In & around SEC basketball

April 6, 2017 chris
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By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent

NCAA Men’s Tournament review
South Carolina’s appearance in the Final Four was the biggest surprise of the NCAA Tournament, and the Gamecocks proved that they belong against No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the first national semifinal. South Carolina trailed by double digits in the second half but battled back and took the lead over the Bulldogs. The two teams traded buckets back and forth, and Gonzaga eventually pulled ahead for a 77-73 win to advance to the national championship game.
Sindarius Thornwell scored 15 points for South Carolina, while P.J. Dozier led the Gamecocks with 17 points. Frank Martin’s team finished 26-11 for the most successful season in school history.
North Carolina defeated Oregon in the second se-mifinal, 77-76, and the Tar Heels then defeated Gonzaga, 71-65, to secure the sixth national championship in school history. Roy Williams won his third national title with the school, tying Jim Calhoun and Bob Knight with three career national championships.
NCAA Women’s Tournament review
Mississippi State earned its first Final Four berth in school history with a win over Baylor in the Elite Eight, and the team’s reward was a matchup with a University of Connecticut team that had won 111 straight games. The Bulldogs entered the game as 22.5-point underdogs but jumped out to 16-point lead in the first half. UConn stormed back in the second half and forced overtime, and the two teams each traded a pair of baskets in OT. The Lady Bulldogs had the last possession of the game, and point guard Morgan William of Birmingham buried a jump shot to help her team pull off a 66-64 win and the biggest upset in women’s college basketball history.
In the other semifinal, South Carolina used a dominating second half to defeat Stanford, 62-53, and the Lady Gamecocks advanced to their first national title game in school history. South Carolina and Mississippi State squared off in an all-SEC final. The teams split a pair of games in the regular season.
South Carolina stormed out to a 36-25 halftime lead and played dominating defense throughout the game. The Lady Bulldogs made a small comeback in the third quarter, but the Lady Gamecocks staved them off and earned a 67-55 victory for the first national championship in school history. South Carolina finished 33-4 on the season, while Mississippi State finished 34-5.
All-SEC First Team
Guard: Malik Monk, Fr., Kentucky; Sindarius Thornwell, Sr., South Carolina; De’Aaron Fox, Fr., Kentucky; J.J. Frazier, Sr., Georgia
Forward: Sebastian Saiz, Sr., Ole Miss
All-SEC Second Team
Guard: KeVaughn Fr., Allen, Florida
Forward: Moses Kingsley, Sr., Arkansas; Yante Maten, Georgia; Sr., Luke Kornet, Vanderbilt; Bam Adebayo, Fr., Kentucky
All-SEC Third Team
Guard: Kasey Hill, Dr., Florida; Antonio Blakeney, So., LSU; Quinndary Wea-therspoon, So., Mississippi State; Matthew Fisher-Davis, Fr., Vanderbilt
Forward: Robert Williams, Fr., Texas A&M
All-SEC Freshman Team
Guard: De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky; Malik Monk, Kentucky; KeVaughn Allen, Florida;
Forward: Robert Williams, Texas A&M; Bam Adebayo, Kentucky
Coach of the Year
Frank Martin, South Ca-rolina
Player of the Year
Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina
Freshman of the Year
Malik Monk, Kentucky
Defensive Player of the Year
Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina