South Carolina 62, Arkansas 60

Thursday, January 17th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Jamel Bradley's confidence was contagious.

Bradley made two big 3-pointers and then drove for a layup that broke a late tie and gave South Carolina a 62-60 victory over Arkansas on Wednesday night.

Rolando Howell's three straight short-range baskets helped the Gamecocks (11-5, 1-2) to a double-digit lead and Bradley kept them in front with 3s for 50-44 and 53-47.

``In their stretch run, I just made some shots,'' Bradley said. ``I feel confident in my shot when I get my feet set, and my teammates started to feel that confidence and felt I would make anything I shot.''

Down 13 early in the half, Arkansas (10-6, 2-2) rallied behind Brandon Dean who made a 3 for a 58-58 tie with 3:03 to play _ the first time the Razorbacks had been even since late in the first half.

Howell and Carl Baker matched free throws before Bradley dribbled past his defender with 1:10 to play.

After Bradley made it 62-60, Alonzo Lane lost control, but Arkansas got another chance when Chuck Eidson took steps with 27 seconds to play. After two timeouts, Dean's jumper in the lane was way short and Marius Petravicius wrapped both arms around the ball. He missed the front end of a one-and-one with seven seconds to play, but Jannero Pargo misfired badly on a 3.

Arkansas had the ball out of bounds with three-tenths of a second to play _ not enough time to catch and shoot _ and the refs waved off Teddy Gipson's attempt from the corner.

``We had a lot of open shots and made a lot of our open shots,'' said South Carolina coach Dave Odom. ``We had been missing them in the last few weeks and knew it had to change sometime. I had a feeling before the game that we were going to have a good chance to win.

``The crowd just wasn't into it as much in the first half,'' he said. ``They showed up late and we took advantage.''

Dean was high-scorer for the Razorbacks with 18. ``Brandon played his heart out,'' said Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson. ``We are still making some bad mistakes.''

Bradley led South Carolina with 16 points. Howell scored half of his 12 during a 91-second span. He got past Dionisio Gomez for a short jumper, put back a teammate's miss and then converted another offensive rebound with a baseline jumper for 37-26.

South Carolina had 14 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points. ``We couldn't box out the big boys,'' Richardson said.

Arkansas made 6-of-22 in the first half and the Razorbacks' only basket during the first 7:16 of the second half was Pargo's 3.

Dean, Arkansas' best shooter in recent weeks, did not attempt a shot in the second half until he made a 3 9:20 deep in the period. T.J. Cleveland's 3 and Dean's fast break basket cut it to 47-40. Dean deflected a pass, glanced over his shoulder and then stuffed it emphatically. After another steal, Cleveland fed Dean for a layup that cut it to 47-44 and the fans were roaring.

Bradley held the Razorbacks at bay with his 3s.

One of the best in the league at taking care of the ball, South Carolina had seven turnovers in the first 7 1/2 minutes. However, the Razorbacks' lead was only 7-6 because they were 3-of-10 at that point.

Taking advantage of four Arkansas turnovers and a couple of misses, South Carolina reeled off 11 straight points.

Petravicius backed in for a basket, Bradley made a nice bank shot and Petravicius stepped back for a soft baseline jumper. Pargo failed on a finger roll and Bradley was good on a 3 for a 19-19 tie. Pargo's 3 popped out and Bradley passed to Howell, alone in the lane, who gave the Gamecocks their first lead.

Eidson's 3 made it 29-23 at the half.

In the first half, South Carolina had nine offensive rebounds and 14 second-chance points.