Sure. Why not?
This Razorback team is more reliable on the road than at home. It’s absurd. The Hogs just beat a ranked team on the road to clinch a winning SEC road record for the second time in Mike Anderson’s tenure, and put them squarely back on the good side of the NCAA Tournament bubble.
As Arkansas does this season, they basically gave South Carolina five free minutes to start the game. The Gamecocks put the Razorbacks in a 14-point hole less than six minutes into the game.
And once again, it was easy to think the Hogs would get blown out. So many have been trying to check out on this team, it seems like, but Arkansas just keeps finding a way to stay alive.
This time, the 14-point deficit was erased almost immediately. Down 14, Arkansas went on a 23-2 run to take a 9-point lead, and they’d go into the half up by seven points.
The second half was just a constant teeth-gnashing - seemingly able to lose the lead at any moment, but it never happened. Arkansas maintained a single-digit lead throughout the second half (save for a pair of early and brief moments when Arkansas was up 10). South Carolina was within a single point in the final minutes when Manny Watkins hit an all-time junk shot with one second on the shot clock:
The one that SEALED it! pic.twitter.com/MBxmt1v5oi— Razorback Basketball (@RazorbackMBB) February 16, 2017
After that, Arkansas got a pair of stops and Daryl Macon iced the game with four free throws, and the Hogs are flying home with their best win of the season.
Jaylen Barford tied his season high with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Dusty Hannahs scored 20 points and was 4-7 beyond the arc. Moses Kingsley had one of his better games of the season, scoring 16 points with 7 rebounds and 4 blocks. He was also 6-7 from the free throw line. Free throw shooting has been a key for Arkansas this season. Macon was 6-6 from the stripe, which pushed him to 13 points off the bench.
Arkansas’ effort was enough to hold off South Carolina star Sindarius Thornwell’s game-high 27 points. Gamecock coach Frank Martin was dressed in an untucked Cuban-style shirt, but it looked like he’d taken off his jacket and ripped his shirt out sloppy-like. It was that kind of game.
The win is obviously big for Arkansas’ NCAA Tournament hopes, but the only thing that matters is that Arkansas continues winning. The Hogs’ next two games are at Bud Walton (Saturday against Ole Miss and Wednesday against Texas A&M). Arkansas needs win those home games or this game will be quickly forgotten and they’ll be squarely back on the bubble.