Arkansas used a strong first half and then held on to defeat South Carolina 71-64 on Wednesday night in Bud Walton Arena.
Michael Qualls scored 20 points to lead the Razorbacks to its fourth win in five games.
Arkansas (17-9, 6-7) has now won four of its last five games with only a narrow loss at Missouri the only setback. Michael Qualls led the Razorbacks with 20 points while Coty Clarke added a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson was pleased to get the win even though his team didn't shoot the ball particularly well the final 20 minutes.
“It was a gut-wrenching performance by our basketball team,” Anderson said. “It was a tale of two halves it seemed like. We shot the ball really well in the first half, but the second half we just went stone cold.”
The Razorbacks led 40-29 at intermission, but saw the lead evaporate in the second half. The Gamecocks went on a 9-0 run to start the second half to pull within two points, 40-38, with 18:02 left in the game.
South Carolina (10-16, 3-10) fought all the way back to tie the game at 55 with 5:12 left in the game. However, Qualls hit a three-point shot with 4:40 remaining to give Arkansas the 58-55 lead and the game was never tied again. The Razorbacks scored the final five points in the game.
“We didn't panic,” Anderson said. “If we just rely on our defense we know good things will happen for us. The key is find a way to win.”
Arkansas shot 37.9 percent from the floor and only 32 percent from behind the three-point line.
“I thought we settled some in the second half as opposed to attacking the basket,” Anderson said. “Coming off that LSU game you knew there was going to be a dropoff, but we found a way to win.”
Brenton Williams led South Carolina with 29 points.
7— Blocks for the Razorbacks.
13— Arkansas' steals in the game.
42— Rebounds for Arkansas compared to 35 for the Gamecocks.
67.9— Free throw percentage for Arkansas compared to 80 percent for South Carolina.
Arkansas will now hit the road and be in Starkville on Saturday afternoon at 3 to take on Mississippi State in a game that will be televised on the SEC Network.