Game 1: Alabama 68 – South Carolina 63
I picked South Carolina to win this game, but Alabama proved me wrong by coming back after an 18 point deficit in the second half to defeat South Carolina by five points. For much of the first half the game remained close, as late as four minutes left in the half, the score stood at 26-24 in the Gamecock’s favor, but by half-time, South Carolina had extended its lead to 38-27. With 11:40 to go in the second half, South Carolina obtained an 18 point lead over Alabama, before the Tide began to chip away at the Cock’s lead. With 2:07 left in the game, Alabama took the lead, 60-59, off a lay-up by Tony Mitchell From that point, the momentum shifted in the Tide’s favor and they won the game 68-63. Now they will face Kentucky in the second round quarter-final.
Mikhal Torrence led Alabama scorers with 17, followed by Justin Knox with 16, and JaMychel Green with 10. Knox and Green had seven rebounds each, followed by Chris Hines with five. Devan Downey led the South Carolina scoring attack with 21, followed by Ramon Galloway with 14, and Sam Muldrow with 13. Lakeem Jackson led in rebounding with 14, followed by Downey with 8. Devan and Galloway each had two steals.
Game 2: Tennessee 59 – LSU 49
I picked Tennessee to win this game, which it did, but not in the way I expected. Depending on how you looked at it, the first half was either a defensive battle, or a poor offensive display. With five minutes left in the first half, LSU obtained its widest margin, 17-10, over Tennessee. After a Tennessee timeout, the Vols came back and tied the score at 21-21 one second before the end of the half off a Wayne Chism free-throw. It seemed to be a repeat of the first for the first five minutes of the second half, when Tennessee broke a 30-30 tie to go ahead for good. With 6:23 left in the game, a dunk by J.P. Prince put Tennessee ahead by 12 points, its biggest lead of the game. Although a three-pointer by Tasmin Mitchell brought LSU to within five points, 49-54, with 1:03 left to play, Tennessee ultimately won by ten points, largely from the nearly perfect free-throw shooting by Bobby Maze in the final seconds of the game.
Wayne Chism led Tennessee with 17 points, followed by Bobby Maze with 14, and J.P. prince with 11. Brian Williams led the Vols in rebounding with 14, followed by Chism’s 11. Storm Warren led LSU with 18 points, followed by Tasmin Mitchell, who scored 10. Mitchell led in rebounding with eight, followed by Warren with six.
Game 3: Florida 78 – Auburn 69
I picked Florida to win this game. With less than two minutes expired in the first half, Auburn briefly enjoyed a three point lead, 5-3, following a three pointer by Frankie Sullivan. Chandler Parsons scored three at 17:04 left in the half to put the Gators ahead for good. With 9:38 left, Florida established a 14 point lead after an Alex Tyus dunk. The half ended in Florida’s favor, 40-31. After four minutes into the second half, Frankie Sullivan dropped a free throw which put the Tigers to within one point of the Gators, 39-40. Florida came back and with less than eight minutes left in the game climbed back to a 13 point lead, 47-60. Although Auburn would get back within five points at times, Florida maintained its lead, thanks to clutch foul shooting by Dan Werner and Erving Walker in the final seconds.
Alex Tyus led Florida with 24 points, followed by Chandler Parson’s 21, and Vernon Maklin’s 10. Erving Walker and Dan Werner each had seven rebounds; Parsons had 6 and Tyus had 5. Frankie Sullivan scored 25 points for Auburn, followed by DeWayne Reed with 18, and Lucas Hargrove with 11. Hargrove led Auburn in rebounding with nine.
Game 4: Georgia 77 – Arkansas 64
I picked Georgia to win this game. Although Arkansas scored first on a dunk by Michael Washington in the opening seconds, Georgia opened up a 10 point lead with over twelve minutes left in the first half. The first half ended with the Bulldogs leading by the score of 40-32. In the second half, the Razorbacks closed the gap to three points, 52-49, following two free throws by Michael Washington with 10:22 left in the game. With the score at 67-61 and 4:48 left to play, Georgia scored 10 unanswered points, gaining a 16 point lead with less than a minute to play. Three Razorback free throws resulted in a final score of 77-64, sending the Bulldogs to play the Commodores in the quarter-finals.
Trey Thompkins led Georgia with 23 points, followed by Travis Leslie with 21 points, and Dustin Ware and Rickey McPhee each with 10 points. Thompkins also had 14 rebounds for the Dogs. Michael Washington led Arkansas with 20 points, followed by Courtney Fortson with 16 points, and Marshall Powell 10. Powell also led the Razorbacks with six rebounds.
ESPN, Alabama Crimson Tide, ESPN Men’s College Basketball Website
ESPN, Florida Gators, ESPN Men’s College Basketball Website
ESPN, Georgia Bulldogs, ESPN Men’s College Basketball Website
ESPN, Tennessee Volunteers, ESPN Men’s College Basketball Website