FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas played perhaps its best half of the year in the first half and built a huge second-half lead, but Alabama chipped away at the margin and knocked off the Razorbacks, 72-68, in overtime on Wednesday.
The loss drops Arkansas to 12-14 overall and 4-11 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama is 16-10 and 8-7.
“We gave it our best, but we came up short,” head coach Stan Heath said. “I told the guys in the locker room that sometimes in live you come up short even when you give it your best. (Jonathon) Modica did a terrific job for us down the stretch. A lot of guys played well, (Ronnie) Brewer, (Olu) Famutimi and Matt Jones. We just came up short.”
UA held the Crimson Tide to 33.3 percent shooting in the first half while connecting on 48.4 percent of its shots in taking a 34-19 lead at the break. Arkansas had a 16-15 rebounding advantage in the first period and 10 assists with only two turnovers while Alabama made just seven of 21 shots, including one of nine threes, and had three assists with eight turnovers.
The Razorbacks scored the first seven points of the second half and led 41-19 with 16:57 to play on a Brewer layup, but the Crimson Tide slowly crept back into it.
A Modica dunk with 11:22 left gave the Hogs a 50-35 lead, but a Chuck Davis layup got Alabama with 10, 54-44, with 8:45 to go. A Davis three with 6:51 to go got the Tide within 57-52. Alabama closed within 58-57, but Modica made two free throws with 1:39 left.
With 19 seconds remaining, Eric Ferguson made two free throws to give Arkansas a 63-60 lead, but Antoine Pettway’s three with eight seconds left sent the game to overtime.
Alabama scored the first five points of the extra period on a Davis layup and a three by Emmett Thomas. A Ferguson three and a layup by Modica tied the game, but Kennedy Winston’s jumper put Alabama up 70-68 with 28 seconds to go. Davis made a free throw with 12 seconds left to push the lead to three and UA missed a three to tie.
Arkansas shot 38.9 percent in the second half while Alabama shot 50 percent. The Crimson Tide also had a 21-13 rebounding edge, and had eight assists and eight turnovers while UA had four assists and nine turnovers.
Davis led Alabama with a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds. Winston had 17 points, Thomas 11 and Earnest Shelton 10.
Modica led UA with 17 points. Brewer had 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Matt Jones had 10 points and eight boards, and Olu Famutimi had 10 points.
Arkansas closes its regular season Saturday at Ole Miss in a 2 p.m. non-televised game.