SEC Basketball Report: Alabama keeps on hitting century mark

Alabama guard Mark Sears (1) hits a 3-point shot against Texas A&M during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

FAYETTEVILLE — Alabama’s scoring prowess is reaching legendary proportions.

The Crimson Tide hit the 100-point mark for the eighth time this season with a 100-75 victory over Texas A&M on Saturday. Alabama stayed in sole possession of first place in the SEC with a 10-2 mark, a game ahead of Tennessee, with the victory, its 15th in a row at Coleman Coliseum in conference play.

The Aggies entered the game as one of the better defensive teams in the SEC, having allowed 80-plus points only three times: a 96-89 loss to Florida Atlantic, an 81-75 loss to Memphis and a 97-92 overtime win against Kentucky.

But Alabama bombarded the Aggies with 18 made three-pointers on 41 attempts (43.9%) and shot 52.1% overall to win by 25 points.

Alabama’s 15-game home winning streak in SEC play dates to an 87-71 loss to the Aggies on March 2, 2022.

Alabama is scoring 90.7 points per game, tied with Arizona for the Division I lead.

The Crimson Tide’s eight 100-point games are the most for a Division I team since Kentucky’s national championship team in 1995-96 did it nine times.

“This was a big win,” Alabama Coach Nate Oats said. “We have teams right on our tail in this SEC race, so we’ve got to protect the home floor.”

Alabama has a big week on tap, hosting hot Florida at 6 p.m. Central on Wednesday (ESPN2) before a huge showdown against Kentucky at Rupp Arena at 3 p.m. Saturday (CBS).

Going 100

Alabama has scored 100-plus points eight times this season, but it's not alone among SEC teams in blasting past the century mark.

SEC teams have accounted for 24 games of scoring 100 or more points on the season, with Kentucky hitting the mark four times, Auburn three times and Florida twice to account for the teams who have done it more than once.

Kentucky owns the highest-scoring total in the SEC with a 118-82 win over Marshall on Nov. 24.

Schools with one trip above the century mark: Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Georgia, South Carolina and Texas A&M are the only SEC teams not to score 100 this season.

Florida, Georgia and LSU have all given up 100 points twice this season, with the Tigers being falling victim to the Crimson Tide twice, both times with 109-point totals. Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt have allowed 100 points in one game. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Missouri have not allowed an opponent to reach 100 points.

In and out

Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com included nine SEC teams in his tournament projection on Monday, with Texas A&M included as an 11 seed as one of his last four teams in.

The other projected SEC teams are 2 seed Tennessee, 3 seed Alabama, 5 seed Auburn, 6 seeds Kentucky and South Carolina, 8 seed Florida and 10 seed Mississippi State.

The BracketMatrix.com compilation of 102 projections has nine SEC teams in the field: 2 seed Tennessee, 3 seeds Alabama and Auburn, 5 seed South Carolina, 7 seed Kentucky, 8 seed Florida, 9 seed Texas A&M, 10 seed Mississippi State and 11 seed Ole Miss.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com did his last projections prior to the weekend games and he had Ole Miss as one of his last four teams in the field and the last of nine SEC teams. His other SEC projections: 2 seed Tennessee, 3 seeds Alabama and Auburn, 6 seeds Kentucky and South Carolina, 8 seed Florida and 9 seeds Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

Kids off limit

Kentucky Coach John Calipari greeted the media with an interesting take as he was taking his seat at the podium after winning at Auburn on Saturday.

Calipari indicated he felt the media thought they were there to cover a different story before he asked the press to lay off his players.

“You were hoping to see something different,” Calipari declared. “You were here for a reason. Please, just leave my players alone. Let them be young and learn. Keep attacking me. I may be the worst in the country. Just attack me and leave these kids alone.”

Road wins

Kentucky notched its fourth road win in conference play on Saturday with its 70-59 victory at Auburn. The Wildcats joined Alabama and Tennessee atop the SEC with four road wins each.

The Wildcats dealt the Tigers their first home loss of the season, snapping their 16-game home winning streak. Auburn had won 43 of its last 45 home games under Coach Bruce Pearl before falling to Kentucky.

Auburn has three conference road wins (Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss), while Florida, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M have two. Arkansas (Missouri), Ole Miss (Texas A&M) and Mississippi State (Missouri) have one league road win. Missouri and Vanderbilt do not have a road victory this season.

Tiger tale

LSU notched its biggest win of the season on Saturday, upsetting No. 11 South Carolina 64-63. The big win came on the heels of an 82-80 loss at Florida last Tuesday.

South Carolina led by three points twice in the final minute after three-pointers by B.J. Mack and Talon Cooper, but LSU answered after both.

Transfer guard Jordan Wright scored LSU’s final seven points, including a three-point play with 46 seconds remaining and a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left.

The Tigers won their first true road game over an Associated Press Top 25 team since downing No. 5 Kentucky on Feb. 12, 2019. That snapped a 10-game losing streak in road games against Top 25 competition for LSU.

The Tigers trailed by 16 points with 16:58 remaining before kicking off their comeback, which marked their first rally for a win after trailing by 15-plus points on the road since March 6, 2014, at Vanderbilt.

Reverse skid

South Carolina had been riding a seven-game winning streak before running into a brick wall last week.

The Gamecocks fell 101-61 at Auburn on Wednesday night as the winning streak came to a crashing end. Then South Carolina fell 64-63 at home to LSU on Saturday to complete its first 0-2 week in league play, subsequently dropping the Gamecocks nine spots to No. 20 in Monday’s Associated Press Top 25.

Auburn scored 50 points in the first half and 51 in the second and made 36 of 59 shots (61%) to dismantle the Gamecocks, who were 18 of 52 (34.6%) from the field.

Rocky stops

Tennessee had a banner week, blasting Arkansas 92-63 on the road on Wednesday and hammering Vanderbilt 88-53 at home on Saturday.

The routs came by a combined margin of 64 points, the fifth time in the last 48 seasons the Volunteers have beaten consecutive league games by 64 or more points.

There are only four other times in the last seven years that an SEC team won back-to-back conference games by that margin or more and Tennessee has three of them.

The other belongs to Alabama, which crunched Vanderbilt (101-44) and LSU (79-69) by a combined 67 points last season.

200 threes

Guard Matthew Murrell became the seventh Ole Miss player to connect on 200 career three-point shots by making 6 of 9 beyond the arc in Saturday’s 79-76 home win over Missouri.

Murrell, the Memphis native, joined Breein Tyree, current Ole Miss AD Keith Carter, Aaron Harper, Marshall Henderson and Chris Warren as Rebels with 200-plus three pointers.

Top players

Tennessee’s Jonas Aidoo and Mississippi State’s Josh Hubbard earned SEC weekly honors on Monday from the league office.

Aidoo, the 6-11 junior from Durham, N.C., averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots in wins over Arkansas and Vanderbilt to be named the SEC player of the week.

Hubbard earned SEC freshman of the week honors after the 5-10 guard from Madison, Miss., had 19 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists win a win over Arkansas, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute to help the Bulldogs win their third consecutive game.

Tip-ins

• Auburn’s Johni Broome posted his 56th career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against Kentucky on Saturday.

• Tennessee is 13-1 in its last 14 games against cross-state rival Vanderbilt.

• Missouri guard Sean East came back from a two-game absence with a bang, erupting for 25 points, his high with the Tigers, on Saturday at Ole Miss. East made 12 of 12 free throws and 6 of 9 shots.

• Auburn’s Jaylin Williams went down with a knee injury in the second half against Kentucky and did not return.