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Second Half Dry Spell Dooms Hogs at Ole Miss

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Second Half Dry Spell Dooms Hogs at Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss scored 16 consecutive points midway through the second half to erase an eight-point deficit on its way to a 55-45 Southeastern Conference win over Arkansas at the Tad Smith Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
The Razorbacks (12-15, 4-12 SEC) led 32-24 with 12:12 remaining, but went scoreless for the next 8:32. By the time the Hogs scored again the Rebels (13-14, 5-11 SEC) boasted a six-point cushion. Arkansas closed the lead to four points thanks to a trio of three-pointers by Michael Jones in the final 90 seconds of regulation, but Ole Miss scored five points down the stretch to ice the victory.
“In this league, you just can’t go scoreless for that stretch of time and expect to win,” Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. “You have to give credit to Ole Miss, but we just didn’t do the things we needed to win. We played well for 20 minutes, but couldn’t continue our momentum in the second half.”
Arkansas struggled from the field hitting only 16 of 50 shots, including four of 17 attempts for the three-point arc. The Razorbacks hit nine of 18 free throws including one of five in the second half.
Jones and sophomore Jonathon Modica led the Razorbacks with nine points while sophomore Eric Ferguson tallied eight points and four assists. Sophomore Rashard Sullivan collected nine rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots. Freshman Ronnie Brewer earned five points and four steals for the Razorbacks.
Rebels’ seniors Justin Reed and Aaron Harper made the most of their final home game scoring 19 and 11 points, respectively. Reed also paced Ole Miss with eight rebounds.
Six different Razorbacks tallied points in the first eight minutes of the first half to give Arkansas an early 10-5 lead. The Rebels battled back to tie the game at 10-10 and 13-13 before taking their first lead of the day at 16-13 on a three-point bucket by Reed with 6:05 remaining in the first half.
Modica responded with a three-point ball of his own to knot the score and key a 7-0 Razorback run to end the half. Arkansas took a 21-16 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Arkansas extended the lead early in the second half and when sophomore Olu Famutimi converted on a layup, the Hogs had their biggest lead of the day at eight points with just over 12 minutes remaining. Arkansas missed its next 12 shots from the field while Ole Miss earned four field goals and six free throws in that span to gain a lead that the Rebels would not relinquish.
The loss in the regular season finale ensured the Razorbacks the No. 6 seed and a date with the No. 3 seed in next week’s SEC Tournament in Atlanta, Ga. Arkansas will play South Carolina in the 2:15 p.m. CT game at the Georgia Dome. The winner of that game will face LSU in the quarterfinal round on Friday.




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