The South Carolina men’s basketball team fell apart in the second half of its 75-59 loss to Arkansas on Tuesday night.
Heading into the locker room, South Carolina held a seven point lead and all the momentum after freshman guard Devin Carter hit a deep three to beat the halftime buzzer.
The Gamecocks seemed to have killed the turnover bug that hit hard in its first couple of SEC games, committing only seven on Tuesday. They made shots, played good defense and looked like they wanted to win more than the Razorbacks. Then it all disappeared in the second half.
After halftime, Arkansas quickly snatched the momentum back by putting pressure on the Gamecocks defensively. Seven minutes into the second half, South Carolina was 0-9 from the field and had committed six turnovers, leading to a 13-1 Arkansas run later in the game.
“Early in the half they, got after us defensively,” head coach Frank Martin said. “We tried to create some separation, Eric couldn’t make a shot today and they stayed with James Reese, they never gave James any space.”
The Gamecocks failed to find the same success shooting in the second half. The team shot 6-13 from behind the arc and 44% overall in the first half. By the end of the game, the team hit only one more three-pointer, despite 10 more attempts in the half. The inconsistency saw the field goal percentage drop to 34% overall.
“On offense, you got to make your layups and we didn’t do that. Then the second half, we didn’t make layups, threes or free throws, and when you do that, you’re not beating one of the top-25 teams in the country on the road,” Martin said.
Freshman guard Devin Carter recorded his first start of the season in the game. The team wanted his personality at the guard spot to help the team start better than they have in previous matchups.
“You can’t be any good if your point guard doesn’t have a personality, I mean, there’s got to be an aggression there,” Martin said. “Devin gave us a personality and that’s what we’ve been lacking,”
Carter excelled in his role and played one of his best games of the season. He recorded 20 points, six rebounds and two steals. He was the only consistent weapon the Gamecocks had offensively for the game.
The team has a lot of work to do if they want to compete in the SEC. Martin feels the first half of this game gives them something to build on.
“The way we played in the first half was a representation of how we prepared for the last two days,” Martin said. “We’re going to build on what we did the last two days and what we did the first half today to regain a personality of how we’re trying to play.”
The Gamecocks fall to 10-7 for the year and 1-4 in the SEC. The team's next opportunity for a win will come Saturday at 3:30 p.m. when they welcome Georgia to Colonial Life Arena.