SEC Tournament 2018: Round 2 Scores, Updated Bracket, Quarterfinal Schedule

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2018

Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., right, is unable to reach an inbound pass as he collides with Georgia's Derek Ogbeide, left, during the first half in an NCAA college basketball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament Thursday, March 8, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The second day of the SEC men's basketball tournament took place Thursday, with teams on the NCAA tournament bubble trying to get their way off and others trying to improve their standing in the eyes of the selection committee.

Alabama was perhaps the team with the most to play for in the second round, with ESPN's Joe Lunardi having the Tide as one of the last four teams in. 

Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. made his first appearance on a game since November following back surgery.

Here is a look at how all the games played out at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

       

Alabama 71, Texas A&M 70

With one furious drive to the basket, Collin Sexton likely punched Alabama's ticket to the NCAA tournament. The freshman guard drove the length of the floor before hitting a floater as time expired, giving the Crimson Tide a 71-70 win over Texas A&M.

Sexton finished with a game-high 27 points and five assists to help the Tide snap a five-game losing streak. He was responsible for Alabama's final six points, all coming in the final minute.

Texas A&M's TJ Starks had knocked down a three-pointer with 4.4 seconds remaining to put the Aggies ahead by one before Sexton broke their hearts. Starks finished with a team-high 23 points for the tournament-bound Aggies. Lunardi has them as a No. 7 seed, and they're in no danger of falling out of the field.

Alabama entered the game having lost five straight, taking them from a tournament lock to firmly on the bubble. A win over top-seeded Auburn in the semifinals would fully lock the Tide into the field of 68 and perhaps take them out of contention for a First Four matchup.

The Tigers defeated their rival by 19 points in their last matchup, but Alabama did get an upset win earlier in the season.

        

Georgia 62, Missouri 60

Suffice it to say this wasn't the result Porter was looking for in his return to the floor.

Yante Maten scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds as Georgia held on for a 62-60 win over Missouri.

Porter, playing in his first game since the opener, had 12 points and eight rebounds but showed obvious signs of rust. He made just five of his 17 shots and missed a three in the final minute that would have put Missouri ahead. Kassius Robertson missed a potential game-winning three on the final possession for the Tigers.

Jontay Porter had 20 points to lead all Mizzou scorers. No Tigers starters were in double figures. They'll now look to make a run as a high seed in the tournament. Lunardi had them as a No. 8 before Thursday's loss.

Teshaun Hightower added 13 points off the bench to round out the double-figure scorers for Georgia. The Bulldogs move on to face fourth-seeded Kentucky and will need to win the conference tournament to make the Big Dance.

Mississippi State 80, LSU 77

LSU gave Mississippi State a scare, but the Bulldogs held steady and rode the contributions of four double-figure scorers to a tight 80-77 win five days after the Tigers throttled them in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Sophomore guard Lamar Peters set the tone with 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from three, while Quinndary Weatherspoon and Nick Weatherspoon dropped 15 points apiece. 

The story differed for the Tigers, who leaned on Tremont Waters to carry the offense. The freshman from New Haven, Connecticut, closed out the contest with 28 points, six assists and four rebounds. 

LSU now appears destined to miss the NCAA tournament for the third season in a row. That said, the Tigers displayed marked improvement under first-year head coach Will Wade a year after they finished 10-21 with Johnny Jones at the helm. 

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are headed for a showdown with the second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers. 

Tennessee won the only regular-season meeting, 76-54, on Feb. 27. 

Arkansas 69, South Carolina 64

There will be no Cinderella story for South Carolina in 2018. 

One year after the Gamecocks made an improbable run to the Final Four, they bowed out of the SEC tournament and watched their dream of an automatic bid fly out the window with a 69-64 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks. 

That said, they did put forth a commendable effort. 

Despite trailing by 15 in the second half, the Gamecocks battled back and cut Arkansas' lead to one with 7:22 to play. 

However, that's as close as they would get. 

Jaylen Barford (17 points) dropped five straight points to put Arkansas back up by seven with 2:52 remaining, and the Razorbacks were able to cling to that lead despite South Carolina's furious comeback attempt. 

Arkansas will return to the floor Friday against the Florida Gators with a berth in the semifinals on the line. The Gators took the last tilt, 88-73, on Jan. 17 in Gainesville, Florida. 

Friday's Quarterfinal Schedule

No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 9 Alabama: 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 12 Georgia: 3 p.m. ET, ESPN

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 7 Mississippi State: 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network

No. 3 Florida vs. No. 6 Arkansas: 9 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Bracket can be viewed at SECSports.com

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