined Miller in double figures, with 11, 10, and 10 points respectively. This was only Vanderbilt’s fourth win against a conference opponent all season long, and just the ninth win all year.
Mississippi State 74, Kentucky 73
For the first time since 2012, the Kentucky Wildcats will not be in the NCAA Tournament. Despite overcoming a 14 point halftime deficit, Kentucky was unable to hang on for the victory, as Iverson Molinar hit a pair of free throws with seven seconds left to give the Bulldogs the victory. Molinar led all Bulldogs with 21 in the win. Tolu Smith finished with a double-double for Mississippi State, recording 13 points and 11 rebounds. Kentucky was led by Dontaie Allen’s 23 points.
Florida 69, Vanderbilt 63
The Gators are through to the quarterfinals after their victory over the Commodores. Tre Mann had 22 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in the win, as he was able to do a little bit of everything. Scotty Pippen Jr led Vandy with 23 points, as the ‘Dores were within one with 53 seconds to play, but they just couldn’t get over the hump and pull off the upset. 16 of Mann’s 22 points came in the second half, as he really took the game over for Florida.
Missouri 73, Georgia 70
Mizzou was able to hang on for the win despite not hitting a shot for the final six and a half minutes of the game and saw its 10 point lead dwindle all the way down to one point in the final moments of the game. Xavier Pinson led Mizzou with 17 points, but Dru Smith (16), Kobe Brown (16) and Jeremiah Tilmon (10) also all contributed to the victory. Smith also led Mizzou with eight rebounds. Sahvir Wheeler led Georgia with 14 points.
Ole Miss 76, South Carolina 59
In what may go down as Frank Martin’s final game at South Carolina, the Gamecocks fell to Ole Miss in Thursday’s final game. Jarkel Joiner had 18 points for Ole Miss, but Romello White chipped in 17 and Devontae Shuler tacked on 15. South Carolina shot just 36% from the field, as they struggled throughout the game. Jalyn McCreary led the Gamecocks with 15 points.
Alabama 85, Mississippi State 48
The Tide rolled through their first game on Thursday, as Jahvon Quinerly’s 14 points led the way for the top-seeded team. The game was really never close, as Bama got the lead early and kept it throughout. Iverson Molinar had 18 for the Bulldogs in the loss.
Tennessee 78, Florida 66
The Volunteers took care of business against Florida on Friday behind a well-rounded scoring effort led by Santiago Vescovi’s 14 points. Keon Johnson had 13, and Jaden Springer and Yves Pons each added 11. Tre Mann had a tremendous effort for the Gators, finishing with 30 points.