Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Young's acrobatic shot lifts Arkansas
Arkansas' B.J. Young (11) spins toward the basket against Georgia's Nemanja Djurisic, center left, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, bottom, and Donte Williams, rear left, before taking the winning shot to defeat Georgia 62-60 in an NCAA college basketball game in Fayetteville, Ark., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/April L. Brown)
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas guard BJ Young appeared more relieved than elated after the Razorbacks beat Georgia 62-60 on Thursday night at Walton Arena.
“I just felt like we could have played much better,” Young said. “We didn’t have to make it come down to the wire.”
But when the game did, Young was there to save the Razorbacks, just as he did in their 73-71 victory over Missouri last Saturday.
Young scored on a driving basket, getting himself and the ball around Georgia 6-8 forward Nemanja Djurisic for a scoop shot with 5.3 seconds left to put the Razorbacks ahead 62-60.
Georgia had a chance to send the game into overtime, but senior guard Vincent Williams missed a driving attempt at the buzzer before an announced crowd of 9,614.
Young finished with eight points, one more than he scored in the final 29.3 seconds against Missouri, including two three-point plays off driving baskets, to help the Razorbacks rally from a 70-66 deficit.
After Georgia sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored on a layup to tie it 60-60 with 33 seconds left, Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson called a timeout.
“We put it in BJ’s hands, and he made a play,” Anderson said. “That’s what players do.”
Young, guarded by Caldwell-Pope, dribbled the clock down to about 10 seconds, when he got a screen from junior forward Coty Clarke to create a lane to the basket.
“Same play, same setup as the Mizzou game,” Young said. “Just a set we like to call at the end of the game, and then I capitalized on it.”
Arkansas (17-9, 8-5 SEC) won its third consecutive game and is tied with Missouri and Ole Miss for fourth place in the SEC race behind Florida (11-2), Alabama (10-3) and Kentucky (9-4).
“It wasn’t how we planned it to happen, but as that old coach used to tell me, a raggedy ride is better than a smooth walk,” Anderson said, quoting former Razorbacks Coach Nolan Richardson. “We didn’t play our best, but we found a way to win.”
The Razorbacks led 28-18 at halftime after Georgia shot 18.2 percent (4 of 22) from the field.
“I don’t think our team played with much courage in the first half,” Georgia Coach Mark Fox said. “I don’t think we played very well. Arkansas was certainly to credit for a lot of that.”
The Razorbacks pushed their lead to 41-30 on freshman guard Anthlon Bell’s three-point basket with 12:51 left, and the lead looked even bigger than 11 points considering Georgia’s offensive struggles.
But the Bulldogs (12-14, 6-7) responded by outscoring the Razorbacks 26-12 over a 10-minute span and took a 56-53 lead on Caldwell-Pope’s three-point basket with 2:30 left.
“We just decided we wanted to start competing,” Fox said.
Arkansas junior forward Marshawn Powell, who was limited to 15 minutes because of foul problems and came back into the game with 5:18 left, hit a three-point basket to tie it 56-56.
The Razorbacks then went ahead 58-56 on two free throws by junior guard Mardracus Wade, but he then fouled Caldwell-Pope, who hit two free throws to tie 58-58.
Powell, who scored 11 points, scored inside with 46.5 seconds left to give Arkansas a 60-58 lead. He was fouled but missed the free throw.
Then it was Young coming through after Caldwell-Pope - who scored all 15 of his points in the second half - tied the game for the ninth time.
“I really wasn’t frustrated,” said Young, who appeared subdued after the game. “I just felt like we let them hang around and let them gain confidence. That was our fault. We should have just come out from the start and jumped on them ... but it didn’t happen like that.
“I had to make a play, I made a play.”
Bell, who had scored just 18 points combined in Arkansas’ first 12 SEC games, scored a team-high 17 points in 15 minutes off the bench. He made 6 of 10 shots, including 5 of 8 three-pointers.
“Georgia was playing a zone and so we needed somebody who could knock some shots down, and he was that guy tonight,” Anderson said of Bell.
The Razorbacks played Georgia between Missouri and Florida.
“Bottom line is we want to find a way to win those kind of games, because it’s one of those games that’s sandwiched in,” Anderson said. “We’re certainly happy with the win. We can play better, but we’re happy with the win. This game was played at Georgia’s pace and we found a way to win. That’s a good sign.
“I think we’re growing. We had adversity take place. A lot of times, especially last year, even some this year, when we had adversity take place we tried to do it individually. And when you start doing it individually your hole gets even bigger. Tonight you saw, even as we went down three, we continued to stay calm and trust in one another.”
Sports, Pages 17 on 02/22/2013