FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Missouri had made 3-pointer after
3-pointer during a second-half rally -- and now, needing one more to
tie in the final seconds, the Tigers' Marcus Watkins was open on
the right wing.
"I saw a bunch of them that I didn't think were going in that
went in," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "And then a I saw that
one -- I thought that was going in, and fortunately it didn't."
Watkins' shot rolled around and out, and the Razorbacks held on
for a 66-63 win Friday night. Arkansas blew a 14-point second half
lead, but rebounded in time to secure its third straight victory.
The Razorbacks (5-2) went ahead 63-61 on Jonathon Modica's
three-point play with 1:11 remaining, then missed three of four
free throws. Dontell Jefferson finally made two to make it 66-63
with 9.3 seconds to play, but Missouri had one more chance.
The Tigers (2-2) were 6-of-8 from 3-point range in the second
half, and Arkansas didn't want to allow another attempt to tie it.
Eric Ferguson fouled Jason Horton deliberately with 5.8 seconds
left. Horton missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and Missouri
rebounded, but Watkins' shot didn't stay down.
"I think that last look was a better look than any coach could
draw up," Horton said. "It just didn't go down for us."
Ronnie Brewer scored 20 points for Arkansas, including a
breakaway dunk that put the Razorbacks ahead 53-39 with just over 8
minutes remaining. But Missouri went on a 16-2 run to tie it.
Horton gave Missouri a 58-57 lead with a 3-pointer, then Brewer
answered with a 3 of his own. Horton banked in a 3-pointer to put
the Tigers ahead 61-60, but Modica's basket and free throw put
Arkansas in front to stay.
"I think a maturity sign for us was just our ability to hang in
there," Heath said. "Even when we got down by one, Brewer made a
big play with a 3, and then Modica made a big play."
Modica scored 19 points for the Razorbacks.
"I felt like Missouri couldn't guard me," Modica said. "Coach
Heath told us to continue being aggressive and try to draw fouls."
"We didn't fold up and collapse," Townes said. "We stayed
Kevin Young had 13 points and eight rebounds for Missouri.
Horton scored nine points, all on second-half 3-pointers. The
Tigers shot 9-of-18 from 3-point range for the game.
Both teams struggled from the free-throw line. Arkansas shot
15-of-23, and Missouri went 8-of-17.
Missouri had won two straight after a disappointing
season-opening loss to Sam Houston State. Coach Quin Snyder said
the Tigers are making progress.
"Our team grew up a little tonight as far as playing
together," Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. "Some of it is youth
and some of it is discipline. We were playing against a different
level of athletes tonight. For the most part our effort was really
The Razorbacks led 34-26 after a spirited but sloppy first half
in which the teams combined for 19 turnovers. Ferguson and Horton
each received a technical foul after becoming tangled during a
stoppage in play with 10:25 remaining.
The Razorbacks' bench was charged with an early technical when
Heath argued after a non-call on Modica's drive.
"I've been trying to watch my language, and that time it
slipped," Heath said with a smile.
That sequence appeared to spark Arkansas, which went on a 25-8
run to take a 31-16 lead.
Missouri rallied toward the end of the first half, however, and
then again toward the end of the second.
"I'd rather us win by 10," Heath said. "It's a lot easier on
me. But for our experience, to pull these games out, I'm sure it's
going to help us down the road and give our team more confidence."
SMU has signed a second player from Australia, 6-foot-11 forward Harry Froling, to a national letter of intent. The Mustangs previously signed guard Tom Wilson from Australia.
There's nothing to suggest the Jayhawks won't end up atop the Big 12 for a 13th season in a row. But what about a return to the Final Four?
Colorado State graduate transfer John Gillon has chosen Syracuse, giving the Orange a potential starter at point guard entering the 2016-17 season.