SEC basketball notebook

Three SEC teams are currently ranked in the AP poll with Kentucky leading the way at No. 2 followed by Florida (13) and Vanderbilt (25) enters the poll for the first time since Feb. 21, 2000. In the USA Today/ESPN poll, Kentucky is atop the poll with Florida at No. 13.

SEC Notes

  • With a 79-14 non-conference record this season, the SEC continues its annual success in out-of-conference play just as it has in the last 10 years.
  • SEC teams are 2-4 so far this season against national ranked non-conference opponents.
  • SEC teams own a perfect 63-0 record when leading at the half.
  • Southeastern Conference teams have a 56-6 (.903) record when outrebounding their opponents.
  • Southeastern Conference teams have a 49-3 (.942) record when shooting 45 percent or better from the field.
  • SEC teams have a 59-5 (.922) record at home this season.
  • The SEC leads the nation with 79 wins versus NCAA Division I opponents and ranks second with a 79-14 record, as of December 21.

This Week's Games

December 23 (Tuesday)
Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky [UKTV] 8:00 ET
Tulane at LSU 7:00 CT

December 27 (Saturday)
Mississippi St. vs. Tulane [FoxSN/SUN] 3:30 CT
Eastern Kentucky at Florida [SUN] 5:00 ET
Louisville at Kentucky [CBS] 5:00 ET
Mercer at Alabama [CSS] 6:00 CT
LSU vs. UAB [FoxSN/SUN] 6:00 CT

December 28 (Sunday)
Nicholls State at Ole Miss 2:00 CT

SEC Player of the Week: Kennedy Winston, Alabama

Forward * 6-6 * 205 * So. * Prichard, Alabama
  • Winston scored a career-high 27 points, including the game-winning jumper with 4.5 seconds remaining to lift Alabama past Oregon, 87-86, at the Las Vegas Showdown.
  • The sophomore had 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the first half to lead Bama to a 54-46 lead at the break. Winston finished with a 12-of-17 (.706) shooting effort and five rebounds.
  • He also totaled 20 points in Alabama's 76-72 win over Chattanooga last Tuesday night.
  • He scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half including eight of Alabama's final 10 points over the last 4:15 to hold off a late second half charge from Chattanooga.
  • This marks the first Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honor for Alabama's Kennedy Winston.
  • Winston is the second Crimson Tide player to win SEC Player of the Week honors this season with teammate Earnest Shelton earning the award on December 8, 2003.
  • This also marks the 11th time an Alabama player has received this honor since the 1994-95 season.

Winston's Season Stats

PPG: 16.4
RPG: 5.8
APG: 1.1
BPG: 0.3
SPG: 0.5

Last Week's Results

at Temple 71, South Carolina 61
at Alabama 76, UT-Chattanooga 72 [WVUA#]
Mississippi State 77, New Orleans 59
at LSU 65, Utah 51 [ESPN]
at South Carolina 71, Charleston Southern 36
at Tennessee 99, The Citadel 49 [CSS]
at Arkansas 68, Louisiana Tech 56 [ARSN]
Ole Miss 69, at Evansville 66
at Georgia 65, South Alabama 63 [CSS]
Kentucky 80, Indiana 41 [CBS]
at South Carolina 58, N.C. State 55 [FoxSN/SUN]
at Tennessee 87, Georgia State 71 [CSS]
at Ole Miss 66, Louisiana-Monroe 64
at LSU 65, Southern Miss 50 [CST]
Oklahoma State 73, at Arkansas 58 [ARSN]
Florida 70, West Virginia 57 [SUN]
at Vanderbilt 90, Wofford 59
Alabama 87, Oregon 86 [ESPN2]
Mississippi State 66, at Santa Clara 61
UNLV 82, Auburn 69 [ESPN]

SEC Team-by-Team Notes

The Crimson Tide takes a brief break for the holidays, regrouping for practice on Christmas night after taking a few days off after its 87-86 win against Oregon in the December 21 Las Vegas Showdown. The Tide, 6-2, return to play at home on December 27 when it hosts Mercer. Kennedy Winston scored a career high 27 points, including the game-winning basket with four seconds remaining to lead Alabama's win against Oregon. Earnest Shelton had 16 points for Alabama, Antoine Pettaway had 12 and Emmett Thomas and Chuck Davis had 11 apiece. Alabama led 54-46 at the half, shooting 58 percent in the first half. Earnest Shelton continues to lead Alabama in scoring. The junior from Memphis is averaging 17.0 points after eight games. Shelton averaged only 5.1 points a game his sophomore year. Kennedy Winston scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half including eight of Alabama's final 10 points over the last 4:15 as Alabama was able to hold off a late second half charge from Chattanooga to take a 76-72 victory last Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum.

