AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -Justin Mason’s driving layup and free throw with 12 seconds left sent Texas to an 80-76 win over Arkansas on Wednesday night as the two old Southwest Conference schools met for the first time since 1991.
Arkansas had taken a 76-75 lead just seconds earlier when Sonny Weems scored on an inbounds pass near the basket. Texas got the ball to Mason, who drove the lane, hit the layup and drew the foul on Weems.
Gary Ervin drew a foul with five seconds left but missed the two free throws that would have tied it at 78-78.
Kevin Durant, who led Texas with 28 points and 13 rebounds, then hit two free throws to seal the win for the Longhorns (8-2).
Charles Thomas and Patrick Beverley each scored 19 to lead the Razorbacks (8-3).
It was the first meeting between the old SWC rivals since “Tournament” Tom Penders and “Strollin”’ Nolan Richardson were coaching the Longhorns and Razorbacks through some entertaining basketball. The last time they met, Arkansas rolled to a 120-89 win in the SWC championship game.
This one didn’t produce those kind of fireworks but brought plenty of drama to the renewed rivalry by going down to the wire.
Durant scored 15 points in the second half. D.J. Augustin added 16 points. Mason finished with 10 points for Texas.
The Razorbacks opened the second half with a 16-6 run that quieted the home crowd. Beverley hit a pair of 3-pointers from the wing when Durant got stuck on defense under the basket, and Weems drove the baseline for a fist-pumping dunk as Arkansas took a 53-47 lead.
It didn’t last long. Durant scored two straight baskets and Augustin drove the baseline for a layup and then hit a 3-pointer. Durant’s one-handed baseline jam capped the rally that retook the lead, 58-55.
But the Razorbacks kept finding soft spots in Texas’ perimeter defense. Beverley and Weems connected for two more 3-pointers from the corners to keep Texas from pulling away.
Arkansas led 69-68 before A.J. Abrams, Texas’ best long-range shooter, hit his second 3-pointer of the half for a 71-69 Texas lead with just over three minutes to play.
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