SEC: Undermanned Vanderbilt showing lots of heart

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Vanderbilt may lack bodies, but its 64-60 win over Tennessee proves it has lots of heart, writes David Climer of the Tennessean.

Vanderbilt’s Commodores didn’t get the memo about how they are too short on talent and depth to keep winning games in the SEC. The Commodores outlasted Tennessee 64-60 on Wednesday night at Memorial Gym in yet another example of how Kevin Stallings is squeezing just about everything he can get out of a team that is down to seven healthy scholarship players. “Our motto has kind of become ‘outnumbered but not outmanned,’ ” Stallings said. “They believe in each other, and I think they believe in the coaches. It’s kind of fun to watch, sort of ‘the little engine that could.’ ”

Auburn won its third straight game, beating South Carolina 79-74 in Columbia, reports the AP.

Auburn (11-9, 3-6 SEC) led by three at halftime, then made eight of its first nine shots of the second half. Allen Payne’s 3-pointer with 13:20 left put the Tigers ahead 60-44. But the Gamecocks (8-14, 1-8) went on an 18-2 run in five minutes to tie it at 62. Things got bleaker when Denson picked up his fourth foul with 8:05 left. He went to the bench, but didn’t stay long as Harrell picked up his fourth foul less than a minute later. Denson was getting up out of his seat before the coaches pointed at him to go back in. “We both had to stay in the game and make big plays down the stretch,” Denson said.

Texas A&M snapped a losing streak by whipping Mississippi State 72-52, reports Richard Croome of the Bryan-College Station Eagle.

An overtime loss at Mississippi State turned the Texas A&M men’s basketball team’s season upside down for the better part of three weeks. The Aggies are hoping Wednesday’s 72-52 victory over those same Bulldogs will reverse their fortunes after losing five straight and dropping from the top of the Southeastern Conference standings to the lower half.  “I hope so,” A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “We still have the same issues, but we matured some and learned how to deal with adversity and hopefully this was a good lesson to work through your problems and to keep pushing through it and keep your head up, keep competing. “

Bobby Portis led Arkansas to a 65-58 win over Alabama, reports Robbie Neiswanger of the Arkansas News.

Portis almost single-handedly carried the Razorbacks to a 65-58 win against Alabama in front of an announced crowd of 8,015 in Bud Walton Arena. The Little Rock native set the school’s freshman scoring record on what was an otherwise ugly offensive night for the Razorbacks, putting together a 35-point performance. It helped Arkansas snap a two-game losing streak and push Portis into the school’s record books. He topped the freshman mark set by former Razorback Scotty Thurman in the 1992-93 season. Thurman — who is now the basketball program’s director of student athlete development — scored 34 points twice that season.

And if you missed it from Tuesday, Florida beat Missouri 68-58.

Florida got a boost from freshman big man Chris Walker, who finally made his debut after academic issues and a suspension for receiving impermissible benefits kept him out of the first 21 games. Walker threw down a pair of alley-oops to go with two rebounds and two blocks in his first collegiate action. “I’m happy for him that he can now put on a uniform and go out there and play and that all of this stuff is behind him,” Florida head coach Billy Donovan said of Walker.

As LSU prepares for Georgia tonight, Anthony Hickey is embracing his role, writes Randy Rosetta of Nola.com.

But things have been different this season for the lightning-quick 5-foot-11 Kentucky native. Unlike his first two seasons, when Hickey was often a primary scorer and certainly one of the main outside shooting threats for LSU, his role has shifted to more of a floor general. His scoring total is down (11.2 last season, 8.6 right now), he isn’t looking to shoot as often (164 attempts; 100 from 3-point range) and when you watch him closely, it’s clear that Hickey is approaching the game differently when the Tigers have the ball.

Vanderbilt-Tennessee photo by Mark Zaleski/AP

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SEC men’s basketball schedule for Saturday

  • Alabama at Florida 12:00 PM ESPN
  • Kentucky at Mississippi St. 1:30 PM SEC TV
  • South Carolina at Tennessee 3:00 PM ESPNU
  • Arkansas at Vanderbilt 4:00 PM SEC TV
  • Auburn at LSU 4:00 PM SEC TV
  • Missouri at Ole Miss 5:00 PM FSN
  • Texas A&M at Georgia 8:00 PM CSS

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