FAYETTEVILLE -- Behind a 27-point performance from freshman BJ Young, the University of Arkansas men's basketball team became the first squad in school history to win 17 games at home Saturday afternoon, defeating South Carolina, 76-65, inside Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas improves to 17-0 at home, surpassing the 1993-94 Razorbacks that went 16-0 at home. The team improves to 17-8, 5-5 in Southeastern Conference play, while South Carolina drops to 9-15, 1-9 in league action.
"This was a great win for our team," said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson. "It was a great defensive effort, and we really dictated the tempo of the game."
Young sparked Arkansas with 16 first-half points on way to his 27 overall, the fourth 20-point scoring effort of his career. Young shot 3-of-4 from three-point range and 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
"BJ came off the bench and gave us a big lift," Anderson said.
With the game tied 27-27 and 3:50 remaining in the first half, Arkansas poured in 11 straight points to take a commanding 38-27 lead at the break. Sophomore Mardracus Wade got the spurt started with a pair of free throws, forwards Devonta Abron and Brandon Mitchell scored inside baskets, and Young finished the run with five straight points to end the half.
The Razorbacks continued the spurt with the first six points of the second half, completing a 17-0 run over 8:05 to take a 44-27 lead with 17:54 remaining in the game. Arkansas continued to enforce the pressure, increasing the lead to 68-45 on a Young jumper with 6:09 to play. South Carolina cut the lead to seven points, 68-61, with 2:39 to play, but Young went 4-for-4 from the line down the stretch to put the game away.
"I thought we played with the fire we needed to play with today," Anderson said. "In the second half, we came out with great intensity."
Arkansas forced 21 Gamecocks turnovers and scored 25 points off of turnovers, dictating the up-tempo pace that Razorback fans have witnessed inside Bud Walton Arena all season long. They had 13 steals as a team, matching a season-high for an SEC game. Nine different Razorbacks scored, and Arkansas had 51 points off the bench to South Carolina's 23.
Freshman Hunter Mickelson had 11 points and four rebounds, and also blocked two shots to total 62 on the season, setting the Arkansas record for blocks by a first-year player. Mickelson surpassed Oliver Miller, who set the record with 60 in the 1988-89 season.
Freshman Devonta Abron also reached double-digits with a 10 point, six rebound effort. Freshman Rashad Madden corralled seven rebounds from the guard position, and also dished out four assists. Junior Julysses Nobles scored an efficient nine points on 6-of-6 shooting, and keyed the full-court pressure with a game-high four steals. Mitchell played a season-high 16 minutes, and scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds.
Arkansas shot 50.8 percent from the field in the game, shooting 30-for-59. The Razorbacks held South Carolina to 41.8 percent shooting, including 20.0 percent from three-point range. Arkansas also out-scored the Gamecocks 46-30 in the paint.