FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -Gary Ervin made an acrobatic 3-point play in the final minute of overtime, helping Arkansas hold off Alabama 71-67 Sunday.
The Razorbacks led 65-64 when Ervin caught a pass under the basket on a fast break. He jumped to the left to draw contact while laying the ball in with 54.6 seconds remaining.
Ervin made the free throw, then Alonzo Gee answered with a 3-pointer for Alabama. Ervin made one of two free throws with 33.3 seconds to play, and after Gee missed from the perimeter, Arkansas’ Patrick Beverley was fouled.
Beverley missed both free throws, but Alabama’s Demetrius Jemison knocked the rebound out of bounds with hardly anyone around him. Charles Thomas made two free throws with 11.3 seconds left, finally giving the Razorbacks a cushion.
Alabama (11-6, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) never led in regulation, but the Crimson Tide finished the second half on a 7-1 run capped by Mykal Riley’s tying 3-pointer. Thomas had a shot blocked in the final seconds, and the teams went to overtime tied at 60.
Riley made two free throws to give Alabama the lead early in overtime. Darian Townes, who led all scorers with 18 points, answered with two free throws of his own. Riley then scored with the shot clock running down, and Alabama led 64-62 with under 2 minutes remaining.
Ervin answered with a 3-pointer from the right wing. Then he made his big 3-point play in transition, fouling Riley out in the process.
Richard Hendrix had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Alabama. He hobbled off with 4:15 remaining in overtime with an apparent injury to his right foot. He returned 34 seconds later but wasn’t much of a factor the rest of the way.
Arkansas (13-3, 2-0) led by as many as 12 but struggled to close the game out. Sonny Weems missed a free throw with 28.6 seconds left in regulation, giving Riley a chance for his tying 3-pointer.
The Razorbacks shot 20-of-29 from the free throw line, and Alabama was 10-of-18.
The Crimson Tide started poorly. Arkansas’ pressure made it difficult to get the ball to the 6-foot-9 Hendrix down low. Ervin’s layup capped a 14-3 run that gave the Razorbacks a 20-8 lead.
Arkansas led 36-28 at halftime.
Weems made a beautiful play in the second half. While running full speed, he lobbed the ball to Townes for a dunk that gave the Razorbacks a 48-38 lead. Alabama rallied, however. Riley finished with 16 points and Gee had 15 for the Crimson Tide.
Townes made his first seven shots from the field. Weems added 17 points, Thomas had 13 with 10 rebounds and Ervin scored 12 points for Arkansas. The 6-foot-1 Beverley led both teams with 13 rebounds.
Alabama is without guard Ronald Steele, who is sitting out the season because of surgery on both knees.
Arkansas is 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since 2001-02, Nolan Richardson’s last season.
The Razorbacks play host to South Carolina on Wednesday in a 7:05 p.m. non-televised game.