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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas freshman guard Lindsay Harris led the Razorbacks with 16 points on nine-of-20 shooting, as the home team defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks in a 58-54 nail-biter at Bud Walton Arena.
The win moves Arkansas to 14-11 on the year, 3-7 in SEC play, and sends the Razorbacks on a two-game win streak into Sunday’s Pink Zone game against Ole Miss.
“I’m just glad that we got the win and we go into Sunday with some momentum,” UA head coach Tom Collen said. “For all the frustrating things we did, it feels good for this team to get a home win.”
Arkansas blitzed Carolina from the tip, 12-2, but allowed USC back into the game which went to intermission tied at 28-28. Using a methodical clock-burning pace, the Gamecocks slowly built a five-point lead midway through the second half.
“The question I posed to our team at half is where was the team that played at Georgia,” Collen said. “We were listless and Carolina set the pace by walking it up the floor early.”
The Razorbacks found their answers in Harris and senior Whitney Jones, who contributed 15 points and led the team with nine rebounds, one rebound shy of her fourth double-double of the season. Guard Charity Ford also came on strong in the second half, finishing with 10 points after scoring only four points in the first half.
“We just stayed motivated and worked it one play at a time,” Jones said. “Coach talked all week that they are one of the toughest teams in the SEC and that they would fight to the end.”
With one minute remaining, the teams were tied at 53, Ford took a baseline drive to the hoop with two seconds left on the shot clock to put Arkansas ahead for good, 55-53, with 33 seconds left.
Forced to foul, Carolina could only watch as the Razorbacks hit three free throws in the last 20 seconds to ice the win.
“We settled down and played defense at the end,” Ford said. “We just focused on that and working the game in the final minutes.”
Both the Razorbacks and the Gamecocks came out shooting on Thursday, but neither team seemed able to get their shots to fall, showcased by Arkansas’ 15-9 lead at the midway point of the first half.
The Razorbacks built a 12-2 lead in the first six minutes of the contest but a layup by Sutton at the 9:21 mark in the first half put the Gamecocks in double digits and gave them the jump start they needed to erase Arkansas’ lead.
“That was the most frustrating part of the game,” Collen said. “I felt like we should have been up by 20.”
Over the last nine minutes of the first half, South Carolina clawed away at the Razorbacks’ defense, finally tying the score at 20-20 on a Samone Kennedy layup with 5:54 left before halftime.
As the teams headed to the locker rooms, the game remained tight, tied at 28-28.
The Razorbacks will are at home again on Sunday, Feb. 15, against Mississippi at 2 p.m. For updated results and complete coverage of Arkansas women’s basketball, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.