NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Despite getting a heroic late second three-pointer to tie the game by junior Jeff Peterson at the end of regulation, the Razorback men’s basketball team was not able to pull it out in the extra period and fell to UAB, 70-65 on Friday night at Verizon Arena.
This is the first loss on the season for the Hogs as they are now 3-1. The Blazers move to 4-1 on the year with the win.
“I thought in the second half we really fought hard,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “It was a really back and forth battle and those guys (UAB) made some great shots.”
Late in the second half, the Hogs trailed by as much as seven points with 1:30 to play, but clutch free throws by sophomore Delvon Johnson down the stretch and a great penetration layup by sophomore Julysses Nobles got the Hogs within one with 37 seconds left. A couple of Blazer free throws, put UAB back out in front by three, but the Hogs had seven seconds to get the last shot off. After the inbounds pass, the Blazers were defending close, but Peterson was able to get the shot to fall with multiple Blazer defenders in his face, tying the game at 57.
“We showed heart and courage to force overtime in this game,” Pelphrey said. “That shot from Jeff (Peterson) was a big shot and with time running out, he stepped up and made a big one.”
In the overtime period, UAB jumped out to a quick five point lead after a three-pointer by Robert Williams, but the Razorbacks pulled within three after a jumper by Peterson. Cold shooting would be the obstacle, once again, for the Hogs in the overtime period, shooting only 3-for-8 from the field. On the other hand, the Blazers’ clutch shooting gave them an eight point lead with less than a minute to play. A deficit, the Razorbacks could not overcome. For the game, the Hogs had four players in double-digit point totals, led by Johnson, who finished the game with a double-double, 18 points and 13 rebounds. Peterson finished with 13 points and Nobles and junior Rotnei Clarke tied with 10.
“Missing five free throws and a layup in overtime made it very difficult for us,” Pelphrey said. “This is going to be a tough loss.”
Another defensive struggle was the story of the game early as the Razorbacks had the only points, a layup by Delvon Johnson, through the first three and a half minutes. However, the Hogs got rolling soon after as they went on a 7-0 run to open the ball game. The Blazers would follow that up with their own 7-0 run to tie it at the 12:27 mark after three-pointers by Aaron Johnson and Jamarr Sanders.
After trading buckets, both teams hit the midway point of the half shooting a very low percentage from the field. At the time, Arkansas was shooting 29 percent and UAB was shooting 25 percent. The Hogs also had an uncharacteristic ratio from behind the three-point line, going 1-for-6, with the only three coming from Clarke early in the game.
In the latter part of the half, the Blazers would go on their second 7-0 run to take a three point lead at the 8:31 mark, but the Hogs battled right back to take their own three point lead, getting great inside play from Johnson. The Chicago native would finish the half with nearly a double-double, 10 points and 9 rebounds. After a couple of Blazer dunks by Ovie Soko, the Razorbacks would find themselves in position for the last shot of the half. They would get that from sophomore Marshawn Powell inside the paint and take the 21-20 lead into halftime
Both teams would finish the half with slightly higher shooting percentages, but not much. Arkansas was 10 of 30 from the field, while UAB was 8 of 23. The Hogs would also finish the half with their lowest percentage from behind the three-point line in a half this season, going 1-for-13 in just the first 20 minutes.
This game finishes a hectic week for the Razorbacks, who played three games six days over the Thanksgiving break. They will hit the court again next Wednesday when they take on the Oklahoma Sooners at Bud Walton Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. For all information regarding the Razorback men’s basketball team, visit Arkansas Razorbacks.com.