Sindarius Thornwell scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds as South Carolina ended a two-game losing streak with a 76-61 win at Arkansas on Saturday.
The win gives the Gamecocks (24-7, 11-7 Southeastern Conference) their most victories since the 1996-97 season, and they matched their most conference wins since 1997-98.
With leading scorer Michael Carrera out with an injury, Thornwell added six assists and finished 9 of 17 from the field. Duane Notice added 15 points for South Carolina, while Laimonas Chatkevicius had 11 and Mindaugas Kacinas 10.
Dusty Hannahs and Anthlon Bell had 16 points each to lead the Razorbacks (16-15, 9-9), while Moses Kingsley added 13 points.
The loss is the fifth at home this season for Arkansas, the most in one season under coach Mike Anderson. The Razorbacks lost four home games, including one in North Little Rock, in Anderson’s first season in 2011-12, and they finished this regular season 13-5 in Bud Walton Arena.
South Carolina, meanwhile, put an emphatic finish on a regular season that started 15-0 before late-season struggles that saw them lose four of six games entering Saturday.
The Gamecocks only trailed early in the game before using a 15-2 run to open a 29-16 lead – capped by Thornwell’s second 3-pointer of the game.
South Carolina didn’t let up in the second half, opening on a 20-5 run that saw it take a 56-29 lead after a putback by Chatkevicius. The Gamecocks finished 28 of 55 (50.9 percent) from the field and outrebounded Arkansas 41-26.
Arkansas entered Saturday having won four straight games and with faint hopes of reaching the postseason.
However, they trailed 36-24 at halftime and by as many as 27 early in the second half – struggling mightily to shoot the ball against a South Carolina defense that entered the game fourth in the SEC in defensive field goal percentage.
The Razorbacks did rally to cut the Gamecocks’ lead to nine points several times late in the game, but they were unable to overcome a first half in which they shot 26.9 percent (7 of 26).
South Carolina: Thornwell scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half, and he matched his career-best with the 11 rebounds – equaling the total he had at Georgia on Feb. 2. The junior was also 2 of 3 on 3-pointers.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks opened the game hitting 4 of their first 18 shots, and Bell finished 6 of 17 from the field.
Both teams next play at the SEC tournament next week.