NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -Freshman Donald Sims scored 24 points off the bench Saturday – including 10 in a row in the first half – as Appalachian State defeated Arkansas 74-67 on a neutral court ringed with red-clad Razorbacks fans.
The Mountaineers (5-5) from the Southern Conference shot 67 percent from the floor and were 12-of-12 at the line. Arkansas (9-3) fell once again in a game away from Bud Walton Arena on its Fayetteville campus.
Over the past five years, Arkansas is 9-38 on its opponents’ courts. Saturday’s game was on a neutral court but most of the 10,835 present were calling the Hogs, the rallying cheer of the Southeastern Conference team.
Sims hit six free throws in the final 4:14 to close the game out and his 3-pointer with 1:11 left – coming just as the shot clock ran out – pushed the lead to 70-65 and deflated an Arkansas rally. The Razorbacks had trailed 47-33 early in the second half but had cut the lead with defensive pressure that forced 13 Mountaineer turnovers in the second half.
Arkansas, however, shot only 42 percent from the field and missed 11 of its 25 free throws.
The Mountaineers had fallen behind by eight, 15-7, early but Sims’ scored 10 points in a row to lift Appalachian State to a 37-31 lead. A 3-pointer from the left wing made it 30-28 with 5:23 left in the first half and a minute later another 3 made it 33-28.
After Donte Minter blocked a Marcus Britt jumper, Sims picked up the loose ball and ended a drive with a layup, then Sims added another jumper.
Over the last eight minutes of the first half, Appalachian State made eight of nine shots. For the first 20 minutes, the Mountaineers made 61 percent of their shots, compared to the Razorbacks’ 46 percent. Appalachian State was 5-of-5 to open the second half while Arkansas went the first 4 1/2 minutes of the period without a field goal.
After falling behind 47-33, Arkansas’ Charles Thomas led an 8-0 run as the Razorbacks crawled back into the game.
Arkansas plays host to Louisiana-Monroe on Dec. 29 in a 2:05 p.m. game televised by the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network.