COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Sam Muldrow scored five of his 20 points in overtime to lead South Carolina to an 81-74 victory over Arkansas on Wednesday night.
The Gamecocks (12-5, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) trailed by nine points midway through the second half and were still down 70-65 with 2:30 left before the comeback.
South Carolina’s Ramon Galloway had a 3-pointer and Malik Cooke a pair of foul shots to tie the game in regulation and Bruce Ellington put the Gamecocks up for good with a foul shot to start the extra period.
Ahead 73-70, Muldrow iced the game with a 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:38 to go.
Arkansas (12-5, 2-2) couldn’t get closer than five points the rest of the way. Marshawn Powell had a career high 21 points for the Razorbacks.
Muldrow, who hit a critical late 3-pointer in South Carolina’s 72-69 win at Florida on Saturday, added eight rebounds and six blocks. Ramon Galloway had 21 points to lead the Gamecocks, who continued their surprising start in the SEC. They moved on top of the Eastern Division a quarter of the way through the league season.
For most of the second half, Arkansas didn’t give South Carolina much hope for success. The Razorbacks attacked the basket on the way to a 56-47 lead. They made their first seven shots of the period and when Delvon Johnson made a close-in bucket with 10:43 left, the Razorbacks had their biggest lead of the night.
Arkansas was still in control at 70-65 after Julysses Nobles made two foul shots with 2:30 to go. But the Razorbacks didn’t score again in regulation.
Galloway started South Carolina’s comeback with a long 3-pointer, then Cooke hit his free throws with 1:34 left.
Nobles had Arkansas’ last chance to move in front, but missed a shot in the lane that South Carolina point guard Bruce Ellington picked up.
Ellington and Cooke each missed shots in the final 2.3 seconds to lead to overtime.
Both teams entered as early SEC surprises.
Arkansas posted victories over league power Tennessee and Alabama. South Carolina knocked Vanderbilt from the rankings in its conference opener and backed that up last Saturday with a win at Florida’s difficult O’Connell Center.
Where the Razorbacks have struggled, though, is away from home, where they’re 1-4 outside of the Bud Walton Arena. That showed at South Carolina where Arkansas went 2 of 10 from the field and fell behind 16-10 in the game’s first 9 minutes.
The Razorbacks’ inside game kept them in it as the 6-foot-7 Powell and 6-9 Delvon Johnson combined to go 8 of 11 from the field for 22 points.
The Gamecocks, 9-1 at Colonial Life Arena this season, couldn’t pull away in part because of foul trouble to leading scorer Ellington. The point guard played just 9 minutes after picking up his second foul and sat the rest of the half.
Galloway had 11 points to take up Ellington’s scoring slack as South Carolina led 35-30 at the break.
Arkansas’ leading scorer Rontei Clarke was held to 5 points, almost nine fewer than his average.