FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas extended its win streak to three games after starting SEC play with three straight losses. Despite shooting 0-for-11 from 3-point range to end a streak that spanned 33 years, Arkansas got a 75-59 win over South Carolina on Tuesday at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas' 3-point drought ended its run of consecutive games with a made 3-pointer at 1,092. It was the third-longest active streak in the country behind UNLV and Duke. The last time Arkansas did not make a 3-pointer in a game was against Texas on Jan. 7, 1989.
"It probably doesn’t happen often, but it also teaches our guys a lesson that we can win a game by double-digits without making a 3," Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. "It’s not like we didn’t take any or we came into the game and said, ‘Hey, don’t even attempt them.’ When you’re 0-for-11 and you’re drawing (free-throw attempts) by attacking the rim, the object of the game is to win."
Jaylin Williams and JD Notae in foul trouble
The biggest takeaway against South Carolina (10-7, 1-4 SEC), though, was the impact of Jaylin Williams and JD Notae for the Razorbacks (13-5, 3-3).
After scoring nine points early, most of them on 7-for-7 free-throw shooting, Williams also collected two early fouls. He was taken out with almost 12 minutes still remaining in the first half.
Notae stayed in longer, but not much. He was whistled for his second foul and taken out just after the 8-minute mark. Notae, who entered the game tied with Vanderbilt's Scotty Pippen Jr. for the SEC lead in points per game, was sorely missed; After he sat, Arkansas made just 3 of 10 from the field.
"It was super frustrating knowing we both wanted to be out on the court to help our team get this win," Williams said. "Going into the locker room, me and JD said to each other, 'We have to play smart and play disciplined and make sure we stay out on the court.'"
Au'Diese Toney supplemented the rebounding game, which needed help with Williams out. By halftime, Toney had seven boards, four of them on offense. But without the talents of Williams, who had three straight double-doubles before Tuesday's game, and Notae, Arkansas was down seven at halftime.
The second half started, fittingly, with a layup by Williams on an assist from Notae. Arkansas held South Carolina scoreless for the first two and a half minutes of the second half, when Williams was whistled for his third foul and the Gamecocks made a free-throw.
The Gamecocks went without a field goal for more than eight minutes in the second half, while Arkansas to started the half with a 10-1 run to take the lead on a Trey Wade three-point play before the first media timeout. Minutes later, Arkansas' lead was up to 10.
"One of our problems throughout the season was getting off to a slow start in the second half," Williams said. "So we made sure we came out in the second half with great energy, great transition and great defense. We just wanted to make sure that we got a run going early."
Notae finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Williams with a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds. Arkansas was plus-31 with Notae on the floor and plus-24 with Williams. On the defensive end, Arkansas held South Carolina's leading scorer this season, Erik Stevenson, to 1-for-12 shooting.
Musselman returns from shoulder surgery
Musselman was back on the bench after having shoulder surgery less than a week ago. Assistant coach Keith Smart, who had been serving as interim when Arkansas beat LSU on Saturday, was originally set to coach the game.
Musselman said the two-game projection was made based on the notion that most patients stay on pain medication for at least a week after surgery. But Musselman, whose operation was Thursday, decided to stop taking them on Saturday due to negative side effects. Sunday, his doctor cleared him to coach.
So, how does his shoulder feel after surgery and a 40-minute basketball game?
"Like someone’s taking a nail to a certain spot in my shoulder," Musselman said. "It’s been like that since Dec. 2. Doesn’t feel any worse, doesn’t feel any better than it did the day Trey (Wade) ran into me."
Arkansas hosts Texas A&M at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday (7:30 p.m., SECN).
This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Arkansas basketball beats South Carolina, but 3-point streak ends at 1,092 games