USC (22-9) beat Arkansas (12-16) 91-81 Thursday in Atlanta in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament - a game that the Gamecocks led from the three minute mark on, it was never in doubt.
USC faces LSU in second round action Friday.
Michael Boynton, the senior point guard from New York, made hay on the foul line going 17-19 from the charity stripe - the Gamecocks were 39-50 as a team shooting 78%.
Josh Gonner poured in 18 points and Terence Kinsey had a double-double with 14 points and a career high 11 rebounds.
The Razorbacks ended the 2003/04 campaign with only their second losing effort in 27 years.
The Gamecocks will face-off against LSU at 3:15 on Friday in quarterfinal action for the right to advance to the semis. LSU drew a bye in the first round as the second place team from the West.
South Carolina was 20-50 from the floor in the game. 8-22 from beyond the arch, five of those by Boynton. They went 39-50 from the line, pulled down 39 rebounds, turned the ball over only 11 times, had 12 assists, shot 44% from the floor and 40% from 3-pt range.
In other first round action, all blow-outs:
Georgia defeated Auburn.
Vanderbilt defeated Ole Miss.
Alabama defeated Tennessee.
Friday's second round games:
Georgia verses Kentucky
South Carolina verses LSU
Vandy verses MSU
Alabama verses Florida
With the win over Arkansas the Gamecocks have secured a place in the Big Dance - but will be playing for improved seeding from this point forward.
Projected as a seven or eight seed at the moment, another win could move the Gamecocks into a sixth seeding. Three tourney wins could move them into a fifth seed.
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