Heading into the SEC tournament with just a 12-19 record, the South Carolina Gamecocks walked away with an easy 74-56 win over the Auburn Tigers to advance to the second round.
Meanwhile, the Mississippi State Bulldogs ended their 13-game losing streak with a 82-68 win over Vanderbilt thanks to some terrific shooting on a red hot night.
The Gamecocks seemed to have their way with Arkansas, making shot after shot from behind the arc, finishing with 11 of 15 three-pointers made. This hasn't been the season the Gamecocks were hoping for, but a conference tourney win likely means a lot to the team, as it went just 5-13 in the SEC during the regular season.
With the SEC tournament officially underway, let's take a look at the scores from the first day as well as the schedule for Thursday.
South Carolina 74, Auburn 56
The Gamecocks were slow out of the gate, but as the first half continued, they started to heat up, especially from behind the arc, going 7-of-11 from long range. South Carolina ended the half up 38-26 over Auburn, and Brenton Williams and Duane Notice were terrific, combining to go 7-of-9 from downtown with 28 combined points.
Michael Haney from 107.5 The Game made a note about the hot start from Williams, observing that the senior was doing whatever it took to keep his college career alive:
With Auburn down big at halftime and entering the tournament with a 14-15 record, Jon Solomon from the Birmingham News pointed out how much it would cost to buy out Tigers head coach Tony Barbee:
The second half was smooth sailing for the Gamecocks, as they continued to show off their efficiency from behind the arc and got the win. Williams finished the game with 16 points for the Gamecocks, while Auburn center Asauhn Dixon-Tatum finished with eight points and an impressive seven blocks while making six of seven free throws.
But the star of the game had to be Notice. According to the Gamecocks' Twitter account, Notice's 23 points were a career high on 7-of-16 shooting and 4-of-4 from behind the arc, as the freshman was terrific throughout:
At 14-16, the Tigers are going home early with another disappointing season up to this point, and coach Barbee is under a lot of heat in his fourth season with Auburn. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks will get ready to play Arkansas on Thursday, and that will be no easy task, as the Razorbacks enter the game winning six of their last seven, including an overtime win over Kentucky.
Mississippi State 82, Vanderbilt 68
Despite 13 straight losses, the Bulldogs somehow came into the SEC tournament fired up, and it was obvious from the stat.
The first half featured a lot of scoring by both teams from a select few players, with three in double figures and one at nine points at halftime. Despite ranking No. 198 in the country while shooting 43.9 percent from the field, the Bulldogs went 14-of-23 to shoot 60.9 percent in the first half to take the 36-31 lead.
Although the Commodores trailed by five points at the half, Damian Jones and Dai-Jon Parker each had 12 points on a combined 10-of-13 shooting while trying to keep their team in the game with Rod Odom scoring just four points.
The Bulldogs came out hot again in the second half, going on a 10-0 in a hurry. While it looked like Mississippi State could pull away multiple times, the Commodores at least kept it interesting at times with some scoring spurts.
However, the Bulldogs wouldn’t be denied, as they shot lights out going 32-of-54 shooting 59.3 percent from the field.
Despite ranking dead last in the SEC during the regular season, the Bulldogs won their first game since January, winning 82-68. Craig Sword finished with 20 points, six assists and four rebounds while Roquez Johnson had 18 points and five rebounds for the Bulldogs. Odom, Luke Kornet and Jones all scored at least 15 points for Vanderbilt.
The Commodores fall to 15-16 and likely won’t be making much news until next season begins.
Despite the big win, the Bulldogs are still just 14-18 with a 4-15 SEC record. Their season likely won’t last much longer, but they will be playing the Ole Miss rebels in the next round. They beat the 76-72 in their first meeting, but lost 82-63 in the second.
SECDigitalNetwork.com has the latest updated bracket for the SEC tournament following South Carolina's big win.
Day 2 Schedule
|SEC Tournament Game 2 Schedule|
|Time (ET)||Game #||Team 1||Team 2||TV Info|
|Thursday, March 13|
|1 p.m.||Game 3||No. 9 Texas A&M||No. 8 Missouri||SEC TV|
|25 minutes after Game 3||Game 4||No. 13 South Carolina||No. 5 Arkansas||SEC TV|
|7 p.m.||Game 5||No. 10 Alabama||No. 7 LSU||SEC TV|
|25 minutes after Game 5||Game 6||Game 2 Winner||No. 6 Ole Miss||SEC TV|