COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Freshman Evaldus Baniulis’ layup put South Carolina ahead and Tre Kelley had 22 points as the Gamecocks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 66-60 victory over Arkansas on Wednesday night.
The Gamecocks (11-7, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) have struggled their past three home games at the Colonial Center, losing by a combined 88 points. This time, South Carolina held off the taller, stronger Razorbacks thanks to Kelley and the timely inside bucket by Baniulis.
With the game tied at 56, Bryce Sheldon missed a 3-pointer and teammate Brandon Wallace tipped the ball off the backboard. There was Baniulis, all by himself, for the simple shot that gave South Carolina the lead for good with 2:11 to play.
After Gary Ervin missed a 3-pointer for the Razorbacks, Kelley hit a 14-foot jumper to put the Gamecocks up 60-56.
Arkansas (13-7, 2-4) could get no closer. The Razorbacks dropped to 0-5 on the road this season and kept the six SEC Western Division teams winless in 16 games away from home this season.
Darian Townes led the Razorbacks with 17 points. For a while, it looked like Townes would bring Arkansas its first road victory. His inside basket with 7:14 to go gave the Razorbacks a 53-51 lead. He followed with a three-point play two minutes later that tied the game at 56.
Dominique Archie had 13 points for the Gamecocks, while Wallace had four points and 13 rebounds.
This game looked very much like the others South Carolina’s played during its two weeks of struggles with Arkansas gliding out to a 26-21 lead.
But Kelley got some help from his teammates to pull the Gamecocks back with a 14-4 run to close the opening half.
Kelley started the charge with a basket and a 3-pointer. Then Dominique Archie followed with a tip in and a 3 of his own. Finally Dwayne Day broke out for two running layups after Gamecock steals to send South Carolina into the break ahead 37-30.
It was the Gamecocks first halftime advantage since leading Western Carolina 29-28 on Jan. 3. That was also South Carolina’s last victory.
Arkansas didn’t help itself in the opening period with 13 turnovers.
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