Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Ejection won’t cost Rebel time
Mississippi's Reginald Buckner, right, is escorted off the court after being ejected during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won 98-79. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
LITTLE ROCK Ole Miss forward Reginald Buckner will be available for Wednesday’s game at Texas A&M after being ejected from last Saturday’s 98-79 loss at Missouri.
Buckner was ejected with 7:30 remaining after a brief scrum that resulted in five technical fouls.
Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said the SEC office contacted him Monday morning about Buckner’s status.
“He was ejected for a flagrant 2foul, which is contact above the shoulders, and not for fighting,” Kennedy said. “His status is go for Wednesday.”
The incident began after a missed Ole Miss shot with the Tigers leading 80-58.
Buckner pushed his way into rebounding position with a high elbow near the face of Oriakhi, who tumbled to the court. As Buckner began to run down court, Oriakhi reached out and tripped Buckner by the foot.
Two officials rushed in to keep Buckner from confronting Oriakhi.
Missouri’s Laurence Bowers came up between the officials and pushed Buckner away. A moment later, Ole Miss’ Murphy Holloway shoved Bowers in the back and Buckner’s extended hand came in contact with Bowers’ face. Missouri’s Jabari Brown rushed in and pushed Holloway as Oriakhi assumed a boxer’s pose while backing away. The incident was quickly brought under control by the officials and team personnel.
Buckner and Holloway both received technical fouls, while Oriakhi was hit with a flagrant 1 foul for tripping Buckner. Bowers and Brown were given technicals as well.
Florida lost a chance to take over the No. 1 ranking in the major polls with its 80-69 loss at Arkansas last week, as No. 1 Indiana and No. 3 Michigan lost as well. The Gators, who bounced back Saturday with a victory over Mississippi State, fell to No. 7 in the Associated Press top 25 poll. Indiana held on to the top spot.
Missouri, which lost at Texas A&M and beat Ole Miss, fell out of the poll for the first time this season, and Kentucky re-entered at No. 25 on the strength of its five game winning streak.
Georgia Coach Mark Fox called his team’s 52-46 victory over Texas A&M a “slugfest” after officials called 47 fouls (25 on Texas A&M) and the teams attempted a combined 58 free throws (32 by Georgia).
“Guys are so strong and athletic that every play we’re putting so much contact into the game that it’s almost impossible to regulate that,” Fox said.
Georgia, which started 2-7 this season and 0-3 in conference play, will take a five-game winning streak into its home game against Alabama tonight.
The Bulldogs have beaten Texas A&M twice and have won road games at Texas A&M, South Carolina and Tennessee during their streak.
“Our team had a slow start to the year and never really became confident,” Fox said.
“We’ve just been fighting uphill most of the season. … I still don’t think we’re playing our best basketball.”
3 with 20
Alex Oriakhi and Phil Pressey scored 22 points each and Keion Bell added 21 points in Missouri’s 98-79 victory over Ole Miss, marking the first time the Tigers had three players score 20-plus points in a regular-season game since March 3, 2002, when Clarence Gilbert (27), Rickey Paulding (23) and Kareem Rush (22) did it in a 95-92 loss against Kansas. Missouri also had three 20-point scorers in last year’s 86-84 NCAA Tournament loss to Norfolk State.
Florida’s solid perimeter shooting has created a small dilemma: The Gators don’t get to the free-throw line a lot.
The Gators are last by a wide margin in the SEC with 12.7 free throws attempted per conference game, well behind league leaders Kentucky (26.0), Ole Miss (25.9) and Missouri (22.1).
The SEC teams with the lowest averages ahead after Florida are LSU (16.6), Alabama (17.7) and Arkansas (17.8).
Missouri’s Phil Pressey had four assists against Ole Miss to push his career total to 499, two ahead of Anthony Peeler (497 from 1988-1992) to claim the Tigers’ school record.
LSU guard Anthony Hickey leads the NCAA with 3.37 steals per game.
Tennessee sophomore Jarnell Stokes had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Volunteers’ 66-61 victory at South Carolina on Sunday.
