Behind 20 points and six rebounds off the bench from junior guard Brian Richardson, South Carolina (12-7, 12-5 SEC) defeated Arkansas (12-7, 3-3 SEC) 75-54 at Colonial Life Arena for its first home conference win of the season. The 21-point margin of victory is the largest in conference play since an 18-point win over Kentucky on Feb. 25, 2009. It is the first margin of at least 20 points in SEC play since an 83-61 win over Mississippi State on Feb. 11, 2006. Both of the wins occurred at Colonial Life Arena.
Richardson's 20 points matched a career high he set against Mississippi State earlier this year. Junior guard Bruce Ellington scored 14 and senior forward Lakeem Jackson added 11 points in the victory. Freshmen forwards Laimonas Chatkevicius and Michael Carrera scored eight points each with Chatkevicius grabbing a team-high seven rebounds.
Junior forward Marshawn Powell recorded 22 points at 13 rebounds for Arkansas. Both totals were game highs. He was the only Razorback to reach double figures. Junior guard Rickey Scott scored nine points with sophomore guard BJ Young and junior forward Coty Clarke adding seven apiece.
South Carolina outrebounded Arkansas 42-26, the largest margin in SEC play this season. All but two Gamecocks that entered the game recorded at least three boards in the contest. After only recording six turnovers in the first half, South Carolina ended the game with 18 that lead to 26 points for Arkansas.
Arkansas scored the first five points of the game before Carrera put the Gamecocks on the board with a free throw. Arkansas opened up a 15-3 lead 4:21 into the game, prompting a South Carolina timeout.
After the timeout, the shots began to fall for the Gamecocks as they scored 13 unanswered points. Richardson scored on consecutive possessions with a jumper and a 3-pointer. Slawson scored just before the second media timeout to pull the South Carolina within one at 14-15.
The Gamecocks took their first lead of the game at 16-15 on a Carrera basket with 10:06 on the clock.
Young scored in transition for the Razorbacks to briefly reclaim the upperhand, but Slawson split a pair of shots from the free throw line to tie the game. Jackson hit just the fifth 3 of his career to break the tie and Richardson drained one on the next possession to give South Carolina a six-point cushion.
Ellington and Richardson scored the next 10 points for the Gamecocks, each with a two-point bucket and a 3 to stretch the lead to 14 at 33-19.
Ellington added another 3-pointer and Smith hit 3 as the shot clock was expiring to give the Gamecocks their largest lead of the half at 19.
Both of the teams scored in the final six seconds of the half, Ellington with a layup for the Gamecocks and Powell dunked the ball as the buzzer went off to end the period.
In the final 15:39 of the first half, the Gamecocks outscored the Razorbacks 40-11 for a 43-26 lead. South Carolina was bolstered by 7-of-10 three point shooting. The Gamecocks were 17-of-29 (58.6%) from the field for the half. Richardson scored 13 first-half points, including three shots from behind the arc.
Out of the break, South Carolina stretched their 15-point lead to 19 just 2:41 into the second half. Richardson hit Carrera on a break for a thunderous dunk to give the Gamecocks their first 20-point advantage at 52-32 with 14:19 to go in the game.
Arkansas tried to crawl back into the game, getting as close as 12 on a Powell dunk with 10:37 on the clock, but they would get no closer as the Gamecocks scored the next nine points.
With 5:07 to go, Chatkevicius added a basket to give the Gamecocks their largest lead of the game at 71-46. At the final media timeout of the game, the Gamecocks led 71-50 and the home team cruised to the 75-54 win.
The Gamecocks travel to Florida for another SEC contest on Wed., Jan. 30. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. and is slated to be broadcast on the SEC Network.