Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Sports

Missouri advances to meet Florida Gators in SEC

ATLANTA — Missouri had to advance in the SEC tournament to have any hope of landing an NCAA Tournament bid.

Now, the Tigers have a chance to really pad their resume.

Jabari Brown scored 26, Earnest Ross added 24 and Missouri held off Texas A&M 91-83 in double overtime Thursday in the second round.

Next up: top-ranked Florida in the quarterfinals today.

"This is a good chance to showcase what we do," Ross said. "We want to leave it all on the court."

The Tigers (22-10) had quite a tussle against Texas A&M. The Aggies (17-15) rallied from nine down in the second half and forced another extra period when little-used senior Blake McDonald made a steal under the basket and flipped to Alex Caruso for the tying layup with eight seconds left in the first OT.

"We knew they weren't going to roll over," Brown said. "We knew we had to play hard for 40 minutes, and actually it took 50."

Missouri twice failed to get off a shot with chances to win the game in the closing seconds. But The Tigers finally wore down the Aggies, who had lost at Missouri 57-56 eight days earlier.

Brown and fellow guard Jordan Clarkson fouled out, but Johnathan Williams had four points and two of his game-high 15 rebounds in the second OT. Shane Rector, who didn't play through the first 45 minutes, contributed three points and two rebounds.

Caruso led Texas A&M with 28 points, hitting 5 of 9 3-pointers. Jamal Jones added 20 points.

Missouri outrebounded the Aggies 48-28 and was 40-of-53 at the free-throw line.

Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy was disturbed by the disparity in free throws, noting that his team went 20-of-28.

"They shot 53 free throws," he said. "You've got to be kidding me. That's too many."

S. Carolina 71, Ark. 69: The Gamecocks (14-19) likely ended the Razorbacks' chances of making the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas (21-11) got beaten up on the boards and missed three shots in the final 33 seconds.

"In this setting, you've got to be on point," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "We had some mishaps down the stretch. If you're going to be a good team at this time of year, you've got to eliminate those plays."

Sindarius Thornwell scored 17 to lead the Gamecocks.

"Survive and advance," coach Frank Martin said. "That's all you're geared up to do this time of year."

Martin, who was suspended during the regular season after he berated one of his players with an obscenity filled tirade, barely said a word Thursday, watching his team control the lane and do a mostly solid job of dealing with Arkansas' pressing, trapping defense.

LSU 68, Alabama 56: Shavon Coleman scored 15, all on 3-pointers, and the Tigers (19-12) preserved their slim NCAA hopes. Tim Quarterman had 12 points and Johnny O'Bryant added 11 for LSU, which pulled ahead with a 13-0 run in the first half. The Tigers shot 50 percent from the floor and beyond the arc (11-of-22). LSU likely needs to win the tournament to make the NCAA field. The Tigers have an unimpressive RPI of 74, one spot behind Georgia. Trevor Releford and Shannon Hale both had 11 points to lead Alabama.

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