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Cocks Slip Past Dawgs, Vols Blowout Hogs

A great game between the league’s worst teams.  A boring blowout between two SEC teams still hoping/praying for NCAA Tournament life.  Such was the night in basketball across the SEC last evening:

 

South Carolina 57, Georgia 56

Darrin Horn’s team finally got its second SEC win of the season last night with a homecourt, streak-snapping win over Georgia.  The Cocks had lost five in a row before last night’s one-point squeaker.

Malik Cooke — who tallied 13 points — hit the go-ahead basket for Carolina with 19 seconds to play, but the Bulldogs did have a chance to win.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a three-pointer on UGA’s last attempt of the night, allowing USC to escape with a rare victory.

“We really were just tired of losing,” Cooke said after the game.  Georgia’s Mark Fox thought Carolina wanted the game more.  “I have to give South Carolina credit.  I thought they played a little hungrier than we did tonight.”

 

Tennessee 77, Arkansas 58

While USC-UGA was a tight contest, UT-UA was anything but.  The Volunteers used an early 19-0 run to pull away from the Razorbacks — still winless on the road under Mike Anderson — and lock up their fourth win in a row and sixth in eight games.  Arkansas never got closer than 10 points after Tennessee’s early burst.

The defensive-minded Vols have allowed 70 points to an opponent just once in their last 17 contests.  Last night, UT matched its defensive effort on the offensive end as well — six players scored in double-figures, the team shot 56.0% from the floor and 47.8% from 3-point range.

The loss is yet another nail in the coffin of for Arkansas’ slim NCAA hopes.  They fell to 17-9 (5-6) on the season but the lack of a single road win is the true killer.  Tennessee, on the other hand, clings to hope for an a tourney bid, but the squad’s RPI (110 going into last night) needs serious help.  To land an at-large bid, UT almost needs to win at least five of its last six, most definitely needs an RPI-boosting win over Vanderbilt at home, a likely still needs to reach the finals of the SEC Tournament in New Orleans.

Three early-season losses to teams outside the Top 100 RPI — Oakland, College of Charleston, and Austin Peay — are bound like anchors to the Volunteers’ resume… despite the squad’s obvious coalescence under Cuonzo Martin.

 


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