Tennessee earns another crack at Gators in SEC tourney

The Vols’ Jarnell Stokes, right, maneuvers inside around South Carolina’s Mindaugas Kacinas, left, and Michael Carrera.

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The Vols’ Jarnell Stokes, right, maneuvers inside around South Carolina’s Mindaugas Kacinas, left, and Michael Carrera.

ATLANTA — Forward Jarnell Stokes and the Vols will get one more shot at Florida this season.

Stokes had a game-high 22 points and 15 rebounds to lead Tennessee to a 59-44 victory over South Carolina in Friday's SEC tournament quarterfinals.

The win sets up a third meeting this season between the Gators and Vols, who are looking for a signature win to boost their NCAA Tournament resume.

"We didn't come to Atlanta so guys could win one game," Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said. "That's what I told the guys. That's why we got on the bus."

The Vols (21-11) never trailed, didn't allow South Carolina to get closer than seven points and held the Gamecocks (14-20) to a season-low in points. UT is on a five-game winning streak and has won five of its past seven.

"I think they are playing better than anybody in the league right now," South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.

In the two previous games, Stokes had a combined 36 points and 21 rebounds against the Gators.

"Tennessee's a great team," Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith said. "They're a physical team. They've got great players you've got to account for. They attack the offensive glass, so you've got play through on defense. … We've just got to come out with the right mentality and come out with a lot of energy."

Kentucky 85, LSU 67: The Kentucky players knocked each other around in practice. Then they did the same thing to LSU.

Heeding coach John Calipari's plea to find their "mojo," the Wildcats pulled away from the Tigers to post their most impressive win in nearly two months.

James Young scored 21 and Willie Cauley-Stein led a dominating performance in the middle with six blocks for Kentucky.

The Wildcats (23-9) closed the regular season with three losses in their last four games, prompting Calipari to switch things up at practice.

"We had three days of football," Calipari quipped, "and they responded."

Kentucky took control with a 23-3 run in the first half, withstood a rally by LSU (19-13) and pulled away.

"We've always got a target on our backs," Cauley-Stein said. "When other teams play us, they play like it's their last game. That's the way we have to play."

Cauley-Stein teamed with fellow 7-footer Dakari Johnson to give the Wildcats a presence in the lane that the Tigers could not match. Johnson had nine points, 11 rebounds and three of Kentucky's 11 blocks.

Johnny O'Bryant led LSU with 18 points.

Georgia 75, Ole Miss 73: Charles Mann scored 16 and the Bulldogs (19-12) overcame 26 points from Jarvis Summers of the Rebels (19-14).

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

SEC tournament | Atlanta

First roundSecond roundQuarterfinalsSemifinalsFinalSemifinalsQuarterfinalsSecond roundFirst round
9 Texas A&M 8310 Alabama 56
8 Missouri 497 LSU 67
8 Missouri 91 2OT1 Florida2 Kentucky7 LSU 68
12 Auburn 561 Florida 722 Kentucky 8511 Vanderbilt 68
13 S. Carolina 711 today, Ch. 283:15 Sunday, ESPN3:30 today, Ch. 2814 Miss. St. 66
13 South Carolina 7413 S. Carolina 446 Mississippi 7314 Miss. St. 82
5 Arkansas 694 Tennessee3 Georgia 6 Mississippi 78
4 Tennessee 593 Georgia 75

Tennessee earns another crack at Gators in SEC tourney 03/14/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 15, 2014 12:26am]

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