Auburn forward Jabari Smith (10) and Alabama forward Darius Miles (2) collide chasing a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Men’s basketball thrillers around the SEC

The Southeastern Conference’s men’s basketball teams saw a slew of action Tuesday; eight in-conference opponents duked it out on the court.

Auburn Tigers (15-1, 4-0 SEC) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-5, 2-2 SEC)

The No. 4 Tigers slipped past their No. 24 in-state rivals 81-77. Though it wasn’t an easy feat.

Alabama guard JD Davidson lit up the Coleman Coliseum. The freshman recorded nine points and four assists.

But home-court advantage failed to aid the defending SEC champions as Auburn’s potent players persisted.

Forward Jabari Smith and guard Wendell Green Jr. combined for a total of 44 points. The duo heavily assisted in the Tigers’ 12 game win streak.

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said his squad was resilient.

Ole Miss Rebels (9-6, 1-2 SEC) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (14-2, 3-0 SEC)

The Rebels fell 67-51 to the Aggies in College Station, Texas, awarding Texas A&M its seventh straight win. The Aggies sit behind the Tigers in the SEC standings.

Ole Miss fought hard, but Texas A&M finished.

The white and maroon held a 42-24 advantage in the paint. Forward Henry Coleman III totaled 18 points, however, he credits defensive strategy for the win.

“We knew what we had to do — to defend the ball,” Coleman said.

Kentucky Wildcats (13-3, 3-1 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (9-6, 1-2 SEC)

The No. 18 Wildcats emerged victorious 78-66 over the Commodores Tuesday.

Kentucky’s resident big man, forward Oscar Tshiebwe, contributed an astounding 30 points and 13 rebounds. The last player to achieve a 30-10 game at UK was Patrick Patterson in December of 2008.

The Wildcats 12-0 run late in the first half haunted the Commodores for the rest of the game. Yet Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pipen Jr. posted 32 points throughout his 32 minutes of playing time. But the anchor fell down.

South Carolina Gamecocks (10-5, 1-2 SEC) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (11-4, 2-2 SEC)

The No. 22 Volunteers glode past the Gamecocks in a 66-46 win. While the margin was only 20 points, Tennessee’s roster mopped the Thompson-Boling Arena floor.

Charleston, South Carolina, native Josiah-Jordan James secured a first-half buzzer-beater to amp up the Vols ahead of the final frame. The guard finished the night with 11 points. However, the Gamecocks were only down by six at halftime, but the all-out effort by South Carolina wasn’t enough. Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler said no defensive matchup scares him.

What’s next

The SEC action continues with three matches Wednesday:

  1. Georgia vs. Mississippi State
  2. LSU vs. Florida
  3. Missouri vs. Arkansas

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