ATLANTA — South Carolina won its second consecutive game at the Southeastern Conference Tournament, upsetting Arkansas 71-69 on Thursday behind 17 points from Sindarius Thornwell and likely knocking the Razorbacks out of the NCAA Tournament.
“Every time it seemed like we had an ‘uh-oh’ moment, somebody stepped up and made a play,” South Carolina coach Frank Martin said.
The Gamecocks (14-19), whose only hope of making the NCAAs is to win it all in Atlanta, advanced to the quarterfinals today against Tennessee. Arkansas (21-11) likely will have to settle for an NIT berth.
“I’m hoping for the NCAAs,” said Coty Clark, who led the Razorbacks with 13 points. “But right now, I don’t know.”
After South Carolina went ahead 70-69 on Brenton Williams’ free throw with 53 seconds remaining, Arkansas squandered two chances to reclaim the lead. Rashad Madden missed a floating jumper in the lane with 33 seconds left, and Bobby Portis’ one-hander in the lane rolled off the iron with 3 seconds to play.
“In this setting, you’ve got to be on point,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “We had some mishaps down the stretch. If you’re going to be a good team at this time of year, you’ve got to eliminate those plays.”
The Gamecocks missed three of their last four free throws, giving Arkansas one more opportunity. Madden’s desperation heave from just inside the half-court line bounced off the back of the rim.
Laimonas Chatkevicius had 16 points and seven rebounds for South Carolina. Duane Notice added 11 points, Williams had 10 and Mindaugas Kacinas was a force with 10 rebounds.
LOUISIANA STATE 68, ALABAMA 56
Shavon Coleman scored 15 points on five 3-pointers and Louisiana State (19-12) preserved its slim NCAA Tournament hopes by beating Alabama (13-19) in the second round.
Tim Quarterman had 12 points and Johnny O’Bryant added 11 for the Tigers, who likely need to win the SEC Tournament to make the NCAA field.
MISSOURI 91, TEXAS A&M 83 (2OT)
Jabari Brown scored 26 points, Earnest Ross added 24 and Missouri (22-10) barely kept alive its hopes of an NCAA bid, beating Texas A&M (17-15) in double overtime in the second round.
The Tigers (22-10) squandered a nine-point lead in the second half and twice failed to get off a shot with chances to win the game in the closing seconds. It didn’t matter. The Tigers finally wore down the Aggies.
MISSISSIPPI 78, MISSISSIPPI STATE 66
Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers each scored 21 points and Mississippi (19-13) rallied from a
deficit of 13 points to beat Mississippi State (14-19( in the second round.
Mississippi State scored the first 10 points of the game and kept the lead about 32 minutes.
Ole Miss took its first lead at 57-56 with 8:11 remaining on a layup by Ladarius White.