On Saturday, Eddie Sutton coached his first game in Fayetteville since his last home game as Arkansas' head coach in 1985 and his Oklahoma State squad knocked off the Razorbacks, 73-58. In the OSU game, UA's Jonathon Modica led the team in scoring for the eighth time in eight games with a game-high 23 points on nine of 16 shooting. The Razorbacks drew a crowd of 18,917, UA's largest home crowd since Jan. 26, 2002, when a crowd of 19,182 attended the 94-92 overtime win over No. 5 Florida. Arkansas closes the first semester Monday with a home game against Western Carolina. The Catamounts feature the nation's leading scorer - Kevin Martin (28.0 ppg). Modica led the team in scoring with a game-high 22 points in Wednesday's 68-56 win over Louisiana Tech. He was six of 14 from the field and nine of nine at the line. In last Tuesday's win over Southeast Missouri State, Modica had 20 points and had a season-high eight rebounds. Freshman Ronnie Brewer was 6-of-8 from the field and had 14 points. The Razorbacks have held five of eight opponents to less than 70 points.

Auburn lost at UNLV, 82-69, on Saturday night. The Tigers cut the lead to 72-66 with 2:59 left , but came no closer. Brandon Robinson and Ronny Lemelle had 15 points apiece for Auburn. Nathan Watson added 11. Auburn (7-1) lost for the first time in its first road game of the season. The Tigers were 6-of-15 from 3-point range and 25-of-51 for 49 percent from the field. Auburn lost the rebounding battle, 27-41.UNLV led 39-32 at halftime. Auburn returns home to play host to Georgia State (4-3, 1-1 Atlantic Sun) Dec. 22 in its final game before Christmas. The Panthers lost at Tennessee, 87-71, on Saturday. Auburn defeated Georgia State 100-71 last year in Cliff Ellis' 500th Div. I victory. The game will be televised by CSS at 7 pm. The Auburn-Georgia State game is the first of four "Kid's Games" as fans 17 and under are admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket. The next three Tiger home games following the Georgia State game are also slated as "Kid's Games". In its 35th year of play in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, Auburn boasts a 228-82 record (.735) over the past 22 seasons. The Tigers are 315-144 (.686) since their first season in the Coliseum in 1968-69. Only five times in the 35-year history of the arena has AU experienced a losing home record. The Tigers are 6-0 at home this season. Ian Young has made 18-of-33 (.545) of his 3-pointers in the last seven games.

The University of Florida rallied from a six-point halftime deficit, outscoring West Virginia 41-22 in the second half to win its fifth straight Orange Bowl Classic appearance. For the second straight year Matt Walsh earned MVP honors, scoring a team-high 17 points to go along with eight rebounds, six steals and five assists. Fourteen of Walsh's 17 points came after the break. In two showings at the Orange Bowl Classic, Walsh is a perfect 22-of-22 from the line and is averaging 25.0 per game. Trailing 42-38, the Gators went on a 20-1 run to seize command of the game. Florida out-rebounded West Virginia 40-28 on the night, holding the Mountaineers to just one offensive rebound over the final 20 minutes. Florida has had at least 40 rebounds in each of its first eight games this season and are out-rebounding the opposition by 9.5 boards per game. Christian Drejer and David Lee added 15 points apiece, giving the Gators at least three double figure scorers in four games this season. The Gators are holding opponents to 36.7 from the floor and have yet to allow an opponent to shoot 50 percent.

