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Big 12 hoops reunion goes Missouri’s way

Big 12 hoops reunion goes Missouri’s way

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 7:00 pm

By The Associated Press
NASHVILLE (AP) — Alex Oriakhi scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds Thursday night as No. 6 seed Missouri defeated cold-shooting No. 11 seed Texas A&M 62-50 in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Texas A&M (18-15) shot a season-low 24.1 percent (14 of 58) in the first SEC tournament confrontation between these two former Big 12 rivals. Missouri (23-9) led from start to finish and earned a quarterfinal matchup with No. 3 seed Mississippi (23-8).
Missouri is seeking its second straight conference tournament title and third in the last five years. The Tigers won the Big 12 tournament in 2009 and 2012. Missouri’s last conference tournament loss came against Texas A&M in the 2011 Big 12 quarterfinals.
Laurence Bowers, Jabari Brown and Tony Criswell had 10 points each as Missouri benefited from the balanced scoring that has sparked the Tigers’ success all season. Missouri is the only major-conference team that has six players with scoring averages in double figures.
Fabyon Harris led Texas A&M with 15 points.
Texas A&M had ranked fourth in the SEC in field-goal percentage (.447) during the regular season, but the Aggies had all kinds of trouble scoring Thursday with star guard Elston Turner playing hurt.
Turner broke the pinkie finger in his left hand March 6 in Texas A&M’s 68-57 loss to LSU and sat out the Aggies’ regular-season finale. Turner returned to action Wednesday and scored 22 points in a 71-62 victory over Auburn, but he wasn’t nearly as effective against Missouri.
The 6-foot-5 senior shot 3 of 17 and scored seven points, only the third time all season he had been held to single digits.
Texas A&M’s shooting woes Thursday started immediately.
The Aggies shot 4-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half, but they made just two of their 16 attempts from inside the arc. Turner delivered a fadeaway jumper and a lay-in off the glass in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game, but Texas A&M wouldn’t convert another two-point basket until 17:10 remained in the game.
Although Texas A&M continued misfiring in the second half, the Aggies stayed within striking distance for a while and only trailed 30-23 after Alex Caruso scored with 17:10 left.
But that’s as close as they would get.
Missouri then went on a 15-3 run to put the game away.  During that spurt, Texas A&M went over seven minutes without a basket.
Vandy 75, Arkansas 72
Kedren Johnson hit all four of his free throws in the final 19.8 seconds, and the 10th-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores upset No. 7 seed Arkansas Thursday night in their first chance at defending their Southeastern Conference tournament championship.
The Commodores (15-16) lost the top six players off that title team with three now playing in the NBA. They will play No. 2 seed Kentucky in the quarterfinals Friday night in a rematch of last year’s championship game.
Arkansas (19-13) lost for the 12th time in 13 games away from Fayetteville including three times on neutral courts. Not even the fans calling the hogs helped it feel enough like home as the Razorbacks last led at 9-7.
Rod Odom led Vanderbilt with 20 points, Kyle Fuller had 19, Johnson finished with 13 and Dai-Jon Parker 11.
LSU 68, Georgia 63
Shavon Coleman scored 24 points, and the LSU Tigers held off Georgia 68-63 Thursday to give first-year coach Johnny Jones a win in his Southeastern Conference tournament debut.
LSU, which started league play by losing its first four games, now has won three of four. The Tigers (19-11) will play No. 13 Florida in the quarterfinals today.
Georgia (15-17) has lost two straight. The Bulldogs trailed by as much as 23 before whittling away LSU’s lead. They used a 12-3 run to pull within 66-63 with 28.5 seconds left. Andre Stringer hit two free throws to finish off the win after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit off the rim from 25 feet away.
Caldwell-Pope had 25 of his career-high 32 points in the second half trying to bring Georgia back. He also had 13 rebounds.
Stringer finished with 16 points for LSU. Johnny O’Bryant III added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Charles Mann had 15 points for Georgia.
Georgia managed to outrebound LSU 48-34, but the Tigers easily outshot the Bulldogs 43.4 percent (23-of-53) to 28.6 percent (16-of-56). The Bulldogs repeatedly missed close looks in the paint as Nemanja Djurisic and John Florveus struggled and combined to go 2-of-14 from the floor.

Published in The Messenger 3.15.13

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