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Archive for Thursday, February 8, 2007

Gators add to perfect conference start

Steele’s layup with 6.7 seconds remaining lifts ‘Bama past Mississippi State

February 8, 2007

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— Corey Brewer scored 18 points, Al Horford added 17, and top-ranked Florida stretched its winning streak to 15 games Wednesday night, pulling away in the second half for a 71-61 victory over Georgia.

Florida (22-2, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) also extended its best start ever in the league by sweeping its season series with the Bulldogs. The Gators won, 67-51, in Gainesville a month ago, dominating over the final 20 minutes after Georgia led at halftime.

Georgia (13-9, 5-5) lost its third in a row after building an 18-13 lead midway through the first half. The defending national champions responded with nine straight points and led the rest of the way, limiting the Bulldogs to 34 percent (20-of-59) from the field.

No. 4 Wisconsin 71, Penn State 58

State College, Pa. - Alando Tucker scored 24 points, Michael Flowers added 12, and the Badgers pulled away after halftime to beat Penn State.

The Nittany Lions (10-12, 1-8 Big Ten) hung close for much of the game thanks to an active zone and energetic forward Jamelle Cornley, who finished with 20 points. The Badgers (23-2, 9-1) at times couldn't hit shots when they did find space.

Things quickly changed midway through the second half.

No. 7 Pittsburgh 60, West Virginia 47

Morgantown, W.Va. - Sam Young scored a career-high 21 points to help the Panthers hand West Virginia its first home loss of the season.

Pittsburgh (21-3, 9-1 Big East) showed no signs of rust from a nine-day layoff and had no trouble scoring inside on the Mountaineers (18-5, 7-4), who were held to a season-low for points. West Virginia's previous low was 50 in a season-opening win over Mount St. Mary's.

West Virginia fell behind by as many as 17 midway through the second half and was held to just two points over the final 4:46.

No. 11 Marquette 67, Rutgers 47

Milwaukee - Ousmane Barro had 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles to their eighth straigh Big East victory.

Marquette (21-4, 8-2 Big East) opened the conference season with losses to Providence and Syracuse, but is unbeaten since, winning eight straight games.

Rutgers (9-15, 2-9) has lost three consecutive games and eight of nine.

Jerel McNeal, Wesley Matthews, David Cubillan and Dan Fitzgerald each scored 10 points as Marquette had little trouble in a tuneup before a key game Saturday against No. 22 Georgetown.

No. 18 Alabama 80, Mississippi State 79

Tuscaloosa, Ala. - Ronald Steele drove the length of the court for a layup with 6.7 seconds left to give the Crimson Tide the victory.

Ben Hansbrough hit the second of two free throws with 14 seconds to play to give the Bulldogs (12-10, 3-6 SEC) a 79-78 lead. Steele took the inbounds pass, took the ball across midcourt, then accelerated past Jamont Gordon for the winning basket.

Alabama (18-5, 5-4) trailed 77-72 after Charles Rhodes' basket with 1:24 left. Then, Mykal Riley hit a three-pointer for the Crimson Tide, and Rhodes made one of two free throws with 37 seconds to play for a 78-75 lead.

Riley answered again, hitting a three-pointer from the right corner 20 seconds later to tie the game.

No. 20 Kentucky 95, South Carolina 89

Lexington, Ky. - Ramel Bradley scored 21 points, and Bobby Perry added a season-high 18 to help the Wildcats beat South Carolina.

Kentucky (18-5, 7-2 SEC) handed the Gamecocks a 38-point thumping last month in Columbia - South Carolina's worst home loss since 1915.

This one appeared headed that way too before the Gamecocks (12-10, 2-7) made a furious second half run to make it close.

No. 21 So. Illinois 60, Bradley 50

Carbondale, Ill. - Tony Young scored 25 points to lift the Salukis over late-charging Bradley and remain tied atop the Missouri Valley Conference.

Randal Falker added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Southern Illinois (20-5, 11-3 Missouri Valley), which led by as many as 19 in the first half but saw its margin dwindle to five in the closing minutes.

The Salukis have won seven straight heading into their showdown Saturday against visiting Creighton, which won at home against Evansville

Will Franklin had 15 points for the Braves (16-10, 7-7).

No. 22 Georgetown 73, Louisville 65

Louisville, Ky. - Roy Hibbert scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Hoyas to a victory over Louisville.

Jeff Green scored 16 points, and DaJuan Summers added 13 as surging Georgetown (17-5, 7-2 Big East) won its sixth straight game, with each win coming by at least eight points.

Earl Clark matched a career-high with 14 points for Louisville (16-8, 6-4), but the Cardinals lost their 13th straight game to a ranked opponent despite committing a school-record-low one turnover.

Georgetown did it with defense, holding Louisville to 33 percent shooting from the floor.

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