FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Scoring droughts at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second cost Arkansas and a potential game-tying three-pointer at the end of the game was off the mark as No. 21 Alabama held on for a 64-61 victory on Tuesday.
UA’s second straight loss drops the Razorbacks to 13-3 overall and 1-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama is 13-3 and 2-1.
“We played hard, but we didn’t make the best decisions,” UA head coach Stan Heath said. “I thought we hurried ourselves too much. We didn’t rebound or re-position ourselves for a good shot.”
Down by seven midway through the second half, Arkansas rallied to within 47-46 on Eric Ferguson’s running jumper with 9:15 left. The Crimson Tide took three, four and five-point leads, but Arkansas closed to within one two more times, the last on a Jonathon Modica fade-away to get the Hogs within 56-55 with 4:52 left.
Kennedy Winston’s three gave Alabama a 63-57 lead, but Ronnie Brewer banked in a jumper and Modica scored on a layup with 43 seconds left to get Arkansas within 63-61. With 9.8 seconds left, Olu Famutimi was called for a foul on Winston, who hit one of two from the line for a three point margin. With the clock winding down, Ferguson’s three from the left wing was off the mark.
Arkansas led 33-24 with 4:31 left in the first half on a dunk by Famutimi, but the Razorbacks failed the score the rest of the half. Earnest Shelton hit a three, Jermareo Davidson a free throw, and Chuck Davis a jumper and then two free throws to give Alabama an 8-0 scoring run and a 34-33 lead at the break.
In the second half, UA didn’t score until the 15:35 mark on a Brewer layup to cut a six-point deficit to 39-35. Modica hit a three to get Arkansas within one, but Davidson scored inside and Shelton hit two threes around a Modica layup to give Alabama a 47-40 lead with 13:32 to go.
Brewer led Arkansas with 15 points and three steals. Darian Townes hit five-of-eight shots and had 14 points. Modica had 11 points on five-of-eight shooting and a team-high five assists, and Famutimi had 10 points on four-of-eight shooting.
Shelton led Alabama with 18 points on seven-of-13 shooting. Davis had 17 on seven-of-11 shooting and Winston added 13 points.
Arkansas had just seven turnovers while forcing 12, but shot 45.5 percent (25-55) while Alabama shot 54.2 percent (26-48).
Arkansas travels to No. 11 Mississippi State for a 2 p.m. non-televised game on Saturday. The next home game is Jan. 22 at 1:05 p.m. against Auburn in a game televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.