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.
SEC BASKETBALL ARKANSAS 88, AUBURN 80, 2OT:
One chance too many
Young’s third try a winner
NWA Media/ANTHONY REYES -- Arkansas sophomore BJ Young (11) shoots against Auburn in the second half Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks won 88-80 in double overtime.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas sophomore guard BJ Young is used to taking control of the game, but he couldn’t finish on driving attempts at the end of regulation and the first overtime against Auburn on Wednesday night.
Given another chance to make a clutch play late in the second overtime, Young decided against forcing another drive into the teeth of the Tigers’ defense and hit a three-point basket to help the Razorbacks beat Auburn 88-80 before an announced crowd of 10,056 at Walton Arena.
Marshawn Powell scored 28 points and BJ Young 22 to lead Arkansas
Auburn's Allen Payne hit a 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to OT
The Razorbacks are now 11-5 overall, 2-1 in the SEC; Auburn is 8-8, 2-1
Young’s three-pointer with 26 seconds left in the second overtime - and two seconds left on the 35-second shot clock - over Auburn’s zone defense gave the Razorbacks an 84-78 lead that the Tigers weren’t able to overcome.
“He’s a scorer, and me being a scorer,I know that it’s only so long you can hold him down,” Auburn senior guard Frankie Sullivan said. “We should have finished the game out. ... and then he wouldn’t have been able to do what he did.”
After Young’s failed scoring attempts when he had a chance to win the game in regulation and overtime, Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson talked to himabout trusting his teammates rather than trying to do it by himself when the defense collapses on him.
“As I told him, ‘You’ll make up for it, you’ll be OK,’ ” Anderson said. “That’s the confidence I have in him, and sure enough, he did.”
Young, who had 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in 47 minutes, waited patiently for an open look on the decisive three-pointer.
“That was critical,” Anderson said. “I thought our guys did a good job of moving the ball, and he took what the defense gave him.”
Arkansas junior forward Coty Clarke and junior guard Kikko Haydar combined to make 4 of 4 free throws in the final 16 seconds of the second overtime for the final margin.It was the Razorbacks’ first double overtime game in 26 years, since Arkansas won 100-97 at Texas A&M on Feb. 24, 1987.
“I was proud of our guys, because they showed a lot of resolve,” Anderson said. “Auburn wouldn’t go away, and we wouldn’t go away. It went back and forth, and in the end I guess we made enough plays to find a way to win.”
Powell hit a 16-foot jumper to opener the second overtime period and give Arkansas a 77-75 lead. Auburn never was able to go ahead or tie the score again.
“It was important for us to get that bucket, to establish that we’re not going anywhere, that we’re going to fight until the end,” Powell said. “That’s what we did.”
The Razorbacks had a chance to put away the game at the end of regulation, but junior guard Mardracus Wade missed two free throws with 25.5 seconds left and Arkansas leading 67-64.
Sullivan, who led the Tigers with 26 points, missed a three-point attempt with 10 seconds left, but Auburn grabbed the long rebound and junior forward Allen Payne hit a three-pointer to tie it 67-67 with five seconds left.
Auburn took a 75-74 lead on Sullivan’s driving basket with 44 seconds left in the first overtime, but Wade made 1 of 2 free throws with 35.4 seconds left to tie it 75-75.
After Wade missed the second free throw, the rebound went out of bounds off an Auburn player to give Arkansas possession, but Young failed on a driving attempt, as he had at the end of regulation.
Arkansas (11-5, 2-1 SEC) improved to 19-3 against Auburn in Fayetteville and beat the Tigers (8-8, 2-1) for the fifth consecutive time in the series.
“It was a tough game,” said Auburn Coach Tony Barbee, who fell to 0-5 against the Razorbacks. “You’ve got to take care of home court. That’s what Arkansas did tonight. We gave ourselves a chance to win on the road, and I’m proud of the way our guys fought.”
Auburn took a 64-59 lead with 6:27 left in regulation on Sullivan’s three-point basket, but then the Tigers didn’t score again until Payne’s three-pointer sent the game into overtime as the Razorbacks moved ahead 66-64 onPowell’s three-pointer at the 2:42 mark.
The Razorbacks used a 17-0 run in the first half to take a 25-14 lead, but the Tigers didn’t fold and did a good job of slowing the tempo and getting the ball inside to senior center Rob Chubb, who finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Powell said the Razorbacks never believed they were going to lose.
“Not at all,” Powell said. “Basketball is a game of runs, and we knew they were going to try and make a run. We fought back from their run.”
Sullivan said the Tigers’ “just broke down” in the second overtime.
“I think we just made a lot of mental errors on the defensive end and they made us pay for it,” Sullivan said. “We fought well, but there are no moral victories in this game.”
Wade had 12 points and 3 steals in 35 minutes off the bench after not playing in the second half of the Razorbacks’ 56-33 victory over Vanderbilt last Saturday, when his streak of starts ended at 46 games.
Sports, Pages 17 on 01/17/2013