COLUMBIA, S.C. - For the second time this season away from the friendly confines of Bud Walton Arena, Arkansas had a nine-point second-half lead and a treasured win in its sights.
But for the second time – as it did against Texas A&M – the Razorbacks could not close out things in regulation and were ice cold in overtime.
Ramon Galloway had 21 points off the bench and Sam Muldrow added 20 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocked shots as South Carolina rallied to down Arkansas 81-74 Wednesday night in SEC action before 11,005 fans at Colonial Life Arena.
" We are certainly disappointed and I hurt for our guys," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "I thought we played better than South Carolina tonight. It will show up in a lot of different places tonight except the win-loss column. And that's where it matters."
South Carolina (12-5, 3-1), coming into this game off of a home win over Vanderbilt and a road win at Florida, just kept coming to get the game into extra time after falling down by nine points midway through the second half.
The win gave the Gamecocks the SEC East lead while the loss kept the Razorbacks (12-5, 2-2) from grabbing a share of the SEC West lead with Alabama.
"I thought both teams played very, very hard and competed," Pelphrey said. "They forced our team to overtime and South Carolina won. We knew that we had to beat them; that they wouldn't go away. They are a resilient basketball team and very well coached."
Gamecocks head coach Darin Horn was understandably pleased with his team's finish.
Well, I guess we are not going to be boring at home," Horn said. "It was another tremendous college basketball game. It was pretty fun to be a part of. Both teams played really hard and made a lot of different plays. I am happy that we were able to get the stops when we needed them and make the plays when we did. It was a total team effort."
Razorback sophomore forward Marshawn Powell 15 of his season-high 21 points before halftime, but was plagued by foul trouble in a contest that had a whopping 50 fouls and 64 free throws.
Delvon Johnson added 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks for Arkansas, who was sparked in the second half by Julysess Nobles (12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists).
Nobles keyed a run that lifted the Razorbacks – who hit their first seven shots of the second half - from a 44-41 deficit into a 56-47 advantage with 10:43 left in the game.
Arkansas still led 70-65 when Nobles cashed in two free throws with 2:32 left in regulation, but did not score again until there were less than 90 seconds left in overtime.
During that time, the Gamecocks (12-5, 3-1) scored 11 straight points.
The Razorbacks shot 63.2 percent (12 of 19) from the field in the second half and 49 percent for the game (24 of 49).
But they did go without a field goal for over an eight-minute span from regulation into overtime.
"We didn't take care of the basketball and weren't able to finish plays," Pelphrey said of overtime.
That was in stark contrast to being down 8 points in the first half only to get it to 35-30 by halftime and then take a 41-39 lead on a monster dunk by Nobles with 17 minutes to play.
"I thought Julysses Nobles really came out in the second half got in the game and made some plays, steals and defense," Pelphrey said. "He made some lay ups, a couple tough drives and we were able to get to the free throw line. Then Marvell Waithe (8 points) finishing around the basket, and obviously he made a big three. Both guys helped us get in position to compete in the game."
Both team's leading scorers were certainly stymied at times by the defensive efforts.
Bruce Ellington, the Gamecocks' leading scorer, was scoreless at half before scoring 13 points in the second.
Arkansas' Rotnei Clarke was held to just 5 points in the contest.
But Galloway came off the bench for South Carolina and had 11 first-half points and was key down the stretch with a high-flying dunk and a 3-pointer with 2:15 left that cut it to 70-68.
"Obviously, Ramon Galloway was exceptional offensively tonight," Horn said. "He made some really big plays. Not just big buckets, it was when and how he did it. He got the crowd into it. The big three after the time out was a big play."
Malik Cooke added a double-double for the hosts with 11 points and 11 rebounds while Lakeem Jackson had 10 points the Gamecocks, who shot 40 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle 41-36.
The Razorbacks were 23 of 34 from the line while the Gamecocks were 20 of 30. Arkansas had 17 turnovers to South Carolina's 16.
Arkansas will play at Florida on Saturday night at 7 p.m. while South Carolina will host Kentucky on the same night.
South Carolina 81, Arkansas 74
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