FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas turned the tables on an opponent on Saturday and rode its hot shooting to an 82-66 victory over No. 25 South Carolina in Bud Walton Arena.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak and evened Arkansas’ record at 12-12 overall and 4-9 in the Southeastern Conference. USC fell to 20-6 and 7-5.
In recent losses at LSU and Tennessee, and to Mississippi State, Arkansas fell behind early, made runs and was in position to win late but couldn’t get over the hump in losing to all three. Against the Gamecocks, UA got off to a better start and then it was South Carolina that couldn’t connect at the end.
USC cut a 13-point deficit to 65-59 with 2:20 remaining on a Trey Kelley layup. Arkansas stretched the lead back to nine, 70-61, on a layup and a free throw by Jonathon Modica, but Kelley’s rainbow three with 1:12 left got the Gamecocks within six again.
Ronnie Brewer scored on a dunk off an inbounds pass from Matt Jones, and Olu Famutimi and Modica made two free throws each to give the Razorbacks a 76-64 lead with 43 seconds left. Famutimi hit Brewer for another dunk and two more free throws by Modica pushed the lead to 80-64.
After Carlos Powell scored for the Gamecocks, ending a 10-0 run by the Hogs, Famutimi finished the scoring with an alley-oop dunk off a Brewer pass with two seconds left.
Arkansas shot 65.4 percent from the floor in the second half (17-26), including 50 percent from three-point range (4-8), and made 12 of 13 free throws (.923). South Carolina shot 45.2 percent.
In a tight first half, Brewer made a dunk for a 6-5 lead and Arkansas never trailed again. UA made 10 of 29 shots (.345) and USC nine of 26 (.346), but the Hogs were 10 of 11 at the line, and Brewer’s 11 points and Kendrick Davis’ eight, including a three at the 3:16 mark for a 30-21 lead, led to a 32-25 lead at the break. For the game, Arkansas shot 49.1 percent from the floor (27-55) and 91.7 percent from the line (20-22). UA had 18 turnovers, but had 18 assists and a 39-30 rebounding advantage. USC shot 40.4 percent (23-57) and had 18 turnovers.
Davis came off the bench to score a game-high and season-high matching 19 points. Brewer and Modica scored 17 each, hitting six of 10 and five of 10 shots, respectively. Brewer also had five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Famutimi had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Kelley led the Gamecocks with 18 points. Mike Boynton had 11. Powell, USC’s leading scorer at 13.4 points a game and top rebounder with 6.5, was held to seven points and four rebounds.
The Razorbacks are off on Wednesday but play host to Florida Saturday at 3:05 p.m. in a game televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.