Georgia concludes its pre-Christmas schedule Monday night against Charleston Southern. The Bulldogs wind up their non-conference slate against a pair of Top 20 teams: Dec. 30 at No. 18 Pittsburgh and Jan. 3 at home against No. 5 Georgia Tech. In his most recent game, a 65-63 win over South Alabama, Rashad Wright never came out of the contest, a first in his 3-plus seasons. He'd played 44 minutes in Georgia's overtime loss at Gonzaga this season, but never before had he played an entire game. Also against South Alabama, senior Chris Daniels got a career-best 16 rebounds and also picked up his fifth double-double in eight games thus far. It was also the 14th of his career. Wright needs nine assists to pass G.G. Smith and move into 2nd place on Georgia's career assist list. His current total of 432 is also 34 short of all-time leader Litterial Green. Freshman Steve Newman is averaging 10.0 points over his past three games after averaging just 4.2 in the first five contests of the season. Wright made his only shot from the field on a jumper with just 15 seconds remaining to lift Georgia over the South Alabama 65-63 on Thursday night at Stegeman Coliseum. Damien Wilkins led the Bulldogs with 16 points and five steals

The Wildcats have now won 26-consecutive regular-season contests and 13-straight home games. At 6-0, UK are off to their best start since the 1992-93 Final Four club opened 11-0. Through six games (240 minutes), the Cats have trailed for only 67 seconds (12 vs. Winthrop, 55 vs. Marshall). UK has yet to trail in the first three installments (vs. UCLA, Michigan State and Indiana) of its five-game, Super Saturday non-conference schedule. Kentucky has appeared in 49 consecutive AP polls, the fourth-longest current streak in the nation. The last time UK wasn't ranked was Feb. 6, 2001. The 41 points UK held Indiana to were the fewest by a Cat opponent since an 86-41 win over UNC Asheville during the 1999-2000 season. It was the fewest scored by IU in any game since the 1984-85 season. Junior Chuck Hayes recorded his ninth career double-double (third of the season) with a career-high 22 points and 10 rebounds versus Indiana. Hayes has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in each of the Cats' last five games. Senior point guard Cliff Hawkins continues to get it done on both ends of the court, as evidenced by him leading the SEC in both assists (6.8 apg) and steals (3.0 spg). Four of UK's five starters are shooting over 73 percent from the free throw line.

LSU (6-0), remains one of 17 unbeaten teams in Division I with wins last week against Utah (65-51) and Southern Miss (65-50). It marked the first time since the first two games of John Brady's coaching career at LSU (Nov. 1997) that the Tigers held back-to-back opponents to no more than 51 points. Jaime Lloreda had 16 points and eight boards against Utah, Brandon Bass 15 pts and Darrel Mitchell 13, while Lloreda had his third double double of the season against Southern Miss with 15 points and 16 boards. Bass also had 15 against USM, the first of four straight Conference USA teams that LSU will face. The Tigers are back to action Tuesday night against Tulane, the first time the Green Wave has come back to Baton Rouge for a basketball game since the 1982 first round NIT game. This will be the 100th meeting of the two teams in Baton Rouge with LSU having 66 wins. LSU has a 52-game non-conference regular season building winning streak. Saturday in the Nokia Sugar Bowl Classic. LSU will play UAB at 6 p.m. LSU is 4-1 in this present renewal as the host team for the annual doubleheader in the New Orleans Arena.

Aaron Harper had 19 points and Ole Miss held off a last-minute charge to defeat Louisiana-Monroe 66-64 on Saturday. Justin Johnson had 14 points and Tommie Eddie added 10 as the Rebels (4-3) watched a nine-point lead disappear in the final 35 seconds. The Indians (3-8), trailing 62-53, nailed three consecutive 3-point shots, the last with 3 seconds remaining to pull to 65-64. Johnson hit the second of two bonus free throws to make it it 66-64. A potential game-winning shot from half court bounced off the front of the rim. Justin Reed finished with only seven points. It marked the first time since his freshman season that Reed was held to single figures in consecutive games. He scored six against Evansville on Wednesday. Ole Miss trailed 25-30 at halftime, but regained the lead for good 45-40, capping a 10-0 run, with 11:38 left. Harper highlighted the comeback with a pair of three-point shots, as the Rebels opened 4-of-7 from 3-point range in the second half. The Rebels built their biggest lead, 62-53 with 48 seconds remaining, on a pair of free throws by Todd Abernathy. Ole Mis leads the series against Louisiana-Monroe 9-4. Ole Miss host Jacksonville State and Nicholls State this week on Monday and Sunday, respectively.

