|Arizona stood slightly taller than Florida in a stunning 65-64 win. (US Presswire)|
SEC scoreboard for Dec. 15
Kentucky 88, Lipscomb 50: Lipscomb (4-5) came to battle early at a nearly-full Rupp Arena, but the superior depth and talent of Kentucky (7-3) was too much to overcome. Led by 23 points and 12 rebounds from F Kyle Wiltjer, the Wildcats had eight players score at least seven points Saturday. They allowed Lipscomb to stay within 10 points for much of the first half, but pulled away with a dominating 45-21 edge in the second half. The Wildcats hit 48.5 percent of their field-goal attempts and were 8 of 21 (38.1 percent) from behind the arc.
Oklahoma 64, Texas A&M 54: These two schools will also meet in football in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 4, but on the hardwood it was the Sooners (7-2) that got the win over the Aggies (7-2) in the All-College Classic, played in Oklahoma City. F Ray Turner (12 points) and G Elston Turner (17 points) supplied much of the offense for the Aggies, but the Sooners won this game with their defense. They forced 19 turnovers and capitalized with 20 points off of them. An 8-0 run by the Sooners midway through the second half helped them pull away.
Virginia Commonwealth 73, Alabama 54: Alabama coach Anthony Grant was hoping for a successful return trip to VCU (7-3), where he was the head coach from 2006-09. Instead, his offense let him down in a lopsided defeat. Alabama (6-3) hit just 39 percent of its field-goal attempts and only made 27.3 percent of its 3-pointer attempts in the defeat. The Tide played the Rams close in the second half (VCU had a 40-36 edge), but a 33-18 halftime deficit put Alabama in a deep hole early in this one.
Iona 81, Georgia 78 (OT): Georgia had plenty of opportunities to win this one. The Bulldogs (2-7) had a chance for a game-winning basket in regulation, but missed a jump shot. They also had a chance to tie it in overtime with three seconds left, but missed a free throw. Missed free throws were the story of overtime for the struggling Bulldogs. Georgia missed 9 of its 15 attempts from the line. Despite 18 points and 10 rebounds from G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the missed chances in overtime were too much for Georgia to overcome Iona (4-4).
Vanderbilt 71, Alabama A&M 46: The Commodores (4-4) got big offensive performances from G Kedren Johnson (19 points), F Rod Odom (17 points) and F Josh Henderson (13 points) in an easy victory over Alabama A&M (2-6). The Commodores led by nine at halftime and then blew the game open in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 40-24 in the final 20 minutes to pick up a third win in their last four contests after losing three of their first four games to begin the season.
Auburn 64, Furman 50: The Tigers found their stroke from 3-point territory, hitting 8 of 17 attempts (47.1 percent) against the Paladins (3-6). Strong play from the backcourt was crucial for Auburn (4-5). Gs Jordan Price (14 points), Chris Denson (17 points) and Frankie Sullivan (11 points) all played well. Price was especially accurate from deep, hitting 80 percent (4 of 5) of his 3-point attempts.
Arkansas 97, Alcorn State 59: Arkansas (5-4) jumped out to a 53-24 halftime lead over the Braves (2-7) and cruised to an easy home victory. The Razorbacks emptied the bench in the second half, allowing 13 different players to log double-digit minutes in this contest. Aided by Alcorn State's 24 turnovers, the Razorbacks got easy buckets all evening. Fs Marshawn Powell (18 points, 7 rebounds) and Coty Clarke (14 points, two blocks) were the top performers for Arkansas.
Loyola-Chicago 59, Mississippi State 51: The Bulldogs made a late charge, but couldn't overcome a 14-point halftime deficit to the Ramblers (7-3). Poor shooting hurt the Bulldogs on the road. They only shot 37.5 percent from the field, 29.4 percent from behind the arc and 62.5 percent from the free-throw line. Playing with only eight healthy players currently on the roster, MSU (3-6) was led in scoring by G Fred Thomas (14 points) and F Roquez Johnson (13 points).
No. 8 Arizona 65, No. 5 Florida 64: All Florida needed to do was protect the ball and hit its free throws and the Gators would've left Arizona (8-0) with a huge road win. They did neither in the final minute. Holding a six-point edge late, Florida (7-1) turned the ball over three times and missed a crucial free throw all in the final minute. Arizona took the lead with seven seconds remaining when G Mark Lyons made a driving layup. The Gators opted not to call a timeout and were unable to get a quality shot off at the end. That last minute negated an otherwise strong road performance from a previously unbeaten Florida team. G Mike Rosario (16 points) and F Erik Murphy (15 points, seven rebounds) each had a strong night in the losing effort.
Star of the day: Kentucky's Wiltjer. The sophomore forward came off the bench for a huge game against Lipscomb. Scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds was impressive, but so was his efficiency on offense. He hit 8 of 12 (66.7 percent) attempts from the field and 7 of 9 (77.8 percent) of his 3-point attempts. He added two assists, a steal and only turned the ball over one time. It was also the first double-double of his career.
(video courtesy of Kentucky Wildcats TV)
Inside the box score -- 3 numbers worth a second look
7 -- That's how many blocks Kentucky C Nerlens Noel had against Lipscomb. The freshman center was all over the court on defense. He added nine rebounds and four steals.
3 -- Florida did a decent job of protecting the ball overall at Arizona (11 turnovers through 59 minutes), but three turnovers in the final minute gave the Wildcats a chance to steal the game.
9 -- That's how many free throws Georgia missed in overtime in its 81-78 loss to Iona. In total, the Bulldogs only made 20 of 37 (54.1 percent) of their free throws in the game.
Saturday's quote of the day: "I don't care whether he made shots, he got 12 rebounds." -- Kentucky coach John Calipari, talking about Wiltjer scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Dec. 16 games:
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