CANCUN, Mexico – Michael Sanchez’s hustle down the floor after a loose ball led to the go-ahead basket and fellow freshman Levan Patsatsia made a free throw with one second left as Arkansas held off Quintana Roo, 60-57, in an exhibition game late Saturday at the Casa de la Culture gym.
Senior forward Charles Thomas was 7-of-8 from the floor, and led the team with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Patsatsia was just 3-of-12 shooting for the game, but his three with 3:20 remaining knotted the game at 57-57. With 30 seconds left, the Pioneers were inbounding the ball on Arkansas’ end of the floor. Pressure forced a turnover and Sanchez outran the hosts to the loose ball in front of their bench, and made a layup for a 59-57 lead with 26 seconds to go.
Sophomore Michael Washington rebounded a Quintana miss with six seconds left and got the ball to Patsatsia. He was fouled and made a free throw with 1.1 seconds remaining for the final margin.
“Quintana Roo played very well,” head coach John Pelphrey said. “Any time you play against a veteran team that can pass and shoot, it’s going to cause problems.
“I thought out defense was good. The point total was low. Offensively, we really struggled. We’ve got to get better collectively working as a unit.”
The Pioneers scored the first seven points of the game but the Hogs tied it at 14-14 by the end of the quarter. Arkansas was down 34-33 at the half.
In the fourth quarter, guard Gary Ervin fouled out. With no depth at guard, Patsatsia and freshman Nate Rakestraw, who started, had to handle the backcourt duties.
Darian Townes had 13 points and five rebounds, Washington five points and 12 boards, and Patsatsia 11 points and six rebounds. Sanchez finished with seven points and four rebounds.
Arkansas played an 8:30 p.m. game after leaving Fayetteville for the airport at 4 a.m. earlier in the day. The Hogs were also without senior forward Sonny Weems (hand) and sophomore guard Stefan Welsh, who missed the game with injuries, and sophomore guard Patrick Beverley and freshman guard Marcus Britt, who did not dress.
“It was a violation of team rules,” Pelphrey said of Beverley and Britt. “Nothing more or nothing less. The effort and toughness of our freshmen, Sanchez, Patsa and Rakestraw, was tremendous. They made their share of mistakes, but without them, we don’t win.”
Arkansas faces Belize Select in a 6 p.m. game on Sunday. Belize fell to Baylor, 115-47, in the first game on Saturday.
Download: cancun, quintana roo box score.pdf