The Crimson Tide, 3-0, advanced to the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout where it will play Minnesota, 2-0, on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. CT. It's the fourth time Alabama and Minnesota have played one another in a series Alabama leads 3-0. Alabama advanced with a 90-55 opening round win against host Alaska Anchorage on Wednesday night. All 14 of Alabama's players got in that game, important minutes for this team which has eight players who are in their first season of playing for the Tide, including true freshman point guard Ronald Steele. Jermareo Davidson collected his first career double-double in the Alaska win. He had career highs of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Alabama jumped to a 16-0 lead in that game, powered by 62.5% first half field goal shooting. Earnest Shelton led with 18 points, making 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Steele had six assists, and Davidson made 7 of 8 from the field and had four blocks. All five Tide starters are averaging in double digits after three games, led by Chuck Davis' 19.0, 17.0 from Shelton, Kennedy Winston at 14.3, Steele at 10.3 and Davidson at 10.0. Steele is averaging 5.3 assists a game, and Davidson leads with 7.7 rebounds a game.
Unlike the first two games in the Paradise Jam tournament, Arkansas did not have a huge scoring advantage in the second half. Instead, the Razorbacks used a red-hot first half to build a huge lead and held off Eastern Michigan, 82-64, to win the tournament title Monday. The tournament championship is the first for Arkansas since winning the 2000 SEC title. It's the first in-season title since the 1995 club won the Rainbow Classic. In UA's first two wins of the season, the Razorbacks outscored Winthrop 39-19 in the second half on the way to a 72-49 victory and blitzed Troy 44-16 in the second period of an 89-54 victory. Eric Ferguson finished with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Ronnie Brewer had 18 points and six assists, two blocked shots and three steals. Jonathon Modica hit five-of-eight shots and had 14 points. Famutimi had eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals; and Hill had two blocked shots, along with two points and six rebounds, to tie the tournament record of 10. Arkansas opens its home schedule on Saturday with a 2:05 p.m. non-televised contest against Gardner-Webb.
This is the seventh meeting between the Tigers and Bulldogs with Auburn holding a 4-2 series edge. However, Louisiana Tech defeated Auburn 67-66 in the last meeting between the two Dec. 4, 2001. The Tigers hold a 2-1 edge in Auburn and the teams are 1-1 in Beard- Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo is one win away from gaining his 400th overall collegiate victory. He currently has a 399-170 (.701) record in his 19th year coaching and playing in NCAA Division I. The Enola, Pa., native has a 118-63 record in his seventh season as a head coach, 165-82 mark in eight years as an assistant and a 116-25 record as a four-year starter at North Carolina. Freshmen Frank Tolbert, Daniel Hayles and Toney Douglas have made an immediate impact for the Tigers as they combine to average 39.4 points and 15.6 rebounds per game for 46 percent of Auburn's scoring and 46 percent of its rebounding. Douglas tied an Auburn freshman record with 38 points (13-of-22 fgs, 7-of- 13 three-pointers) to go along with 10 rebounds vs. Nicholls State Nov. 24. Freshman Eddie Johnson scored 38 points at Florida Feb. 16, 1974. Douglas made 13-of-22 shots from the field, 7-of-13 from three-point range and 5-of-6 from the foul line. The Jonesboro, Ga., native also had three assists and three steals.
Florida improved to 2-0 with a 90-45 victory over Florida Atlantic. Florida got 34 points on 23 FAU turnovers and held the Owls to just 28.8 percent from the floor. Taurean Green, playing against an FAU team coached by his father Sidney, dished out a team-high eight assists. Matt Walsh connected on 7-of-9 attempts and 4-of-5 three-point attempts for a team-high 21 points. Three other Gators scored in double figures, as David Lee, Chris Richard and Joakim Noah all scored 11 points. Noah had the most interesting line of the night with 11 points and nine rebounds in just 10 minutes of play in his first collegiate outing. Through two games Florida is averaging 85.5 points per game and hitting .400 from three-point range as a team. Florida is limiting its opponents to just 52.0 points per game and has forced 47 turnovers in two games while its opponents have only made 37 field goals. The Gators have also come up with 21 steals in two games, an average of 10.5 per contest after averaging just 6.5 a year ago. Florida returns to play on Saturday night against Providence at the Orange Bowl Classic in Miami, in Billy Donovan's first outing against his alma mater.
