South Carolina Basketball: 3 thumbs up, 3 thumbs down from the Gamecocks' SEC Tournament win over Arkansas

South Carolina basketball rolled over Arkansas on Thursday to pick up a win in the SEC Tournament.

South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris and wing Myles Stute
South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris and wing Myles Stute / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
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On Thursday, South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris got paid in the morning (a contract extension that runs through the 2029-2023 season and pays him over $4 Million) and led his team to an SEC Tournament victory in the afternoon (an 80-66 thumping that wasn't as close as the final score).

The game didn't start in such a way that would suggest that a blowout in favor of the Gamecocks was on the horizon. Instead, Arkansas jumped ahead 11-3 in the early goings as USC had played more minutes on the floor than they had scored points.

From that point on, the Fighting Q-Zips went on a 73-41 run before the Gamecocks took the foot off of the gas. Carolina led by as many as 21 points before some garbage time buckets from Khalif Battle allowed them to cut the margin to a much more respectable-looking 80-66 final score.

The starting bigs for South Carolina were the story on offense as Collin Murray-Boyles and BJ Mack combined to score 43 points on 16-24 shooting from the field and 9-10 from the charity stripe.

Defensively, the Gamecocks caused a lot of problems for Arkansas, especially when they weren't able to get into the pick-and-roll game. When Coach Paris switched to the 1-3-1 zone at the end of the first half, the Hogs went scoreless and had 3 turnovers in the final 2 minutes of action. That stretch, coupled with a Meechie Johnson fullcourt drive at the buzzer, seemed to deflate the balloon of hope that kept Arkansas playing hard early.

USC didn't shoot it well from outside (just 20%), but they owned the paint. They outscored the opponent in the lane by 14 points, picked up 13 more points than UA on 2nd chance opportunities, and won the rebounding battle by 7.

Ta'Lon Cooper, Zach Davis, and Josh Gray contributed some good moments on offense, as well. Carolina will need all of those good moments and more on Friday as they take on the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.


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