Two undefeated SEC basketball teams stood tall as play began around the country on Wednesday. Now, only one remains: San Diego State (18-0).
Alabama (9-7, 2-2 SEC) handed Auburn (15-1, 3-1 SEC) its first loss of the season in Tuscaloosa. A shocking loss at that. The Crimson Tide throttled Bruce Pearl’s Tigers 83-64 in front of an electric home crowd.
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, the Gamecocks produced its own upset courtesy of a game-winning 3-pointer by freshman Jermaine Couisnard. South Carolina (9-7, 1-2 SEC) toppled Kentucky (12-4, 3-1 SEC) 81-78.
As the buzzer struck and Couisnard’s shot banked off the glass, scenes of pandemonium spread around Colonial Life Arena.
“I thought it was an airball,” Couisnard said.
A hectic day of SEC action now produces massive implications for quite a few teams across the country. LSU is now the only team unbeaten in SEC play this season.
As we inch closer and closer to March, the surprises have already begun.
Kentucky’s double-digit lead slips late
The No. 10 Wildcats’ performance on Wednesday night wasn’t entirely poor, according to head coach John Calipari.
“I thought when we had them up 14, ‘Let’s get 20,'” Calipari said. “But they never stopped.”
Kentucky missed eight of their final 10 shots on the night, and the game culminated with a 30-14 run from South Carolina.
Both teams had four players score in double figures, and South Carolina actually shot a lower percentage from the field than Kentucky (39.7% to 43.6%). Simply, the Gamecocks out-fought the Wildcats in this one. Kentucky was outrebounded on the offensive glass by 10. Calipari’s team also had 15 turnovers.
As for Couisnard, the man of the night, his head coach, Frank Martin, heaped heavy praise for him after the game. Martin seemed to have more confidence in Couisnard than the freshman had in himself at the moment.
“Jermaine was going to get that shot. He wasn’t going to be denied,” Martin said. “Jermaine’s becoming the heartbeat of our team.”
Alabama’s wire-to-wire victory
In Tuscaloosa, it was an entirely different tale.
The Crimson Tide never trailed against Auburn on their home court. For Auburn, it truly was their worst performance in almost an entire year. The Tigers were held to a season-low in points, and their defense also allowed a season-high (83).
The loss marks only Auburn’s second loss in their last 29 games dating back to last season’s Final Four run.
Indeed, the loss comes as a deflating one to Auburn. But, it could be argued that they were due for a stinker.
On the night, Auburn shot just 31.7 percent from the field and turned the ball over on 21 occasions.
“We’ve been needing this signature win,” said Nate Oats, Alabama’s first-year coach. “We were close a few times. If we’re going to make a run and try to play in the NCAA Tournament, you’ve got to get these signature wins.”
ICYMI: Last night, we handed a No. 4 ranked team with its first loss of the season 😎
— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) January 16, 2020
Auburn continues their road trip with a visit to Gainesville on Saturday up next. Tip-off against the Gators is set for 1:30 p.m. ET.
Kentucky will be on the road against Arkansas on Saturday as well. Meanwhile, Alabama continues its homestand against Missouri.
Arena t-shirts for every fan & black uni's at home.
See you Saturday, Gator Nation. pic.twitter.com/uHwfTqKr0B
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) January 15, 2020