It was the ninth time Stokes has exceeded 10 points and 10 rebounds in a game, the seventh time he has done it in SEC action and the fifth time he has done it in a row.
Keep it low
Tonight’s match up in Athens, Ga., between Alabama and Georgia will pit the SEC’s two lowest-scoring teams in league games.
Alabama’s 58.7 points per game ranks 13th in the league, while Georgia comes in last at 58.4 points per game.
Both teams have winning records in the SEC, however, because each plays solid defense. Alabama is second behind Florida by allowing 56.6 points per game, and Georgia is fourth (61.5 ppg).
The Bulldogs are allowing 53 points per game during their five-game winning streak.
Arkansas and Missouri remained the only teams to win all their home games and lose all their road games in SEC play.
The Razorbacks have won their five home games by an average margin of 16.2 points and lost their road games by 14.4 points. Only one of those losses has come by less than 12 points, 59-56 at Alabama.
“There’s some thing you’ve got to do on the road that we haven’t had a chance to do,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “Playing Vanderbilt, we didn’t shoot the ball particularly well.”
Missouri has won its six home games by 15.7 points per game and lost four times on the road by 12.8 points per game. The Tigers have been more competitive on the road since falling 64-49 at Ole Miss and 83-52 at Florida, losing at LSU and Texas A&M by a combined five points.
South Carolina Coach Frank Martin described his feelings about playing Alabama and his good friend, Anthony Grant, during Monday’s SEC teleconference.
“I don’t like to play my dear friends,” Martin said. “It’s a tough place to be emotionally as a coach. … His teams are so disciplined and so hard nosed, it puts a lot of stress on your team.’’ Good on good
Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Texas A&M’s Elston Turner guarded each other for much of the Bulldogs’ 52-46 victory Saturday. The results were tough on both players, as Caldwell-Pope went 0 for 3 and scored 10 points, and Turner shot 2 of 14, including 0 of 6 from three-point range, and scored 13 points.
Georgia Coach Mark Fox said. “Here we had two great, great scorers and they guarded each other. That’s a neat match up.”
Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel won the SEC’s freshman of the week award Monday for the fourth consecutive week. Noel is the first SEC freshman to win the award four consecutive weeks since Kentucky’s John Wall did it in 2009-2010.
… Florida Coach Billy Donovan said forward Erik Murphy, who left Saturday’s victory over Mississippi State with an ankle injury, was back at practice and cleared for tonight’s game against Kentucky. … The five SEC teams Arkansas has lost to on the road would be a combined 9-11 at home if they had not played Arkansas. South Carolina’s lone SEC home victory came against the Hogs, while Texas A&M and Vanderbilt have won twice at home. … Missouri’s 50 points at halftime of its 98-79 victory over Ole Miss were a season high. … Tennessee’s 66-61 victory at South Carolina on Sunday featured 16 lead changes and 12 ties and gave the Vols their first SEC road victory.
TODAY’S GAMES All times Central
Kentucky at Florida, 6 p.m.
Alabama at Georgia, 8 p.m.
Mississippi at Texas A&M, 6 p.m.
Missouri at Mississippi State, 7 p.m.
Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 7 p.m.
Arkansas at Auburn, 8 p.m.
LSU at South Carolina, 6 p.m.
Game of the week
KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA, TONIGHT, 6 P.M., ESPN
The Wildcats have been potent on the road and seem to be jelling as the postseason approaches. Florida, while still the class of the SEC, lost its aura of invincibility at Arkansas last week, along with big man Will Yeguete to a knee injury.
“The game’s just gotten so physical, it’s almost impossible to officiate now.”- Georgia Coach Mark Fox
By the numbers
1 SEC team shooting better than 49 percent in league play: Florida (50.5 percent)
2 SEC teams without a conference road victory: Arkansas, Missouri
8 Consecutive losses by Mississippi State, two more than their healthy scholarship players
12 Consecutive victories for Tennessee over South Carolina
Sports, Pages 20 on 02/12/2013