No. 25 Missouri slays No. 17 Tennessee in SEC quarterfinals

D’Moi Hodge scored 26 points and Kobe Brown added 24 to lift No. 25 Missouri to a 79-71 victory over No. 17 Tennessee on Friday in a Southeastern Conference tournament quarterfinal clash in Nashville, Tenn.

Hodge sank four 3-pointers and Brown contributed three to go along with nine rebounds for the fourth-seeded Tigers (24-8), who won their fifth straight game to advance to face top-seeded Alabama on Saturday afternoon. The Crimson Tide (27-5) breezed to a 72-49 victory over Mississippi State on Friday.

Missouri also defeated Tennessee for the second time this season. DeAndre Gholston sank a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer in an 86-85 victory on Feb. 11.

Gholston had 10 points on Friday and Nick Honor added eight, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:51 remaining in the second half.

Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi drained five 3-pointers to highlight his 17-point performance. Tyreke Key scored 16 points off the bench, Jahmai Mashack added 14 and Olivier Nkamhoua collected 11 points and 10 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Volunteers (23-10).

Brown and Hodge combined to score 14 straight Tigers’ points to give their team a 67-66 lead with 4:12 remaining in the second half. Mashack sank a free throw to forge a tie and the teams traded layups before Honor drained his go-ahead 3-pointer.

The Volunteers committed a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass and Hodge made them pay by sinking a 3-pointer to give Missouri its largest lead of the game. Key made a layup to trim the deficit, however Brown answered with one of his own and Hodge added a pair of free throws to push the Tigers’ lead to 79-71.

Missouri erased a modest three-point deficit and claimed a 65-64 lead with 5:23 to play after Brown made a layup and threw a deep pass to set up an emphatic dunk by Hodge.

Vescovi’s third 3-pointer staked Tennessee to a 25-21 lead with 5:41 remaining in the first half. Missouri countered with a 9-5 run before Mashack sank a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Volunteers a 33-30 lead at halftime.

–Field Level Media