Sophomore Michael Qualls did plenty of damage, but seniors Coty Clarke and Mardracus Wade threw the daggers that dashed spunky South Carolina's hopes in the final 70 seconds for cold-shooting Arkansas. Qualls scored 20 points, had 8 rebounds and dished out 4 assists as Arkansas held off a second-half rally by South Carolina for a 71-64 win on Wednesday night before 9,548 at Bud Walton Arena.
Wade hit a 3-pointer with 1:10 left as the Hogs swung the ball around the perimeter against the Carolina zone. That was just the eighth basket of the half for the Hogs, providing a 65-60 lead.
Clarke split a pair of free throws to give the Hogs a 67-64 lead with 16.6 seconds, but Carolina didn't get a chance at a tying bucket when Clarke and Wade trapped hot-shooting Brenton Williams on the sideline in front of his own bench for a turnover with 8.4 seconds left. The Hogs clinched it with four free throws in the closing seconds.
Qualls, who struggled mightily with his shooting to start conference play, finished 7 of 14 from the field - including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers - for the Razorbacks (17-9, 6-7 Southeastern Conference).
Clarke added 12 points and 12 rebounds for Arkansas, which has won two straight games and four of five overall.
Williams led the Gamecocks (10-16, 3-10) with 29 points, finishing 11 of 20 from the field -- including 6 of 13 on 3-pointers.
South Carolina, which finished 22 of 59 (37.3 percent) from the field, is now 0-10 on the road this season and has lost 17 straight road games.
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson was shaking his head about 10 first-half turnovers that allowed the Gamecocks to scrap their way back from a 17-point deficit to a 40-29 halftime score. The Gamecocks would open with a 9-0 run in the second half to make it 40-38 after three minutes.
"It was a tale of too halves," Anderson said. "We had unforced turnovers that kept South Carolina in it.
"And our shooting went down in the second half. Actually, we went cold (at 25 percent), and we couldn't even make a free throw. But we played defense. I also thought Bobby Portis, Michael Qualls, Coty Clarke and Moses Kingsley got on the glass."
The Hogs, so often beaten on the boards, won that battle, 42-35. If it were not for a 5-for-5 explosion from Williams on threes, Carolina had little offense.
"We just lost him," Anderson said. "We were playing pressure defense and at times helping in and lost him. He wasn't hitting early, but he kept them in it and turned it into a one possession game."
It was Williams who got trapped when it was a one-possession game. Carolina coach Frank Martin said his team went against one of his principles for playing against an Anderson-coached team.
"We always talked about this when he was at Missouri," Wright said. "You don't play with the ball on the sideline.
"We had a bad turnover trying to run a play we like late in the game. The play started bad from the get go. Our forward brought it up and came to the sideline with the ball. Arkansas played it well and trapped it."
Wade was on Williams tight. Clarke jumped it for a double team when the hand off was made.
"I saw my guy dribble it to him," Clarke said. "It was a ball hand off and their forward had not been rolling to the basket, so I just trapped.
"It's about getting stops at that point. It's like we have been working on in practice. We try to get four stops in the last two minutes of practice and that's what we did. The last part of stops is to get the rebound."
Anderson said there is some risk to a trap at that point in a game.
"It's a risk-reward thing," he said. "They wanted to go to Brenton and Coty did a good job. You talk about the element of surprise. There is risk, but we got a little reward."
Martin was impressed with Wade's three.
"Give Wade credit," Martin said. "Brenton was a step late. Wade jumped up and made a three. He's a guy who has been struggling, but he stepped up for his team."
Wade said, "It's a boost to my confidence. I've been in the gym working. I've been shooting it well in practice."
Qualls said it's extra time in the gym that has returned his shooting form to normal.
"This time of year, it's who is working the hardest," Qualls said. "You have to out-work your opponent. I've just spent extra time in the gym."
Martin was complimentary.
"He's been playing well of late and is one of the best players in the conference," he said. "He's fun to watch.
"I like to watch Arkansas. I think Arkansas is good. They are starting to play Mike Anderson ball and it's fun to watch them.
"I was disappointed with some things we did in the first half, but we played with resolve."
That's what Portis showed after Carolina had scored 15 straight to cut it to one bucket early in the second half. Portis turned it over, but chased the play down from behind for a block on a fast-break layup. He made a steal that led to free throws to stop the Carolina run just seconds later.
"I always say that's one of our staples, a hustle play after a mistake," Anderson said. "He made a mistake but hustled and then got the crowd back into it. It was a critical point in the game.
"I thought we were real flat in the second half. We finally figured it out and turned up the intensity."
Michael Qualls had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and a block in the win.
Arkansas senior guard Fred Gulley splits two defenders in a chase for a loose ball on Wednesday night.
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin voices his complaint to a referee.
Arkansas 71, South Carolina 64
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016