COLUMBIA, S.C. — Frank Martin said this day would come.
The encouraging thing is, were knocking on the door, Martin said after USC lost at Missouri on Tuesday. Were going to keep pounding on that door, now. I dont care about records, were going to keep pounding that door. And when someone makes the mistake of cracking that door open, were going to kick that thing in and we are busting in that place.
The someone was Arkansas on Saturday. The place was Colonial Life Arena. Playing their most complete game of the season perhaps in years the Gamecocks annihilated the visiting Razorbacks being a sizzling first half performance en route to a 75-54 victory.
What made it especially impressive was it seemingly came out of nowhere in front of the crowd of 10,996.
Arkansas opened the game on fire, racing out to a 15-3 lead. Eric Smiths bucket broke the Arkansas spree.
As it turned out, that basket was the beginning of a whopping 32-4 jailbreak that gave USC a 35-19 lead on it sway to a 42-26 halftime advantage.
Nothing was off-limits to USC during the run. Even when Arkansas pushed USC to the end of the shot clock, the Gamecocks made the Razorbacks pay. Smiths no-look, turnaround 3-pointer as the shot clock sounded during the final minute of the first half testified to that.
USC pushed that lead past 20 for most of the second half as Arkansas became increasingly desperate in shot selection and on defense.
Brian Richardson was the face of USCs big day. He posted a career-best 20 points. Bruce Ellington routinely sliced the Arkansas defense for slashing layups on his way to 14 points.
Lakeem Jackson also got in on the fracas with 11 points.
For the Gamecocks, who improved to 12-7 and 2-4 in SEC play, it was their largest conference win since beating Mississippi State 83-61 on Feb. 11, 2006. It was USCs first double-digit SEC win since winning 68-51 at Georgia on March 7, 2009.
Arkansas dropped to 12-7 and 3-3.