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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South Carolina Basketball vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Thumbs Up 1: Fabulous Frontcourt

The Gamecocks were dominant in the paint on Thursday, and as one might expect, that came on the back of their big fellas.

Collin Murray-Boyles led the team in scoring with 24 points on 11-15 shooting. He also chipped in 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals. He simply could not be stopped on either side of the court, no matter what Arkansas tried to do.

BJ Mack added 19 strong points, shooting better than 50% from the field and going a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line. He also had his best rebounding performance in a while, snagging 9 boards.

Backup big man Josh Gray got in on the action, as well. The 7-footer scored 8 points (with 3 dunks) and added 2 assists and 2 rebounds in just 14 minutes on the floor.

The trio (plus a few spot minutes with Myles Stute playing a small-ball 4), limited Arkansas to just 16 layup attempts for the whole game and won the rebounding battle, the 2nd chance points matchup, and the points in the paint total.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Thumbs Up 2: Protecting the Basketball

Limiting's what the Gamecocks do.

That all starts with point guard Ta'Lon Cooper. The senior leader had just 1 giveaway in 35 minutes of basketball as the team's primary ball handler. He only had 3 assists in the game, but he had several more passes that would have ended up as assists had the Gamecock on the receiving end of the pass not gotten fouled by an Arkansas defender.

Other than Morris Ugusuk's 3 turnover, the Gamecocks gave the ball away 5 times for the whole game (1 being a questionable-at-best offensive foul against BJ Mack). The 8 total turnovers is the type of number USC strives for each night, and if they keep up that level of possession protection, they could make some noise in Nashville.

South Carolina Basketball vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
Thumbs Up 3: Defending Tramon Mark

Arkansas has two major offensive threats in Khalif Battle and Tramon Mark. The last time the two teams played, Mark was the one who lit up the scoreboard against Carolina despite being the focal point of Lamont Paris' defensive gameplan.

On Thursday, however, the Gamecocks took Mark out of the game. Usually scoring 15 points per night, Mark had just 2 in their season finale as Carolina forced him into the same number of turnovers as he got up just 4 shot attempts in 35 minutes.

Ta'Lon Cooper, Meechie Johnson, Zach Davis, and Jacobi Wright all spent significant time guarding Mark, and none of them allowed him to get to his spots on the floor.