South Carolina Zone Slows Down Hogs

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Arkansas guard Jonathon Modica used the word "inconsistent" to describe the Razorbacks' offense during the 64-52 loss at South Carolina on Wednesday night.

Center Darian Townes opted for "dull" and "pathetic."

Either way, it was obvious the quiet Arkansas locker room wasn't searching for positive words after trudging through their worst offensive outing of the season.

The Hogs shot 31.1 percent from the field (19 of 61), scored 25 points in the game's first 28 minutes and struggled to crack South Carolina's zone defense. On top of the season-low output, it also was Arkansas' lowest offensive outing in the 16-game series against South Carolina.

The previous low came during a 62-60 loss to the Gamecocks in Fayetteville during the 2001-02 season. The Razorbacks' previous scoring low this season was the 80-55 loss at Mississippi State on Jan. 15.

"It was hard to finish a possession," Townes said. "We couldn't finish a play. Our jump shots were off. We've just got to go back in the gym tomorrow and work on that, keep our heads high and just got to keep going and keep playing basketball."

The Razorbacks could do little against South Carolina, which entered the game intent on slowing Arkansas' ability to get up and down the floor at a rapid pace.

South Carolina coach Dave Odom used a 2-3 zone most of the night, cut off the interior and didn't give Arkansas a chance to penetrate from the perimeter. Arkansas couldn't find space -- or good looks -- against a defense that also sprung traps on the Razorbacks at opportune times and rarely allowed easy baskets.

Arkansas scored just four fast-break points.

"They played very well in that zone," Modica said. "It was hard to get it in there. The perimeter didn't do a good job of penetrating and making something happen. We just missed shots. We didn't hit our shots that we usually do.

"A lot of times, they forced us to take a lot of jump shots."

Arkansas guard Ronnie Brewer scored a game-high 20, but coach Stan Heath said the Razorbacks found little help elsewhere. Arkansas' intent was to get the ball inside to Townes and let him work against South Carolina, but the Gamecocks didn't give Arkansas any breathing room and jump shots didn't fall.

Arkansas was 6 of 24 (25 percent) behind the 3-point line, but knocked down two of them late in the game. Modica and guards Olu Famutimi, Eric  Ferguson, Dontell Jefferson finished with 25 points on a combined 8 of 31 shooting.

"We wanted to go to Townes, but they made it hard for him to touch it and doubled him when he got it anyway," Heath said. "They played a lot of zone so the zone surrounded the inside. We shot too many 3s, more than we wanted to."

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