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Vanderbilt, Tennessee, LSU claim SEC Tournament wins

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kedren Johnson hit all four of his free throws in the final 19.8 seconds, and the 10th-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores upset No. 7 seed Arkansas 75-72 Thursday night in their first chance at defending their Southeastern Conference tournament championship.

The Commodores (15-16) lost the top six players off that title team with three now playing in the NBA. They will play No. 2 seed Kentucky in the quarterfinals tonight in a rematch of last year’s championship game.

Arkansas (19-13) lost for the 12th time in 13 games away from Fayetteville including three times on neutral courts. Not even the fans calling the hogs helped it feel enough like home as the Razorbacks last led at 7-4.

Rod Odom led Vanderbilt with 20 points, Kyle Fuller had 19, Johnson finished with 13 and Dai-Jon Parker 11.

BJ Young led Arkansas with 16 points. Marshawn Powell had 13 and Michael Qualls 10.

III

Jordan McRae scored 17 points as fifth-seeded Tennessee defeated No. 13 seed Mississippi State 69-53.

Tennessee (20-11) won for the ninth time in its last 10 games to advance to today’s quarterfinal against No. 4 seed Alabama (20-11) in a matchup of NCAA Tournament bubble teams. Tennessee and Alabama split their regular-season matchups, with the home team winning each time.

Trae Golden had 15 points and Jarnell Stokes and Quinton Chievous added 10 points apiece for Tennessee. Chievous’ 10 points represented a career high for the redshirt freshman.

Craig Sword scored 19 points, Colin Borchert had 12 and Trivante Bloodman added 10 for Mississippi State (10-22). The Bulldogs entered the SEC Tournament with only six scholarship players.

Mississippi State scored the first four points of the game, but Tennessee answered with a 12-0 run and never looked back.

III

Shavon Coleman scored 24 points, and the LSU Tigers held off Georgia 68-63 to give first-year coach Johnny Jones a win in his Southeastern Conference tournament debut.

LSU, which started league play by losing its first four games, now has won three of four. The Tigers (19-11) will play No. 13 Florida in the quarterfinals today.

Georgia (15-17) has lost two straight. The Bulldogs trailed by as much as 23 before whittling away LSU’s lead. They used a 12-3 run to pull within 66-63 with 28.5 seconds left. Andre Stringer hit two free throws to finish off the win after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit off the rim from 25 feet away.

Caldwell-Pope had 25 of his career-high 32 points in the second half trying to bring Georgia back. He also had 13 rebounds.

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