Thornton, Tigers KO ’Cats: Marcus Thornton scored 21 points, and No. 20 LSU (26-6) beat Kentucky (20-13) 67-58 today, advancing to the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla., and most likely ending the Wildcats’ streak of NCAA appearances at 17. Thornton, the SEC player of the year, keyed a 10-2 spurt that enabled the Tigers to open a 14-point, second-half lead. Kentucky last missed the NCAA tournament in 1991 and hasn’t played in the NIT since 1979. LSU plays the winner of this afternoon’s game between Mississippi State and South Carolina, which was scheduled to tip off at 2:15 p.m.
In other SEC games today, Alabama plays Tennessee at 6:30 p.m., and Florida plays Auburn at 8:45 p.m.
Lady Jaguars in title game: Deidra Harris scored 23 points to lead the Southern women (16-12) to a 64-56 comeback victory over Mississippi Valley State (13-19) in a Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament semifinal today at Fair Park Arena in Birmingham, Ala. The Lady Jaguars, who trailed 31-25 at halftime, took the lead for good at 50-48 on Tiffany Foster’s layup with 5:22 remaining. Southern plays the winner of today’s late game between Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Prairie View for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.