TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -Arkansas was determined to earn its first road victory in the Southeastern Conference – and it showed.
Patrick Beverley scored 19 points and the Razorbacks dominated No. 12 Alabama for 30 minutes before hanging on to win 63-57 Saturday.
“We’re fed up with losing, especially on the road. We came out and played hard. We’re good when we play hard,” said guard Sonny Weems, who had 16 points to help Arkansas improve to 1-3 in SEC road games.
Arkansas (14-7, 3-4 SEC) outmuscled the Crimson Tide in the paint as 7-footer Steven Hill pulled down 16 rebounds. The Razorbacks held a seemingly insurmountable 51-27 lead with 10:50 to play when Alabama started its rally and outscored Arkansas 30-12 the rest of the way.
The Razorbacks had lost four of five overall.
Arkansas took a 10-0 lead and led by as many as 25 in the second half before Alabama launched a furious comeback that fell short.
Alabama (15-5, 2-4) was led by Richard Hendrix, who had 28 points and 11 rebounds and sparked the rally with several thunderous jams. But Hendrix also might have stalled the spurt with a foul in the final minute.
The Crimson Tide had cut the lead to five with 59 seconds to play when Hendrix was called for an intentional foul that stopped Arkansas’ Charles Thomas from what appeared to an easy dunk. Thomas had to leave the game with an apparent shoulder injury and Stefan Welsh hit one of two free throws. The play seemed to return the momentum to Arkansas, and the Razorbacks held on.
Arkansas coach Stan Heath said Thomas’ injury did not appear to be serious.
Heath said he wasn’t surprised by the run the Crimson Tide made at the end of the game.
“That’s a very good basketball team, a very talented basketball team. They’re going to make a run and they did so. Fortunately we were just able to hold them off there towards the end of that ballgame,” Heath said.
Hendrix said the Tide played with a sense of urgency in the last 10 minutes, but the effort was too little, too late.
“Once you are down you know you have to step your game up a notch. Unfortunately we couldn’t come out in the first half with the same aggressiveness,” Hendrix said.
The loss was the fourth in six games for the Crimson Tide since it started conference play. It also broke a 17-game home winning streak and gave Alabama its first home loss this season.
Alabama’s Jermareo Davidson scored 12 points, but said the Tide needs to find some energy to break out of its slump.
“We have to find something in ourselves to get us going,” he said.
Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said the Tide showed more intensity in the loss to Arkansas, but still seems to be out of sync, particularly on offense.
“We’re running in mud right now. We’ve got cement boots on,” Gottfried said.
Alabama continued its recent trend of dismal starts as the Razorbacks jumped out to a 10-0 lead and went ahead 31-18 at halftime. The start was similar to the first meeting between the teams three weeks ago when Arkansas raced to a 14-0 lead and cruised to an 88-61 win in Fayetteville.
Arkansas swept its two-game series with the Tide for the first time since 2001.
The Crimson Tide shot just 25 percent in the first half and hit one of eight 3-point attempts.
On most possessions, Alabama was getting only one shot as Hill controlled the paint.
Arkansas expanded its lead to 25 early in the second half but couldn’t stop Hendrix as he scored 16 points in the final 10 minutes. The Razorbacks made only one field goal in the final 11 minutes.
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