South Carolina has lost four straight games for the first time in three years.
Arkansas on Tuesday became the latest USC opponent to drop the Gamecocks. The hard-pressing Razorbacks dictated pace en route to an 81-65 victory at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
USC fell to 13-11 overall and 4-7 in the SEC. Arkansas improved to 16-8 and 5-6.
“We couldn’t run offense,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said in a radio interview with the Gamecock Sports Network. “We’d come down and guys with the ball, they’d take it from their hands. We couldn’t pass the ball from the point to the wing. Could never get guys to the right place offensively.”
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The Razorbacks scored 26 points off USC’s 18 turnovers.
Carolina trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half and couldn’t get any closer than 12 in the final 10 minutes. The Gamecocks missed nine of their first 11 shots in the second half, allowing opening period momentum to slip away.
Martin started Hassani Gravett at point guard – in place of Wes Myers – for the first time since Dec. 27. Carolina offensively kept up with Arkansas in the early going. It trailed 43-38 at the break as Gravett had 10 points and the Gamecocks were shooting nearly 46 percent from the field.
On the second half’s opening possession, Arkansas’ Daryl Macon made a wild 3-pointer before the shot clock expired, continuing one of the game’s main themes.
The Razorbacks stayed hot the majority of the night.
USC’s perimeter defense, an issue in losses to Texas Tech, Mississippi State and Texas A&M, was again in the spotlight. Macon and Jaylen Barford, Arkansas’ senior backcourt, combined for 49 points, including 25 for Macon.
“That’s what they do,” Martin said. “It’s not like they just did it tonight, they do it every game. That’s why they’re good players, that’s why they’re leaders on their team. And that’s why they beat us and we’re searching for anybody to help us play the game the right way.”
Arkansas shot 47.2 percent for the game. South Carolina has now allowed its opponent to top 80 points three straight games for the first time in the six-year Martin era.
“You foul them 23 times and turn it over 18,” Martin said, “you’re not beating anybody -- let alone an SEC team on the road.”
South Carolina was led by Gravett’s 12 points. Kory Holden, playing his second game since Dec. 19, added 11. Justin Minaya, who returned to the starting lineup after a game’s absence, had 11 points and four rebounds.
The Gamecocks are back home Saturday against Florida.