Lawson scores 19; South Carolina holds off Arkansas 79-77

Lawson scores 19; South Carolina holds off Arkansas 79-77
AJ Lawson scored 19 points as South Carolina held on for a road win over Arkansas on Wednesday (Source: South Carolina Athletics)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- A.J. Lawson scored 19 points for South Carolina and the Gamecocks never trailed but needed an Arkansas missed 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 79-77 victory on Wednesday night.

The Gamecocks (12-8, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) shot 51% from the field, using their size and strength advantage to the effect of 36 points in the paint. Maik Kotsar, Trae Hannibal and Jair Bolden joined Lawson in double figures, scoring 10, 11 and 12, respectively.

Mason Jones finished with 34 points and 12 rebounds to lead Arkansas (15-5, 3-4). Isaiah Joe, who missed Arkansas' win on Saturday against TCU with knee inflammation, came off the bench to add 16 points.

The Razorbacks tied the game only once when Jones' driving lay-up and subsequent free throw knotted it at 40-all with about 19 minutes left. South Carolina made five of its next six from the floor and rebuilt its lead to nine.

Arkansas pulled to 78-77 on a pair of Jones free throws with 28 seconds to play and had the final possession with 26 seconds left, but Joe missed a 3-point shot from the corner.

South Carolina's edge in the inside was more pronounced. Arkansas, which played just one player taller than 6-foot-6, was challenged at the rim and shot just 32% in the first half and 41 % for the game.

KEY STATS

> The Gamecocks shot 50.9 percent (28-for-55), the team's second straight game shooting greater than 50 percent. Carolina is 61-of-116 (52.6 percent) from the floor its last two SEC games.

> South Carolina's bench outscored the Razorback reserves, 37-25. The Gamecocks are 10-2 when their bench outscores their opponents in the 2019-20 season.

> Carolina never trailed in tonight's victory, leading for 37:42 of regulation. The Gamecocks were up six at the break and improve to 11-2 this season when leading at halftime.

NOTABLES

> Sophomore AJ Lawson had his best game in conference play, leading South Carolina with 19 points. His eight made field goals tied a career-high for the ninth time (fourth time this season).

> In the past four games, Lawson is 22-for-39 (56.4%) from the field.

> Freshman Trae Hannibal scored a career-high 11 points off the bench, all in the second half.

> Redshirt junior Jair Bolden led the bench with 12 points (10 in the second half), his 13th game in double figures this season.

> Senior Maik Kotsar nearly had his second double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

> Nine different players scored for the Gamecocks in another balanced offensive effort.

> Tonight's victory marks South Carolina's third quadrant one win of the season and second on the road.

> The Gamecocks, who picked up their first win in Bud Walton Arena since 2016, have now won back-to-back games against the Razorbacks for the first time since the 2008 and 2009 SEC regular seasons.

UP NEXT

Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena on Saturday to host Missouri at 3:30 p.m. ET. Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Pat Bradley (analyst) will have the call for the SEC Network broadcast vs. the Tigers (10-10, 2-5 SEC).