It was mixed week for Kessler and Brooks but big week for Huffman’s team; Miller scores 15

By R.L. Bynum

Walker Kessler and Garrison Brooks went through up and down weeks in the SEC while Brandon Huffman’s Jacksonville State team picked up two big victories and Walker Miller played well in a Monmouth victory.

Kessler had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks in Auburn’s 94–80 Wednesday home win over Vanderbilt but was held to 11 points and three rebounds in Saturday’s 63–62 loss at Florida. The loss to the Gators was only the second game this season without a block for Kessler, who leads the country with 4.56 per game.

The Tigers (24–3, 12–2 SEC) still lead the SEC by a game over Kentucky. Although Auburn fell one spot to No. 3 in the latest AP poll, it’s still projected to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.


Mississippi State (16–10, 7–7) is ninth in the SEC. The Bulldogs rebounded from an 80–75 Wednesday home loss to Alabama with two wins over Missouri. After beating Missouri 68–49 at home on Friday, the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 58–56 at Columbia, Mo., on Sunday.

Brooks battled foul trouble and had eight points, six rebounds and a season-high-tying four blocks against Alabama. He had 10 points and 11 points respectively in the two games against Missouri, with seven rebounds in both victories.


Monmouth (17–9, 9–6 MAAC) knocked off Rider 60–58 in its only game last week and is fourth in the MAAC with four games left in the regular season.

Walker Miller overcame foul trouble to finish with 15 points, three rebounds and a block.

“It feels to great win a game when you shoot like we did,” said Miller after the Hawks shot 33.8%. “That just means we stuck together and got it done in the end. This game could have gone either way and we’re really happy to come out with this win.”

The win was Coach King Rice’s 178th career victory, tying Dave Calloway for the most Division I wins by a Monmouth coach.


It was a good week for Brandon Huffman’s Jacksonville State team, although he didn’t put up good numbers.

The Gamecocks (18–9, 11–2 ASUN) solidified their spot atop the ASUN West Division with road victories over Lipscomb 78–67 and Bellarmine 82–67, and lead Bellarmine by a game.

Huffman, who has scored in double figures once in the last five games, had six points and seven rebounds against Lipscomb and one point and two rebounds against Bellarmine.

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Seventh Woods has started six consecutive games for Morgan State (8–13, 3–6 MEAC).

He scored one point in 12 minutes in Monday’s home win over South Carolina State and had four points and three assists in Saturday’s 68–66 loss to Howard in Cleveland as part of the NBA’s All-Star weekend.

Even with battling foul trouble, Woods’ 15 minutes against Howard were his most in the last five games.


New Mexico (11–16, 3–11 Mountain West) played three conference games — winning one and losing two — last week and Jeremiah Francis didn’t play in any of them. He hasn’t played in a conference game since the Jan. 31 loss at San Diego State.

How the seven former Tar Heels did

Garrison Brooks, Mississippi State center
80–75 Wednesday loss vs. Alabama —
Started; 33 minutes, 8 points, 2–5 FG, 0–1 3FG, 4–4 FT, 6 rebounds, 4 fouls, 1 turnover, 4 blocks
68–49 Friday win vs. Missouri — Started; 27 minutes, 10 points, 4–8 FG, 1–3 3FG, 1–2 FT, 7 rebounds, 1 assist
58–56 Sunday win at Missouri — Started; 32 minutes, 11 points, 4–11 FG, 2–5 3FG, 1–1 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 2 blocks, 1 steal
Season statistics — 27 games, 27 starts, 11.3 points, 48.0 FG%, 35.6% 3FG%, 68.7% FT%, 6.9 rebounds; season totals of 22 assists, 24 blocks, 9 steals
Up next — 6:30 Wednesday at South Carolina, SEC Network; 1 p.m. Saturday vs. Vanderbilt, SEC Network
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Jeremiah Francis, New Mexico guard
75–66 Tuesday win vs. Wyoming —
Didn’t play
83–68 Thursday loss vs. Colorado State — Didn’t play
71–55 Sunday loss at San Jose State — Didn’t play
Season statistics — 10 games, 1 start, 2.0 points, 42.9% FG, 2–9 3FG; season totals of 8 rebounds, 15 assists, 1 block, 1 steal
Up next — 10 p.m. Tuesday at Utah State, FS1; 4 p.m. Saturday vs. Air Force, Stadium
———————————————
Brandon Huffman, Jacksonville State forward/center
78–67 Wednesday win at Lipscomb —
Started; 22 minutes, 6 points, 3–5 FG, 0–1 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 turnovers
82–67 Sunday win at Bellarmine — Started; 14 minutes, 1 point, 0–0 FG, 1–2 FT, 2 rebounds
Season statistics —
27 games, 27 starts, 9.3 points, 64.6 FG%, 0–1 3FG, 54.9 FT%, 6.9 rebounds; season totals of 5 assists, 26 blocks and 9 steals
Up next — 6 p.m. Wednesday vs. Eastern Kentucky, ESPN+; 1 p.m. Saturday vs. North Alabama, ESPN+
———————————————
Walker Kessler, Auburn forward/center
94–80 Wednesday win vs. Vanderbilt —
Started; 27 minutes, 22 points, 8–10 FG, 0–1 3FG, 6–7 FT, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 7 blocks, 1 steal
63–62 Saturday loss at Florida —
Started; 26 minutes, 11 points, 5–6 FG, 1–1 3FG, 0–2 FT, 3 rebounds, 3 fouls, 2 turnovers, 1 steal, +12
Season statistics —
27 games, 27 starts, 12.0 points, 64.5 FG%, 22.0% 3FG, 63.6 FT%, 8.2 rebounds; season totals of 21 assists, 123 blocks, 28 steals
Up next — 8:30 Wednesday vs. Mississippi, SEC Network; 4 p.m. Saturday at Tennessee, ESPN2
———————————————
Walker Miller, Monmouth forward
60–58 Friday win vs. Rider —
Started; 24 minutes, 15 points, 7–16 FG, 1–4 3FG, 0–3 FT, 3 rebounds, 4 fouls, 2 turnovers, 1 block
Season statistics — 26 games, 26 starts, 15.0 points, 47.4 FG%, 30.8 3FG%, 74.4 FT%, 6.2 rebounds; season totals of 29 assists, 25 blocks, 18 steals
Up next — 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Siena, ESPN+; 7 p.m. Friday vs. Saint Peter’s
———————————————
Andrew Platek, Siena guard
Out for the season after having surgery to repair a full tear in the Achilles tendon in his left leg
Season statistics — 5 games, 3 starts, 9.0 points, 40.9 FG%, 31.3 3FG%, 4–4 FT, 3.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists
———————————————
Seventh Woods, Morgan State guard
76–66 Monday win vs. South Carolina State —
Started; 12 minutes, 1 point, 0–2 FG, 1–2 FT
68–66 Saturday loss vs. Howard in Cleveland — Started; 15 minutes, 4 points, 2–2 FG, 2 rebounds, 4 fouls, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 1 block, 2 steals
Season statistics —
15 games, 11 starts, 5.0 points, 46.0 FG%, 23.1 3FG%, 60.9% FT, 2.0 rebounds; season total of 39 assists, 9 steals, 3 blocks
Up next — 7:30 p.m. Monday vs. Norfolk State; 4:30 Saturday at Delaware State
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