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Arkansas handles South Carolina, advances to 2018 SEC Tournament Quarterfinals

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The Hogs fended off the Gamecocks to move on to Friday’s Quarterfinals.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Arkansas vs South Carolina Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon combined for 29 points as the Arkansas Razorbacks defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament. The win on Thursday night in St. Louis means that Arkansas has advanced to the Quarterfinals on Friday, where they will face the 3rd-seeded Florida Gators.

Arkansas’ victory to send them to the Quarters was primarily headed by the play of Barford. The senior big man scored 17 points while shooting 6-of-11 from the field. The 17 points scored by Jaylen led both sides as he was probably the best player on the floor. Macon, meanwhile, scored 12 points but was a bit inefficient.

That being said, while he shot 2-of-10 from the field, he was perfect from the free throw line. Macon made all eight of his free throw attempts, which was a purveying storyline all night for the Hogs. They made 23 of the 26 free throw attempts they took, good for an average of 88.5 percent.

Freshman big man Daniel Gafford scored eight points and four boards. Darious Hall had nine points, as did Adrio Bailey.

Maik Kotsar and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year Chris Silva tied for the team-lead with 15 points in the loss. Kotsar was an efficient 7-of-11 from the field but Silva, meanwhile, shot 4-of-12. Inefficiency was a problem all night for South Carolina. They shot 32 percent from the 3-point line and 38.3 percent from the field. While their opponents shot 42.9 percent and 30.8 percent from 3-point land, the difference was, perhaps, at the free throw line. Arkansas’ aforementioned mark of 88.5 percent at the line paled in comparison to the Gamecocks’ 62.5 percent. They made only 10 of their 16 shots, and a couple more may have provided enough ammunition to keep this closer.

Arkansas is safely in the NCAA Tournament, so this victory only helps their cause and doesn’t hurt it. A victory over Florida to put them in the semis will also aid them a lot, and then perhaps they could make magic happen in the semis. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s year in transition after last year’s magic ends in the second round. They did about all they could this year with all the turnover they went through. Hopefully for their sake, the best is yet to come in Columbia.