Western Kentucky posted a 71-61 victory over Georgia, ruining coach Dennis Felton's first game against his former team. The Bulldogs (0-1) closed to 60-57 with 5 minutes remaining on back-to-back 3-pointers by Sundiata Gaines and Channing Toney. But Western Kentucky (2-0) scored the next seven points to finish off the Bulldogs. Felton coached the Hilltoppers for five years, compiling a 100-54 record and winning the Sun Belt Conference championship each of his last three years. As part of his buyout to replace Jim Harrick at Georgia, Felton agreed to a four-year series with his former school. This was the first game in that deal. Levi Stukes, Georgia's lone returning starter, was plagued by foul trouble, managing five points in 12 minutes while fouling out. The Bulldogs have only seven players on scholarship. Tommy Wainscott, a walk-on, played 14 minutes and scored four points. Gaines, a freshman point guard, paced Georgia with 17 points. Toney, also a freshman, chipped in with 10 points, and yet another freshman, Dave Bliss, grabbed 10 rebounds.
Patrick Sparks got Kentucky started and Shagari Alleyne's dunks finished off Ball State. Sparks scored 20 points and Alleyne added three second-half dunks to lead No. 8 Kentucky to a 73-53 victory over Ball State on Tuesday night. The 7-foot-3 Alleyne, who finished with a career-high 10 points, lifted the Wildcats (2-0) with his second-half play after Kentucky played sluggishly for most of the first 25 minutes in its annual game at U.S. Bank Arena. Ball State (0-1) led twice in the second half. The Cardinals went ahead 35-33 with 17:12 left on a 3-pointer by Peyton Stovall, but Sparks keyed a 12-2 Kentucky run with his third 3-pointer of the game, giving the Wildcats the lead for good. Sparks went 7-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Randolph Morris and Chuck Hayes each added 10 points for Kentucky, while Hayes also had 11 rebounds. Kentucky led by as many as eight points in the first half, but the Wildcats went almost five minutes without a basket and allowed Ball State to pull even at 29-29 by halftime. Kentucky shot 50.9 percent from the field to Ball State's 36.1 percent. The Wildcats have held their opponents under 50 percent shooting from the field in 34-consecutive games. Kentucky has won a nation-leading 61 games over the past three seasons, while losing a nation-low nine. The Wildcats return to action on Friday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. vs. Georgia State in Rupp Arena.
LSU played a strong first half and cruised to a 95-79 win Wednesday night at the Maravich Center over the University of New Orleans Privateers. With the win, the Tigers are now 3-0 on the season, heading into a noon Saturday game at home against West Virginia. All five starters were in double figures led by Mitchell's second career 20-point game as he had four treys in his 20 points effort. Antonio Hudson added 18 points, Glen Davis had 16 for the second time this young season and Tack Minor doubled up with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Hudson's 18 gave him five straight games in double figures dating back to last season, the longest double figure scoring string of his LSU career. LSU has now won 50 consecutive games versus Louisiana competition in the Maravich Center and 56 straight regular season non-conference games at home. The Tigers are now 45-0 in the Brady era, 3-0 this year, when scoring 80 or more points in a game. The Tigers scoring halves of 49 and 46 points give LSU five straight halves this season scoring 40 or more points, starting with the second half of the season opening contest with Tulane.
OLE MISS REBELS
Ole Miss evened its season record at 2-2 with a 91-68 victory over Tennessee Tech Friday in the home opener. Senior forward Tommie Eddie posted career-highs of 24 points, on 8-for-8 shooting, and 4 steals to top the Rebels. Freshman guard Brandon Patterson knocked down 5 three-pointers and finished with 19 points, while junior transfer forward Londrick Nolen tallied 13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Sophomore guard Todd Abernethy notched his third double-digit outing in four games this season, and is currently leading Ole Miss in scoring (11.9) and assists (3.0). The Rebels have won 8 of their last 9 home openers. Ole Miss completed its signing class Tuesday with its seventh signee. The group is being tabbed as one of the nation's best, rated 16th in the nation by Rivals.com and fourth in the latest HoopScoop Online ranking. The Rebels face Spirit Express Friday in an exhibition game, and return to regular-season action Dec. 1 at Arkansas State.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Winsome Frazier kept hitting from the outside, Marcus Campbell dominated the low post and Gary Ervin was content to keep passing. Frazier scored a career-high 30 points to lead the 14th-ranked Bulldogs past pesky Missouri-Kansas City 82-64 Tuesday night. Campbell added a career-best 18 points and Ervin had a career-high 10 assists for the hot-shooting Bulldogs (5-1), who shook off a sluggish start and won their third straight. Mississippi State shot nearly 52 percent (32-of-62), and Frazier surpassed his previous career high of 26 points, set last season in a 105-91 win over Auburn. It came two days after a miserable 5-for-14 game against Nicholls State. Mississippi State blew the game open with a 16-5 run early in the second half, and the Bulldogs led by as many as 24 points. Lawrence Roberts, who had the first triple-double in school history Sunday, finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds while playing with a clear, plastic mask protecting his broken nose. Roberts posted his 40th career double-double (in his 90th career game), which leads the nation among all active NCAA Division I men's basketball players. Tonight's game with UMKC marks MSU's fourth game in six days (Nov. 18-23). The Bulldogs will now have an eight-day break from competition before concluding their current three-game homestand next Thursday (Dec. 2) by playing host to the South Alabama Jaguars.
