FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -Devan Downey scored 28 points, including a tough fadeaway from about 6 feet with 23.7 seconds remaining in South Carolina’s 70-66 win over Arkansas on Wednesday night.
Downey also added six steals to help the Gamecocks (9-8, 1-2) withstand a big second half by Arkansas’ Sonny Weems. South Carolina avenged a 30-point loss to the Razorbacks in last season’s Southeastern Conference tournament.
Arkansas (13-4, 2-1) trailed by as many as eight in the second half but rallied to tie it, thanks largely to Weems. The senior swingman scored 21 of his 28 points after halftime, but it wasn’t enough.
With South Carolina up by 2, the 5-foot-9 Downey drove past Patrick Beverley on the perimeter, then pulled up for a difficult fadeaway to make it 68-64. Weems scored with 11.8 seconds remaining, but Downey made a pair of free throws with 9.5 seconds to play for the final margin.
Arkansas trailed 33-32 at halftime, and South Carolina pushed the lead to eight at 54-46. The Razorbacks finally tied it at 58 on Steven Hill’s free throw.
Beverley then knocked the ball away from Downey, but the South Carolina guard got the ball back and was fouled by Beverley while attempting a long 3-pointer. He made two of the three free throws with 4:21 remaining to put the Gamecocks ahead to stay.
Dominique Archie tipped in a miss to give South Carolina a 62-58 advantage, and he made a pair of free throws a short while later to make it 66-61. Weems answered with a 3-pointer with 50.7 seconds remaining, but Arkansas couldn’t get the one extra defensive stop it needed.
Downey played all 40 minutes and went 9-of-18 from the field. He also had four assists. He finished the first half with 14 points and five steals, and South Carolina took the lead with a late 10-0 run.
Arkansas 7-footer Steven Hill scored 12 points in the first half on 6-of-6 shooting, but he finished with only 15. The 6-foot-1 Beverley, who dislocated his jaw in a win Sunday over Alabama, had five points and 12 rebounds.
Archie scored 10 points for the Gamecocks, and Zam Fredrick added 14.
South Carolina went 8-of-21 from 3-point range, and Arkansas was 3-of-14. The Razorbacks turned the ball over 19 times.
Arkansas plays at Georgia at 6 p.m. (Central) on Saturday in a game televised by FSN.