Frank Martin's first season at South Carolina comes to an abrupt end, and Auburn is easily dispatched back to the plains.
Two games tipped off the 2013 SEC basketball tournament at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena Wednesday, as the 14-team field was whittled down to 12 for Thursday's second round.
In the day's first game, the No. 13 seed Mississippi State Bulldogs knocked off No. 12 South Carolina, 70-59. The Bulldogs were led by a season-high 21 points from guard Fred Thomas. Forward Colin Borchert had 11 points and eight boards, while Gavin Ware added 10 points and seven rebounds for Mississippi State. South Carolina, which finishes its first season under new coach Frank Martin at 14-18 overall and just 4-14 in the SEC, was led by 13 points from Bruce Ellington. Mississippi State next takes on No. 5 seed Tennessee Thursday afternoon at 3:30 ET.
Later Tuesday night, No. 11 Texas A&M won its first SEC tournament game, defeating No. 14 Auburn, 71-62. A&M, which jumped to a seven-point halftime advantage and hung on through the second half, was led by 22 points from Elston Turner. Three other Aggie starters scored in double-digits. Frankie Sullivan led Auburn with 19 points. The Aggies next face a familiar foe: No. 6 Missouri, who jumped from the Big 12 to the SEC with Texas A&M last summer and will be playing in its own first tournament game as a member of its new conference. MIzzou won the teams' first meeting of the year, beating Texas A&M, 70-68, in College Station. Tip-off is set for 10 p.m. ET.
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