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SEC men: Miss. St. falls to No. 21 Bama

Associated Press
Published March 6, 2005


STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State lived a long time with nightmares from the 49-point January defeat at Alabama, and fed extra emotion to the mix with Senior Day heralding the last home game for the Bulldogs' seniors.

With all but a small corner of 10,432 fans in Humphrey Coliseum raining noise on the court feeding a superb defensive effort, State gave Alabama its best shot Saturday.

Well, it's best shot everywhere but actually shooting the ball.

The Bulldogs shot a woeful 24.3 percent, falling 68-63 to the No. 21 Crimson Tide.

They were a combined 9-of-35, including 4-of-19 from behind the 3-point arc. The Bulldogs couldn't shoot well enough to bust Alabama's zone, and the Crimson Tide clinched the top seed in the West Division.

They finished tied with LSU, which beat Vanderbilt by 12 in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The teams will share the Western Division title.

LSU 81, VANDY 69: Antonio Hudson, playing in his final game at LSU, scored 25 points to lead the Tigers to a share of the Southeastern Conference Western Division championship.

LSU, winners of six straight and 13 of the last 16 games, split the title with No. 9 Alabama and earned the No. 2 seed in the West in the SEC tournament next week.

It was the Tigers' first SEC regular-season championship since the 1999-2000 season. LSU went undefeated at home for the first time since 1981.

AUBURN 77, ARKANSAS 64: Quinnel Brown couldn't miss, Arkansas couldn't hit and Auburn couldn't have asked for a much better ending to a dismal regular season.

Brown was 8-for-8 shooting for 21 points and the Tigers scored 21 consecutive points beginning late in the first half. The Tigers turned a four-point deficit into a 17-point lead with the big surge to snap a five-game losing streak. In a game where neither team had much at stake, they held the Razorbacks nearly 11 minutes without scoring and forced 24 turnovers.

Arkansas finished the regular season by losing four of its last five games, seeing its hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament crumble during the late swoon.

TENNESSEE 78, GEORGIA 68: Freshman guard Chris Lofton scored 20 points and junior guard Stanley Asumnu came off the bench for a career-high 14 points.

Scooter McFadgon added 12 points and Brandon Crump had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Vols. Georgia was led by Levi Stukes and Sundiata Gaines with 22 points each.

It was the regular-season finale for both teams.

Georgia plays Mississippi State on Thursday in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Atlanta. Tennessee plays Arkansas Thursday in the first round.