SEC Report for Thursday February 20th
Wednesday night in Baton Rouge, Mississippi State got a head start on the proposed NCAA Rule aimed to slow down offenses. Granted, the rule is for the gridiron but it was sporting of the hooping Bulldogs to provide an example of an offense ground in molasses.
Johnny Jones bayou ballers jumped on top of the visiting Bulldogs, 24-4 before sloppy offense allowed State to slice into the bulging deficit. Craig Sword’s layup brought MSU back within nine, 36-27 with just under three minutes remaining in the opening half.
LSU massaged an eleven point halftime lead into a 20 point advantage on Anthony Hickey’s layup with 7:09 to play in the game. Shavon Coleman’s three-pointer at the 1:58 mark ended a five-minute cold snap that featured one made basket, an Andre Stringer three.
Johnny O’Bryant, saddled with two first half fouls that placed him on the pine for the final seven minutes picked up another pair before the 7:30 mark in the second half and finished with just six points.
Five Tigers scored in double figures in the 92-81 win. Jarrell Martin led the way with 20 points on 8-11 shooting. Jordan Mickey was 11-12 from the free throw line as part of a 19-point night. Shavon Coleman added 18 with Stringer chipping in with 14 and Hickey 13. Sword finished with 33 in a losing effort.
LSU faces Kentucky Saturday afternoon in a must-win game for the Tigers to hold on to their slim NCAA Tourney at-large hopes.
The third-ranked LSU Tigers helped Southeastern Louisiana University set an attendance record last night, with 3,747 folks filing into Pat Kennelly Diamond at Alumni Field for the Tigers and Lions. Juco transfer Connor Hale collected three hits and one rbi while Jared Foster knocked in two to support Cody Glenn’s five solid innings of work on the hill in a 7-3 win. Glenn only surrendered one run during his work night. LSU is now 4-0 and hosts Virginia Tech Friday night.
LSU backup quarterback, Stephen Rivers will graduate in May. He is giving himself a transfer out of Baton Rouge as a graduation gift. Older brother and San Diego Chargers quarterback, Phillip Rivers let the cat out of the bag when he told an ESPN interviewer that Stephen would transfer after May. The younger Rivers, attending the LSU-Mississippi State game, told reporters he just wanted to get on the field since he had not taken any meaningful snaps since high school. Rivers said there is no bad blood at all between him and Coach Miles or the Tiger staff, saying they had been very supportive. At one point during the interview, Rivers said he and Anthony Jennings had become close while they battled for the backup spot behind Zach Mettenberger last year, and continue to work out together. Former Parkway standout and early enrollee, Brandon Harris tweeted last night, “Best of luck to Stephen Rivers on where ever he decides to go. For the little time I’ve been at LSU he’s been a great person!”
Les Miles and the LSU coaching staff have had a successful February to say the least. After rallying to finish with one of the top three recruiting classes on National Signing Day at the beginning of the month, the 2015 recruiting class is shaping up nicely. Wednesday, Lakeshore High’s bulky David Ducre, considered the #1 fullback in the country joined West Feliciana speedster and four-star wide receiver Jazz Ferguson as Tiger commits for next year.
LSU has nine verbal commitments for 2015 and according to 24/7 sports, the collection of talent is the front-runner for the top-ranked recruiting class. Ducre is a 230-pounder and Ferguson is 6’5”, 205 pounds and ranked 21st in the country by 24/7. His head coach, Robb Odom credits Jazz with 4.51 speed in the 40. Jazz’s brother, Jay Ferguson---not to be confused with the singer who belted out, “Thunder Island”---signed with Louisiana Tech this past Signing Day.
In a battle of 6-6 teams, Missouri proved to be just a smidge better than average in a 67-64 win over Vanderbilt despite a rough night for the Tigers’ leading scorer Jabari Brown… Brown, one-third of the triumvirate of Missouri’s big guards was held to nine points---Jordan Clarkson picked up the slack with 21 points and Earnest Ross mixed in 16 for Mizzou, who improved to 19-7 overall and 7-6 in SEC play. Vanderbilt whittled an eight point deficit with just over two minutes to play down to a two point disadvantage with 20 seconds remaining… Kyle Fuller’s heave from beyond midcourt at the buzzer that would have tied things up, clanged off the rim---it was that kind of night for Fuller, who finished 1-for-12 on the evening as the Commodores fell to 14-11 overall and 6-7 in SEC play.
Florida’s 18th consecutive win proved to be one of the toughest during the 2nd ranked Gators success string---who would have guessed that? Auburn came into the game with a 12-11 record overall and a lackluster 4-8 mark in SEC action. The outcome was in doubt though until Patric Young dropped in two free throws with 19 seconds to play and Auburn turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play, allowing the Gators to slip away with the 71-66 win.
Top-ranked Syracuse was having their own difficulty with a conference also-ran, eventually losing to Boston College 62-59 in overtime, paving the way for Florida to advance to the top rung on the Top 25 Ladder. The 18 consecutive wins is a school record and the win also rewrote the record books for home winning streaks, with the mark now at 31 straight wins in front of friendly faces.
Young led the way with 1 points, Casey Prather added 16.
Florida’s last loss came on December 2nd against UConn.
Texas A&M’s Kyle Field renovations will give the Aggies the largest stadium in the SEC and the Lone Star State with a seating capacity of 102,500. If any of the Aggie populace miss a play on the field, they can gaze at the new video board for the replay---the largest video board in college football and the Lone Star State at 47 feet by 163 feet. By the way, the video board in Darrell K. Royal-Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas is 55 feet by 134 feet, 291 square feet smaller than the Aggies.
The renovations also are making a large segment of the Aggie fan base very happy---the number of women’s restrooms will double once all the dust from construction settles.
Arkansas blew a 17 point lead last night at home against South Carolina before righting the ship and salvaging a 71-64 win in Bud Walton Arena. After trailing 40-23 with 1:15 to play in the first half, the Gamecocks rallied to tie the Razorbacks 55-all with five minutes to play in the game.
Huntington High alum, Michael Qualls nailed a three allowing Arkansas to regain the lead, 58-55 and the Hogs led by no fewer than three the rest of the way. Qualls finished with 20 points to lead Arkansas. Cotye Clark had a double-dozen to aid the cause, 12 points and 12 boards. Arkansas held South Carolina’s fab freshman, Sindarius Thornwell to eight points. Brenton Williams did the damage for the Gamecocks with 29 points. Neither team will use the game video as a jump-shooting aid---South Carolina shot 37 percent from the floor and Arkansas 38 percent.
Arkansas freshman running back, Alex Collins, who ran for over 1,000 yards last season, spent nearly a week on suspension for unknown reasons before being reinstated Wednesday. Head coach, Bret Bielema would only say Collins had broken a team rule but had done the necessary things to get back in his good graces. Collins led all freshmen in the country with 1,026 yards, only the second Hog rookie to crack the mark, with Darren McFadden’s 1,113 the standard-bearer