SEC MEN’S BASKETBALL ARKANSAS 85, GEORGIA 67:

Touching up the résumé: Hannahs tells fans Hogs are going dancing

By: Bob Holt
Published: Sunday, March 5, 2017
Arkansas guard Dusty Hannahs speaks to the crowd that the Razorbacks were "Going dancing" Saturday, March 4, 2017, after the Razorbacks' 85-67 win over Georgia in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas guard Dusty Hannahs speaks to the crowd that the Razorbacks were "Going dancing" Saturday, March 4, 2017, after the Razorbacks' 85-67 win over Georgia in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas Razorbacks guard Dusty Hannahs had a message Saturday for the fans in Walton Arena.

"We just want to let y'all know we're going dancing," Hannahs said into a microphone.

That was Hannahs' way of saying the Razorbacks are in the NCAA Tournament after beating Georgia 85-67 before an announced crowd of 16,055.

The Razorbacks (23-8, 12-6) certainly looked like an NCAA Tournament team, pulling away from the Bulldogs (18-13, 9-9) in the second half.

"No doubt," Georgia Coach Mark Fox said of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's NCAA Tournament worthiness. "They've got a very good team. We thought that coming in. They've got a team that we felt like was a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

"They've got good balance. They've got a nice club. Give them credit. They played well and we couldn't slow them down."

Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said he has no doubt about his team being in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.

"We've done what we're supposed to do," Anderson said.

The Razorbacks won six of their final seven regular-season games after losses at Missouri and Vanderbilt dropped their record to 17-7.

"I'm sure some of you threw out a few tweets that said we were dead in the water," Hannahs said in the postgame news conference. "Look at us now."

Arkansas' three seniors -- Hannahs, center Moses Kingsley and guard Manny Watkins -- combined to score 42 points Saturday.

Kingsley, who submitted his name last spring for NBA Draft but withdrew it to come back to Arkansas, had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.

"Moses came back to win and it worked," said Hannahs, sitting between Kingsley and Watkins in the news conference "I thank you for coming back."

Hannahs scored 15 points and Watkins 12. Junior guard Jaylen Barford scored 15 points for the Razorbacks.

"Unbelievable effort," Anderson said. "Great energy."

Senior guard J.J. Frazier led Georgia with 24 points. Sophomore forward Derek Ogbeide added 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Razorbacks outscored the Bulldogs 47-30 in the second half after leading 38-37 at halftime.

"We always think of ourselves as a second-half team," Anderson said. "I thought defensively, offensively, all of it clicked.

"We came out with multiple stops at the beginning of the second half. Then I thought the fans fed off of that and our guys fed off of that. Before you know it, I thought the game sped up. It sped up to our liking."

Arkansas outscored Georgia 24-9 to start the second half, including eight points by Barford, to push its lead to 64-46 with 11:43 left.

Georgia never got closer than 12 points the rest of the game and trailed by as many as 21.

"We just started the second half poorly and they took that momentum and ran with it," Fox said.

The Razorbacks shot 60.6 percent (20 of 33) in the second half compared to the Bulldogs shooting 25 percent (8 of 32).

"Coach told us we had to get after it the first five minutes of the second half and we made up our minds that we were going to get stops," Kingsley said. "Jaylen made a three and we just got it rolling."

Anderson was asked his thoughts on Hannahs addressing the crowd about the NCAA Tournament.

"I mean, Dusty is Dusty," Anderson said with a smile. "I think he really wanted to speak to the crowd.

"More than anything he was thanking the people for showing up and giving them the inspiration to come out each and every night and leave it all out on the floor. They showed their appreciation by showing up, especially on a senior day.

"Dusty's always going to say something that I probably told him not to say. But I think he was feeling good."

The Razorbacks have earned a double bye in the SEC Tournament and will play Friday in Nashville, Tenn. The tournament's winner earns the conference's automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

"We're not done," Watkins said. "But it feels good the last regular-season home game to go out like that."

The seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony with their families. Hannahs said it was a bittersweet feeling for the seniors knowing it was their final home game.

"But how we did it took away the bitter part of it," Hannah said. "It's just sweet right now."

Sports on 03/05/2017

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