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A Good Night (Mostly) For SEC Hoops Teams

The SEC went 3-1 in basketball action last night — or was that 3-2? — and looked pretty good in doing so.  Here’s a quick wrap:

Florida 91, North Florida 55

The 7th-ranked Gators bounced back from a loss at Ohio State with a romp over tiny North Florida last night.  Kenny Boynton scored 20 and Erving Walker added 17.

Billy Donovan’s team had the Ospreys on the ropes from the outset.  UF held a double-digit lead just eight minutes into the game and never looked back. 

“I think that says a lot about our focus,” Boynton said.  “We got in (Wednesday) morning (from Columbus).  Coach preached to us that we’ve got to have a great deal of focus coming into today’s game.  We wanted to come out and not have any excuses.”

One issue that bears watching — Florida has hit just 29 of 50 free throw attempts in its last two contests.

Alabama 62, Maryland 42

The Crimson Tide entered the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tourney looking to help their RPI for March.  Last year, Alabama was kicked across the Caribbean and it cost them come tournament time.

Mission accomplished last night.  Bama’s defense smothered Maryland as the Terrapins shot just 26% from the floor.  Maryland hit on only two of 12 3-point tries.

Alabama also won going away despite early foul trouble for JaMychal Green.  “We are a better team with JaMychal on the floor, but Tony (Mitchell) gave us a great performance throughout the game,” Anthony Grant said after the game.

Mitchell finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Mississippi State 69, Texas A&M 60

Rick Stansbury’s Bulldogs gave Texas A&M a dose of Southern hospitality at the 2K Sports Classic in New York last night.  Following the nine-point upset loss (in which the lead was once 22), the 19th-ranked Aggies might think that SEC basketball will be as tough as SEC football.

MSU came out red hot and dropped 10 of their first 13 shots to run out to a 31-9 lead.  The Dogs wound up hitting five 3-point buckets on the night, too.

“That was a little bit of fool’s gold, making five 3s like that,” Rick Stansbury said.  “Texas A&M is a good basketball team and I knew we weren’t going to maintain that kind of shooting.  But I did like our defense, we were pushing them out and we controlled the flow at both ends.”

Dee Bost poured in 20 for State.  A&M was without all-Big 12 forward Khris Middleton who is injured.

Northwestern 88, LSU 82

The Tigers’ trip to the Palmetto State is turning into a nightmare.  Earlier this week, LSU lost at Coastal Carolina.  Last night, Northwestern topped Trent Johnson’s team in the Charleston Classic.

At least the Tigers showed some fight.  Down 76-67 with five minutes to play, LSU battled back to cut the lead to 83-82 with 47 seconds remaining.  They then gave up a 3-point shot that ended their run and allowed Northwestern to collect the victory.

Freshman Johnny O’Bryant III — one of the top signees in the country last year — led LSU with 21 points and eight rebounds.

It’s a long way to March, but Trent Johnson isn’t doing much to save his job just yet.


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