The Gamecocks screwed the pooch on the road again last night, getting more or less clobbered by the Arkansas Razorbacks by a score of 92-79. Devan Downey led the Gamecocks with 28, while Sam Muldrow scored 23 and had 8 boards. Marshawn Powell led the Hogs with a dazzling 26-point performance, with most of his buckets coming early in the game.
A few thoughts on the game:
- As if the 92 points Arkansas scored don't say it all, we played atrocious defense last night. We gave up easy baskets in transition, were manhandled in the paint by Powell and Michael Washington, and committed a whopping 30 personal fouls, giving Arkansas 36 FTA. (Granted, a lot of those FTA came at the end of the game, but still.) You're not going to win many games like that. Arkansas really exposed our defensive weaknesses, and with more athletic teams coming up, it's hard to be too optimistic.
- Sam Muldrow played quite a game last night. Unfortunately, though, he scored most of his points on hot outside shooting. We simply don't have much presence down low right now, and that's beginning to cost us. I'm not blaming Sam; if playing the big wingman is what he and Coach Horn think his role should be, so be it. It worked last night. But Coach needs to find some quality big men quick, because Muldrow isn't giving us that presence on the offensive end.
- I hate to be alarmist, but we're working our way onto the NIT bubble now. The NCAAs are off the table unless we win the SEC Tournament, and we really needed to win at least one of these past two road games even to feel good about our chances for the NIT. We failed, and now our back is against the wall with a tough slate of games coming up. I judge that we need three more wins to feel really good about our chances. Home games against the Alabama Crimson Tide and Mississippi St. Bulldogs look more and less promising, but our other games are hosting the Tennessee Volunteers, at the Kentucky Wildcats, and at the Vanderbilt Commodores. We have very slim chances in the latter two. Can we beat the Vols at home? I guess we're about to find out.
- I was down on him at one point this year, but Arkansas coach John Pelphrey has done a good job with his team. He doesn't have the most athletic team, but he has the right players in place, and they work well together. If he had had Courtney Fortson early in the year, his team would be an NCAAs team.
That's a wrap on this depressing game. This one was tough, but I haven't lost the hope. Perhaps a home date and an upset of Tennessee is what this team needs. Go 'Cocks.