FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – Ronnie Brewer hit a driving layup and a free throw with 20 seconds left Tuesday as the Razorbacks fought back from an 18-point second-half deficit and beat Alabama 65-63 in a Southeastern Conference game.
The improbable ending overcame a 29-point night by Ronald Steele, who until the final minute seemed to score when the Crimson Tide needed it most. His 3-pointer with 18:40 left put Alabama up 42-24 but foul trouble hurt the Tide’s inside game and Arkansas took advantage.
Arkansas, which upset then-No. 10 Florida on Saturday, improved to 18-8 and 7-6 in the conference – its best league record in February since the Nolan Richardson years. Alabama fell to 15-10 and 8-5. Last month, Arkansas blew a double-digit second-half lead at Alabama and fell 78-75 in overtime.
Jermareo Davidson picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench with 15 minutes left and Arkansas moved inside with dunks and buckets off offensive rebounds. When Davidson returned with 7:39 left, Arkansas had closed the margin to 54-47.
Steele hit another 3 – he had five in the second half – to make it 57-49, but Arkansas kept the pressure up inside as Davidson laid back to avoid his fifth foul. Jonathon Modica’s 3 with 5:05 left geared up the crowd as the margin hit 57-52, then Brewer dunked after Steven Hill stole the ball away from a tentative Davidson inside.
Darian Townes tied the game at 57 with 2:10 left and Thomas followed his own shot over Davidson to give Arkansas its first lead of the game, at 59-57, with 1:30 left. Alabama’s Jean Felix, Arkansas’ Eric Ferguson and then Steele each hit 3s over the next minute – and the Razorbacks gave the ball to Brewer, who drove inside for a layup over Davidson, who nudged Brewer in the lane to pick up a foul that sent him to the bench.
Steele lost control of the ball inside in the final five seconds.
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