Vols extend streak by beating Gators
NO. 1 TENNESSEE 73, FLORIDA 61
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Grant Williams scored 16 points as No. 1 Tennessee defeated Florida 73-61 on Saturday to complete a season sweep of the Gators and extend its school-record winning streak to 18 games.
Tennessee (22-1, 10-0 SEC) owns the longest active winning streak of any Division I team. This also marks the biggest winning streak of Rick Barnes’ 32-year head coaching career, surpassing the 17-game string that started Texas’ 2009-10 season.
Florida (12-11, 4-6) has lost three consecutive and four of its last five.
Tennessee entered the day leading the SEC in scoring (86.0) while Florida had the SEC’s top scoring defense (63.4). Tennessee ended up below its scoring average but still won that matchup by shooting 52.8 percent (28 of 53), including 59.3 percent (16 of 27) in the second half.
Admiral Schofield scored 14 points, Jordan Bowden had 13 and Jordan Bone added 10 for Tennessee. Noah Locke scored 17, Jalen Hudson had 15 and KeVaughn Allen added 11 for Florida.
Florida cut Tennessee’s lead to 40-36 with 17:37 left, but Tennessee answered with a 12-2 run that included consecutive three-pointers from Lamonte’ Turner. After Florida scored seven consecutive points to get the margin down to seven, Tennessee responded with a 9-0 run that featured another Turner three-pointer plus two dunks from Schofield.
NO. 5 KENTUCKY 71, MISSISSIPPI STATE 67
STARKVILLE, Miss. — PJ Washington scored 23 points, Keldon Johnson added 13 and No. 5 Kentucky held on to beat Mississippi State.
Kentucky (20-3, 9-1 SEC) has won 10 consecutive games since losing to Alabama in its conference opener on Jan. 5. The Wildcats had to work for this one after an 18-point lead dwindled to one possession with 1:18 left, but the Bulldogs weren’t able to score again.
Mississippi State (16-7, 4-6) led 17-15 midway through the first half, but Tyler Herro nailed a contested three-pointer to give Kentucky the lead. The Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 25-8 over the rest of the first half for a 40-25 halftime advantage.
Lamar Peters led the Bulldogs with 16 points.
NO. 21 LSU 83, AUBURN 78
BATON ROUGE — Tremont Waters had 19 points and 10 assists and No. 21 LSU overcame a sluggish start to beat Auburn 83-78 on Saturday.
Skylar Mays had 20 points for LSU (19-4, 9-1 SEC). While Auburn shot better from deep, Naz Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams helped LSU own the paint, where it outrebounded Auburn 47-34 and outscored it 38-18.
Reid finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, including a reverse, tomahawk dunk late in the second half. Bigby-Williams, an Oregon transfer in his first eligible season at LSU, grabbed 10 rebounds to go with seven points, highlighted by a couple of vicious two-handed dunks.
Jared Harper scored 25 for Auburn (16-7, 5-5).
MISSISSIPPI 80, GEORGIA 64
ATHENS, Ga. — Breein Tyree scored 31 points, his fifth consecutive game with at least 20, and Mississippi beat Georgia, giving the struggling Bulldogs their fourth consecutive loss.
Ole Miss (16-7, 6-4 SEC) leaned heavily on Tyree, who matched his career scoring high. The junior guard reached 20 points, scoring on a drive about seven minutes into the second half, before any teammate was in double figures.
The Rebels have recovered from a four-game losing streak with two consecutive victories.
Rayshaun Hammonds scored 10 points before fouling out with about five minutes remaining for Georgia (10-13, 1-9). The Bulldogs have lost eight of their last nine games.
TEXAS A&M 68, MISSOURI 59
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Wendell Mitchell scored 20 points to help Texas A&M erase a 12-point, second-half deficit and beat Missouri.
TJ Starks scored 15 points, Christian Mekowulu added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Savion Flagg finished with 12 points for the Aggies (9-13, 2-8 SEC).
Javon Pickett led Missouri (11-11, 2-8) with 15 points, and Torrence Watson and Jordan Geist each scored 12. Junior forward Reed Nikko, making his first career start, finished with a season-high eight points.
The Aggies trailed 30-21 at halftime, but Starks sparked a comeback by blowing by defenders and converting drives to the basket. Flagg’s three-pointer in transition gave the Aggies the lead at 46-44 with 7:23 remaining. They pulled away late as Missouri frittered away offensive possessions with 10 second-half turnovers.
ALABAMA 77, VANDERBILT 67
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Riley Norris scored six points in the final 2:13, and Alabama beat Vanderbilt for a second consecutive victory for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama (15-8, 6-4 SEC) started a two-game road swing with its third victory in four games. Kira Lewis Jr. led the Tide with 18 points, Norris finished with 15, and Dazon Ingram had 12.
Vanderbilt (9-14, 0-10) now is mired in the program’s longest skid in 34 years at 11 consecutive losses. Saben Lee led Vanderbilt with 24 points and Simisola Shittu had 11.