FAYETTEVILLE -- Despite 14 second-half points from sophomore Mardracus Wade, the University of Arkansas men's basketball team lost an up-and-down game when its last-second shot rolled off the rim, losing to Ole Miss, 77-75, Tuesday night inside Bud Walton Arena.
Freshman Guard BJ Young scored an explosive 19 points and hit the game-tying and go-ahead free throws for Arkansas with 13 seconds left in the game, but those points were not enough as the Rebels got a three-point play from Terrance Henry with eight seconds to play. Young's last-second layup that would have tied the game rolled off the iron to let Ole Miss escape, 77-75.
"BJ got to the basket and it just didn't fall," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said of the final play. "Our players put their heart into that game. This one hurts."
Arkansas drops to 18-12 on the season and 6-9 in Southeastern Conference play, while Ole Miss improves to 17-12 overall and 7-8 in the SEC.
"Give Ole Miss credit," Anderson said. "They made the plays."
Arkansas led by as many as 15 points, 55-40, with 13:36 left in the second half. Ole Miss used a 16-4 run to come within three points, 59-56, with 8:46 left, and the game was back and forth from that point. Ole Miss tied the game for the first time in the second half at 68-68 with 3:14 left, and took a one point lead 30 seconds later, but Arkansas junior guard Julysses Nobles put the Razorbacks back ahead 71-69 with a three-pointer.
"I thought our inability to play defense down the stretch hurt us," Anderson said. "I thought our defense wasn't as effective as it was in the first half."
The Rebels came within one point with 2:11 to play, but two clutch free throws by Young put the Razorbacks back ahead 73-70. Ole Miss got one stop and two straight baskets in the final minute to take a 74-73 lead with 32 seconds left, but Young once again drew contact on the offensive end to give Arkansas a 75-74 lead with 13 seconds remaining. Those proved to be Arkansas' final points of the night, as Henry hit the game-winner on the ensuing possession.
Young finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and he made 6-of-7 shots from the free throw line. Wade's 14 second-half points included four three-pointers, and he shot 5-for-8 for the game.
Nobles tallied 13 points and four assists, and freshman Hunter Mickelson had six points, six rebounds and three blocks for the Razorbacks. Sophomore forward Brandon Mitchell had a strong game for Arkansas, tallying eight points and three rebounds, and energizing the team in the second half with scrappy play and one thunderous dunk.
After a slow start to the game, Arkansas got its fast pace rolling late in the first half and turned a 14-8 deficit into a 26-18 lead with an 18-4 run that lasted more than eight minutes. The Razorbacks got points from six different players, including threes by Nobles and freshman Rashad Madden, and Mickelson blocked two straight shots and then converted a layup on the other end to get the Bud Walton Arena crowd on its feet. Arkansas used its run to take a 35-26 lead at the half.
The Razorbacks shot 9-for-22 from the three-point line for the game, led by Wade's 4-for-7 effort from behind the arc. Arkansas turned the ball over just nine times. There were nine lead changes and five ties in the game.
Ole Miss was led by Murphy Holloway, who posted 16 points and 16 rebounds. Henry led the Rebels with 19 points.
Arkansas honored seniors Michael Sanchez and Marvell Waithe prior to Tuesday's game. The Razorbacks travel to Starkville, Miss., for their final regular season game on Saturday, March 3, a 4 p.m. matchup against Mississippi State. For more information about Razorback basketball, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.