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Carlos Powell scored 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds as South Carolina beat Winthrop 62-52 on Wednesday night. The Gamecocks (2-0) were down 19-10 before forcing seven straight turnovers to spark a 32-6 run that lasted into the second half. The Eagles (2-2) then went on an 18-2 run after South Carolina point guard Tre Kelley left to get stitches over his left eye after being hit with an elbow. A 3-pointer by Brandon Key and a three-point play by Craig Bradshaw cut Winthrop's deficit to 44-43 with 10 minutes to go. Powell would score the next eight points for South Carolina, but the Eagles stayed close until Tarence Kinsey's 3-pointer with just over five minutes to go gave the Gamecocks a 53-49 lead. Winthrop wouldn't get within a basket for the rest of the game. Kinsey added 15 points for South Carolina. South Carolina shot 45.1 percent (23-for-51) for the game, but was just 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from behind the arc. Winthrop shot 40 percent from the field (20-of-50) and 36.8 percent (7-of-19) on 3-pointers. The Gamecocks have won 27 of their 28 home nonconference games under fourth-year coach Dave Odom. The Gamecocks next host Temple, Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7 ET on CSS.
Texas freshman guard Daniel Gibson scored 19 points and started Texas' run of second-half 3-pointers Wednesday, leading the Longhorns to a 95-70 victory over Tennessee in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational. Texas, which shot 52 percent overall for the game, outscored Tennessee 44-22 in the paint. C.J. Watson had 19 points for Tennessee. The Volunteers had closed to 48-44 on a 3 by Chris Lofton with 17:22 to play when Texas began its 3-point barrage. Scooter McFadgon scored 13 points for Tennessee, which was 8-for-24 on 3s. The Vols won their opening round game over Stanford before falling to 11th-ranked North Carolina 81-94 in the semifinals Tuesday. Freshman Chris Lofton paced the Vols with 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range. Scooter McFadgon added 16 points while C.J. Watson had 14 points and seven assists. Tennessee saw its four-game winning streak in the state of Hawaii come to an end with the loss. UT spent most of Thanksgiving in Maui and arrived back on the mainland Friday afternoon. The Vols host the Wofford Terriers Monday, Nov. 29.
Corey Smith led six Vanderbilt players into double digits with a career-high 21 points as Vanderbilt beat Cal State Northridge 93-75 in the second round of the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational. Dan Cage scored a career-high 14 points and Dawid Przybyszewski scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Mario Moore scored 16 while Shan Foster and Jason Holwerda each added 11 points for Vanderbilt (3-0). Vanderbilt shot 59 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three. The Las Vegas Holiday Invitational is using an experimental three-point distance of 20 feet, 6 inches, which is nine inches further than the NCAA distance, but that has not bothered Vanderbilt. In two games with the experimental distance, Vanderbilt has shot 50 percent, making 27-of-54 three-point attempts. Vanderbilt blew the game open early, sprinting out to a 15-2 lead and extending it to 29-6 midway through the first half. Smith had 13 points at the half and Vanderbilt made 13 of its first 18 shots en route to shooting 69 percent in the first half, including 57 percent from three. Vanderbilt will take on Southern Illinois on Friday. Vanderbilt improved to 46-3 against non-conference opponents at Memorial Gym under Stallings. In its three wins this season, Vanderbilt has not trailed.