USC overcame 15 first half turnovers with a 46 point second half and pulled away to a 77-65 win over Arkansas Saturday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. The win improves the Gamecocks to 7-3 in the SEC and keeps them in fourth place in the league standings. They are 12-11 overall. The win also snaps a three game losing streak to Arkansas and is USC’s first win in Columbia over the Razorbacks since 2013.
The Gamecocks’ 15 first half turnovers led to 16 Arkansas points. The Razorbacks led by 11 late in the half but that’s when the Gamecocks finally settled down and started to make their move. A 12-5 run cut the deficit to four at the break. Arkansas rebuilt the lead to 13 five minutes into the second half. Seven straight points by AJ Lawson sparked USC’s response and they finished the game on a 40-15 run, including 10-0 spurt to close things out.
Lawson and fellow freshman Keyshawn Bryant were in the middle of everything during that decisive stretch combining for 26 of those final 40 points. And the Gamecocks also flipped the turnover story forcing 9 by Arkansas in the second half while committing just six themselves.
Defensively, USC was able to contain Arkansas’ leading scorer Daniel Gafford. Coming in averaging 17 points per game, Gafford managed just 5 shot attempts and 8 points. He did get into foul trouble and was limited to 22 minutes.
Lawson led the Gamecocks with 24 points. Bryant added 17 and Chris Silva had 16 points and 8 rebounds. The Gamecocks started 3-11 from the floor but finished 16-22 for a 54% night including 10-15 from three-point range.
The Gamecocks are back in action Wednesday night at top ranked Tennessee.
Frank Martin postgame press conference