Arkansas Razorbacks news from the staff of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Hogs' Bubble Burst
Arkansas loses SEC opener for sixth straight year
Arkansas forward Coty Clarke (4) and South Carolina guard Jaylen Shaw (5) vie for a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the second round of the Southeastern Conference men's tournament, Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
South Carolina beat Arkansas 71-69 in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The loss almost assuredly ended the Razorbacks' hopes of making the NCAA Tournament next week. Arkansas (21-11) has lost two straight games to Alabama and South Carolina, whose combined record is 27-37.
The Gamecocks made 30 of 41 free throws to keep the Razorbacks at bay. Ky Madden's shot from just inside halfcourt went off the back of the rim as time expired. Bobby Portis had a chance to give the Razorbacks the lead moments earlier, but his hook shot close to the basket was no good.
Arkansas led 69-66 with 2:08 left after a Coty Clarke 3-pointer and Michael Qualls layup, but didn't score again. South Carolina didn't make a field goal in the game's final 3 minutes, 55 seconds.
Sindarius Thornwell scored 17 points and Laim Chatkevicius added 16 points for the Gamecocks (14-19). Clarke had 13 points to lead the Razorbacks.
The game was tied 15 times and the teams exchanged leads 21 times. South Carolina, the No. 13 seed in the tournament, avenged a loss to the Razorbacks three weeks ago at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas has lost seven straight games at the SEC Tournament dating to 2008, including six straight in the opening round.