Well, easy might be too strong of a word, but there was little drama in Arkansas' 20-point victory over South Carolina. Mike Anderson was even able to put in all the reserves in the last few minutes, a first in SEC play this year.
The game was actually pretty close through most of the 1st half. The Razorbacks were in a 6-point deficit a few minutes into the game, but the Hogs then went on an 18-3 run kickstarted by seven straight points from Anton Beard, and Arkansas kept the lead for good. It was a seven point game at halftime but Alandise Harris hit a couple of jumpers to start the second half and Arkansas kept a double digit lead through most of the second half.
South Carolina struggled to get anything going once their star Sindarius Thornwell went to the bench in the first half with three fouls. He still finished with 16 points in 27 minutes.
Bobby Portis had a double double - again. The Razorbacks' sophomore star had 18 points and 13 rebounds tonight, shooting 7-13 from the field. Michael Qualls was really struggling to score early on, going 0-7 before halftime. But he was able to nearly scrape together a double-double by the end of the night after scoring 11 in the second half and grabbing 9 rebounds for the game. After the game Qualls was "a little gimpy" after taking a fall but Mike Anderson didn't seem too concerned. Anderson said they'd check him out with the training staff to find out for sure.
Most of the team was able to contribute. Ky Madden had 9 points and 5 assists. Alandise Harris and Jacorey Williams both had 7 points. Anthlon Bell and Moses Kingsley both had 6 points.
Overall, the Hogs didn't shoot that well, finishing with 39.4%, which is slightly lower than they shot at Florida, but the difference was in Arkansas' ability to get to the free throw line. The Razorbacks took 22 freebies and made 17. It was a good defensive performance as well, as South Carolina shot just 27.9%.
The win improves Arkansas to 6-3 in SEC play, still tied for 3rd place in the league with Ole Miss and LSU, who both play later in the week. South Carolina came into the game with an RPI just outside the top 100, so this was a game Arkansas really needed to win. The Gamecocks were expected to be one of the sneaky-good teams in the SEC this season, especially after defeating Iowa State in December on a neutral court, but they've struggled in the first half of SEC games. If they can play better in February this has potential to be a nice resume win.