(7) Ole Miss 68, (10) Auburn 54
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Nick Williams scored a career-high 22 points, and Mississippi defeated Auburn 68-54 in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday night.
Williams, whose previous career-high was 21, was 9-of-14 shooting and drained four 3-pointers. Murphy Holloway added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Rebels (19-12), who have won four straight and might be able to make a case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they upset Tennessee in their second-round game Friday night.
Frankie Sullivan scored 15 points for Auburn (15-16), which lost for the fourth time in five games on the same day the NCAA acknowledged that federal investigators are looking into point-shaving allegations against suspended Tigers guard Varez Ward.
(11) Georgia 71, (6) Mississippi State 61
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Gerald Robinson scored 23 points, Dustin Ware added 13 and Georgia beat Mississippi State 71-61 in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday night.
Georgia stretched its lead to 54-41 on Robinson's layup with 8:12 remaining, but Mississippi State had one last rally. Jalen Steele scored nine points in 90 seconds, and his final 3-pointer pulled the Bulldogs within 60-57 with 3:44 remaining.
But Georgia (15-16) - the tournament's No. 11 seed - held on for the surprising win. Robinson's jumper with 59 seconds left gave his team an insurmountable 66-59 lead.
Sixth-seeded Mississippi State (21-11) was led by Jalen Steele's 19 points.
Mississippi State has lost six of its past eight. Georgia has won three of four and will face Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals on Friday.
(5) Alabama 63, (12) South Carolina 57
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Trevor Lacey scored 15 points, JaMychal Green added 12 and Alabama played lockdown defense in the final six minutes to beat South Carolina 63-57 in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday.
The fifth-seeded Crimson Tide led for most of the game, but South Carolina tied it at 51 on the second of back-to-back 3-pointers by Brenton Williams with 6:38 remaining. Alabama (21-10) then held 12th-seeded South Carolina (10-21) scoreless for more than five minutes and did enough on offense to ease past the Gamecocks.
South Carolina lost 11 of 12 games to end the season. Alabama won for the fifth time in six games and advances to play Florida in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Williams and Damien Leonard led South Carolina with 13 points each.
(8) LSU 70, (9) Arkansas 54
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Johnny O'Bryant scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half, and LSU pulled away for a 70-54 victory over Arkansas in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday.
Storm Warren scored 14 for LSU (18-13), which had ended its regular season with a three-game skid but rediscovered its offense in time to open the postseason with a convincing victory. Andre Stringer hit three of four 3-pointers and finished with 11 points for the Tigers, who shot 50 percent (25 of 50), tying their second-highest percentage all season. LSU went 6 of 12 from 3-point range.
B.J. Young scored 13 points for Arkansas (18-14), which has lost six of seven and finished with its lowest point total of the
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