Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
Remembering an extraordinary game
Arkansas junior Marshawn Powell shoots as Auburn senior Noel Johnson (32) defends him, Jan. 16, 2013 in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks beat the Tigers 88-80 in double overtime.
FAYETTEVILLE Vastly better basketball teams than this season’s Arkansas Razorbacks and Auburn Tigers have played in the SEC.
Yet, few have ever played each other any better. On Jan. 16, these two ordinary teams played an extraordinary game. It marked the only double overtime game in Walton Arena’s 19-year history.
The Razorbacks won 88-80 when the outnumbered Tigers finally succumbed to Arkansas’ depth and BJ Young’s game-breaking three-pointer with 26 seconds left in the second OT.
Tonight they meet again at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.
As you would expect in a matchup of SEC teams 5-5 and 3-7 in their league, the big networks passed televising this one down to Comcast Sports Southeast, available only on Comcast Cable Channel 23.
Too bad for a mass TV audience, other than online on ESPN3, missing this if the Hogs (14-9, 5-5 SEC),and Tigers (9-14, 3-7) perform above projections like both did in Fayetteville. They battled so hard that the customary post-game respects were authentically real rather than by rote.
Arkansas fourth-year junior Marshawn Powell, posting 28 points and 11 rebounds in 44 minutes, and Auburn senior Frankie Sullivan, scoring 26 points with nine rebounds in 47 minutes, seemed more like championship boxers in collapsed embrace after 15 rounds than a forward and guard in a just-finished basketball game.
“Auburn is very, very tough,” Powell said wearily. “They play defense and they hit you every time. I am just glad we pulled it out. I am tired, man. I am really tired, no lie.”
Arkansas junior guard Mardracus Wade marveled how Sullivan, stifled the first half, bombed the Hogs increasingly from afar with three-pointers during the second half and overtimes.
“In the second half, he was taking two or three steps back and letting it fly,” Wade said. “ A couple of times we lost him and he hit a couple of big shots. That’s what good guys do on teams like that.”
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson recalled Sullivan “hitting them from the Hog’s snout” on the Walton floor.
Lately, Sullivan hasn’t hit much of anything, 4 of 22 in his past two games.
And Powell, after helping the Hogs upset then-No. 2 Florida atWalton, fouled out in 17 minutes while Arkansas laid a 67-49 egg losing Saturday at Vanderbilt.
History indicates if healthy, neither Powell nor Sullivan stays down for long. Nor were they the Lone Rangers starring for their teams Jan. 16.
Young scored 22 while Razorbacks Coty Clarke and Wade, now starters, and Kikko Haydar were superb off the bench.
Auburn center Rob Chubb tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Auburn forward Allen Payne swished the tying three-pointer with five seconds left in regulation to achieve overtime. Noel Johnson hit 3 three-pointers off the Auburn bench.
A lot of peaks dotted that game.
Unfortunately for Arkansas, locale favors Auburn climbing the mountain on the Plains tonight. These Hogs wallow 0-8 away from Arkansas.
Sports, Pages 16 on 02/13/2013