Clutch free throws in the final minutes and smothering defense on the last possession allowed USC to defeat Arkansas 79-77 Wednesday night in Fayetteville in a game in which the Gamecocks never trailed. The Gamecocks have won four of their last five games and are 12-8 overall, 4-3 in the SEC. It’s the first time this season USC has been above the .500 mark in league play. Arkansas, losing at home for just the second time this season, is 15-5 and 3-4.
Inside the Gamecocks win at Arkansas
- The Gamecocks had as much as a 9 point lead in the second half. The Razorbacks would get as close as 2 but over the final five minutes the Gamecocks, who were shooting 61% from the line, knocked down 8 of 10. They had just one basket, a three by Jair Bolden, during that stretch.
- Arkansas had the game’s final possession after Jermaine Couisnard’s free throw made it 79-77 with :26 to play. The Razorbacks came down the floor after a timeout and could not get off a shot before the ball went out of bounds off USC with :07 left. After another timeout, Arkansas worked the ball to Isiah Joe in the deep left corner. He was well covered and his three-ball was well off the mark.
- AJ Lawson led 4 Gamecocks in double figures with 19 points, his highest production since scoring 20 in the win over Clemson in December.
- The Gamecocks got a big lift from freshman point guard Trae Hannibal who was prominent in the second half and finished with a career high 11 points.
- The Gamecocks shot 51% from the floor, but just 52% from the foul line, where they were only 17-33. Arkansas went to the line 40 times and made 26. The teams where whistled for 57 fouls.
- Mason Jones led all scorers with 34 points, third time this season he’s scored at least 30 points.
- USC returns home Saturday afternoon to face Missouri.
- Final Box
Frank Martin postgame press conference