MSU takes on Tulane this Saturday at the New Orleans Arena in the Nokia Sugar Bowl Basketball Classic. State claimed a 54-45 win over fifth-ranked Oklahoma during last year's Sugar Bowl Classic. The Bulldogs own a 9-4 all-time composite record during Sugar Bowl Classic competition through the years. This season marks the third consecutive year that MSU will have played at the New Orleans Arena, having previously defeated Oklahoma last year and posting a 77-66 win over Tulane two seasons ago. MSU has prevailed in all four head-to-head meetings since Tulane left the SEC following the 1965-66 season. Last Saturday's 66-61 win at Santa Clara marked MSU's ninth consecutive victory on the home floor of a non-SEC opponent in a streak that dates back to the 2000-01 season. MSU's 9-0 start this year marks the team's best record to open a season since the 2001-02 Bulldogs went 11-0 en route to setting a new season school record with 27 wins. Senior guard Timmy Bowers needs only four more points to become the 26th member of Mississippi State's 1,000-point club. Lawrence Roberts leads the SEC with seven double-doubles. He now has 29 career double-doubles in 65 games.

USC is 7-3 in their last 10 games against ACC teams. Last year, the Gamecocks were 1-4 in games decided by six points or less. So far this season, USC is 2-0 with wins over Richmond and NC State. This marks the fourth time that Dave Odom has reached 10 wins in the first 11 games in his career. Under Coach Dave Odom, USC is 12-0 against other schools from the state of South Carolina. This season at least three players have scored in double figures in every game. Last season, USC only had four games where they failed to have three players reach double figures. All four of those games, Carolina loss. With a win against S.C. State the Gamecocks can tie the longest home winning streak in the Colonial Center. The Gamecocks won seven straight last year in the opening year. Currently, the Gamecocks have won six in a row at the Colonial Center. Carlos Powell has scored in double figures in all 11 games this season and has a string of 12 straight double digit scoring games. In games that Powell scores in double digits this season, the Gamecocks are 10-1. The Gamecocks are 27-13 in those games over his career.

The Vols will host in-state rival Tennessee Tech at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 22. The game will be UT's last before taking an eight-day break for the holidays. UT posted an 87-71 win over Georgia State Saturday. The Vols set a school record with its 90.6 (29-of-32) shooting at the free throw line in the win. The Tennessee Tech contest is the third of four consecutive home games for the Vols over a 13-day period. Tennessee has shot 52 free throws (44-of-52 for 84.6 percent) over the last two games while its opponents have attempted just 13 (10-of-13 for 76.9 percent). Scooter McFadgon and Brandon Crump have given the Vols a quality inside-out combination this year. McFadgon is averaging 17.8 points while Crump is contributing 15.8 points and 7.8 rebounds. Point guard C.J. Watson is averaging 12.0 points and 6.5 assists. All of Tennessee's games have been decided by at least 10 points this season. The Vols' closest game to date was an 81-70 win over Wofford in the season opener. C.J. Watson needs just one assist for 200 in his career. He has 199 assists in 35 career games. The Vols have outshot their opponents at the free throw line 175-84 in the first six games. UT has made more free throws (129) than its opponents have attempted (84).

Matt Freije scored a game-high 24 points while Dawid Przybyszewski had 14 points and six rebounds and Jason Holwerda added 10 points and seven assists as Vanderbilt defeated Wofford, 90-59, Saturday, Dec. 20. At 8-0, Vanderbilt is off to its best start since the 1999-2000 season and is perfect through eight games for the seventh time in school history. The Commodore bench has outscored the opponents' reserves in every game this season by an average of 14.9 points. Vanderbilt is averaging a school-record 20.9 assists. The assists record entering the season was 17.2 per game during the 1993-94 campaign. The Commodores tied a single-game school record dishing out 29 assists against Tennessee Tech (12/13). VU then proceeded to hand out 22 assists against Wofford (12/20). Vanderbilt has out-rebounded all eight opponents by an average of 13.6 rebounds. Vanderbilt is averaging 43.1 rebounds a game, the most since the 1972-73 team (46.6 rpg). The Commodores play host to Appalachian State, Monday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. CT, in their final game before the holiday season.The Commodores have outscored the opposition by an average of 21.4 points per contest.

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