Arkansas Holds Off South Carolina To Reach SEC Quarterfinals
Mar 10 2018 by Kathy Alvarado
Jaylen Barford is averaging 17.9 points and 3.9 rebounds while Daryl Macon is averaging 17 points and four assists. Should Arkansas defeat Florida, the Hogs would play the victor of Tennessee-Mississippi State game at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Freshman Daniel Gafford added 16 points and also matched his career-best with 12 rebounds, keying an effort that saw the Razorbacks outrebound the Gators 43-28.
Arkansas trailed for the first 19:05, but with 4:51 to play in the first half the Gators hit a wall - a big part of it because Arkansas' perimeter defense had stepped up big time after a slow start. The Razorbacks entered the game 12th in the SEC in free-throw percentage (67 percent), but they continued to shoot the ball well from the line in the second half - finishing 23 of 26 (88.5 percent) overall in the win. Arkansas led for 5 minutes and 9 seconds before Stone' 3-pointer but never relinquished the lead. He did so a night after hitting a key late 3-pointer in the Razorbacks opening win over SC, finishing 9 of 17 from the field and showing off his usual array of physical finishes around the rim for all of the SEC to see. Defensively, Arkansas yields 75.7 points per game against the opposing teams.
"I don't think we played very well in this game", Macon said. Keith Stone led Florida with 22 points and 5 rebounds in 24 minutes.
The win is the seventh in the last nine games for the sixth-seeded Razorbacks (22-10), who advance to face No. 3 seed Florida on Friday night.
The Razorbacks face second-seeded Tennessee on Saturday. The Arkansas Razorbacks are averaging 81.6 points on 48 percent shooting and allowing 75.4 points on 42.5 percent shooting. Darious Hall answered the bell early and often, leading No. 6 Arkansas to a 69-64 win over No. 11 SC.
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Barford anticipated a pass to the top of the key and made a steal for an easy layup to give Arkansas a 7-point lead, but SC scored five straight points to cut Arkansas' lead to 2.
South Carolina, which defeated Ole Miss, 85-84, in Wednesday's opening round, struggled hitting just 38.3 percent of its shots from the field and just 8 of 25 from three-point land.
South Carolina: The loss puts an end to any hopes South Carolina had of returning to the NCAA Tournament, where it reached the school's first Final Four a year ago. The game will be televised on SEC Network.
The Razorbacks took a 7-point lead on a 1 of 2 showing at the free throw line by Barford with 7:56 left to move the Hogs ahead 55-48.