FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Behind a 20-point night from sophomore Michael Qualls (@Mr_WalkOnAir) and a double-double by senior Coty Clarke (@CTC_4), the Arkansas men’s basketball team fought off a second half charge by South Carolina for a 71-64 win on Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.
Qualls poured in 10 points in each half en route to his second 20-point game of the season, hitting 4-of-7 from long range while adding eight rebounds. Clarke’s second double-double of the season saw the Birmingham, Ala. product fill up the stat sheet to the tune of 12 points, a game-high 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals. The duo’s 20 combined rebounds, including eight on the offensive end, were a big part of Arkansas’ 42-35 edge on the glass.
The win is the fourth in the last five games for the Razorbacks, who improve to 17-9 on the season and 6-7 in the SEC. The Gamecocks (10-16, 3-10) saw their two-game win streak come to end despite getting 29 points from senior Brenton Williams on 11-of-20 shooting, highlighted by 6-of-13 from three.
Each team supplied a big run in the game with Arkansas’ (20-2) coming in the first half and South Carolina’s (20-2) carrying from the end of the first to the second. After leading by as many as 17, the Razorbacks held a slim 66-64 lead with 21 seconds left. The layup by Williams that made it a two-point game with 21 seconds left was the last shot the Gamecocks would get, as they turned the ball over in their last two possessions while Arkansas hit five of its last six free throws to prevail with the win.
Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
Trailing 21-20 just over 11 minutes into the game, Arkansas unleashed a 20-2 run that saw it hold South Carolina without points on nine of 10 possessions. During the run, Arkansas hit 8-of-13 from the field and scored seven points off five Gamecock turnovers. Senior Fred Gulley (@FG_3_) was the catalyst during the run, scoring all six of his points while assisting on eight other points with three helpers.
Key(s) To The Contest
On a night were it struggled from the field in the second half, Arkansas was able to make up for its 38 percent clip (22-58) by grabbing 18 offensive rebounds to extend their possessions. Many of those extended possessions resulted in trips to the free throw line where the Razorbacks were 19-of-28 compared to 12-of-15 from the Gamecocks. Arkansas’ other big advantage came in points off turnovers where it turned 19 South Carolina miscues into 23 points.
@RazorbackMBB Quick Hits
Ø Arkansas has four wins in a five-game span in February for the second straight year.
Ø The Razorbacks improved to 14-2 at Bud Walton Arena.
Ø Arkansas own a 15-11 all-time series lead against South Carolina.
Ø Arkansas’ 18 offensive rebounds were its second-best total of the year.
Ø Arkansas out-scored South Carolina 21-7 in bench points and has out-scored its opponent in 21 of 26 games.
Ø Qualls reached double figures for the fourth straight game, a career-long in SEC play.
Ø Qualls has hit 16 of his last 29 from three.
Ø Arkansas is 5-1 when Qualls leads the way in scoring this season.
Ø Clarke’s double is the third of his career.
Ø Clarke has reached double figures in four straight games, averaging 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds over that span.
Ø Clarke’s four steals gives him a season-high 36 on the season and 10 multi-steal games.
Ø Clarke led the way in assists for the 10th time this year.
Ø Freshman Bobby Portis (@BPortisTime) blocked five shots and has taken over the team lead with 40.
Ø Senior Mardracus Wade (@WadeNoDwyane) had his 40th career multi-steal game.
Ø Wade went 2-for-4 for three and now has 120 career three-pointers.
Coach Anderson Postgame Sound
“It was a hard-fought win and I’m happy we were able to come out on top on a night where we didn’t play our best. Coach Martin’s teams always play hard and when we got out to the big lead we knew they would fight right back. We can learn from games like this and know that on nights when we don’t have it that we have to play even harder to get the win. We have to hang our hats on our defense. I thought we did that tonight.”
Ø Scored 20 points off turnovers for the 14th time this year.
Ø Arkansas has won the turnover battle in 29 of its last 30 games, including 25 of 26 this season.
Ø Arkansas’ 13 steals are its most in SEC play this season.
Ø Arkansas is 6-2 when coming away with double-digit steals.
@RazorbackMBB Postgame Tweetables (140 Characters Or Less)
Ø .@RazorbackMBB picked up its fourth win in the last five games with a 71-64 victory over South Carolina tonight. #WeHOGS
Ø .@MikeAndersonUA clinched his 12th straight winning season & is one of 10 current coaches with no losing seasons and 10+ years of experience
Social Media Recap aka the #Fastest140Characters
Did you get in on the in-game conversation through Twitter at @RazorbackMBB during tonight’s 71-64 win over South Carolina? Checkout the social media recap aka #TheFastest140Characers from tonight’s game and join in next time by mentioning @RazorbackMBB or utilizing the hashtag #Fastest40. Join the 19,600+ by following @RazorbackMBB on Twitter and don’t forget about Facebook (/RazorbackMBB) and Instagram (@RazorbackMBB).
#Fastest140Characters > http://tinyurl.com/l3l6pbl
@RazorbackMBB will look pull its SEC record to .500 when it travels to Starkville, Miss. on Saturday to take on Mississippi State (13-13, 3-10). Tip is slated for 3 p.m. on SEC TV. A full list of affiliates that will carry the game will be provided leading up to the contest.