Tide get tough late on Razorbacks

By: Paul Boyd
Published: Monday, January 8, 2018
Arkansas forward Devin Cosper (21) drives to the basket against Alabama on Jan. 7, 2018 in Bud Walton Arena.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas forward Devin Cosper (21) drives to the basket against Alabama on Jan. 7, 2018 in Bud Walton Arena.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Alabama came up with a strong finish and a big SEC road victory Sunday afternoon at Walton Arena.

Arkansas took a one-point lead with 2:58 left in the fourth quarter, but managed just one field goal the rest of the way as the Crimson Tide rallied for an 83-76 victory.

Arkansas Coach Mike Neighbors said Alabama was better late in the game.

"Credit to them, I thought they imposed their will in the fourth quarter, after a very good third quarter by our guys," said Neighbors, whose team led by as many as seven points late in the third quarter. "I thought they played great. I thought when the intensity of the game turned up, I thought their veterans stepped up and made some really big plays.

"And they became the aggressors, started throwing the ball inside and driving it to the basket every time. They grind on you. Even though they don't have great size, they all have great strength and they can all post you up. That makes it really difficult and really challenges your defense. Their height is very deceiving when you talk about how difficult they are to guard."

Arkansas (10-6, 1-2 SEC) scored seven consecutive points and grabbed a 69-68 lead on Malica Monk's jumper in the fourth quarter before Alabama (12-4, 2-1) took over. Keiryn Swenson's three-pointer was Arkansas' lone field goal in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

Jordan Lewis, a 5-7 sophomore, scored eight of her team-high 18 points in the final 90 seconds, including a three-point play that put the Crimson Tide up 74-69 with 1:22 left.

The Crimson Tide made 20 of 25 free throws in the fourth quarter and were 25 of 36 for the game. Arkansas made 18 of 21 free throws in the contest.

Ashley Williams, who made 11 of 13 free throws, led three other Alabama players in double figures with 17. Shaquera Wade added 15 and 6-foot-5 Ashley Knight added 10 off the bench.

Alabama Coach Kristy Curry was pleased with her team's aggressiveness late when the Crimson Tide fed the ball ball inside to their post players and drew fouls.

"Just great toughness by our team," Curry said. "We've had a lot of great experiences to draw from. I thought that our post players were just phenomenal. I thought our guards really fed of their energy."

Arkansas' Devin Cosper posted her seventh double-double of the season with a game-high 24 points and 13 rebounds. She was also 12 of 12 from the foul line. Monk added 21, while Jailyn Mason chipped in 12.

The Razorbacks enjoyed a big third quarter and led 55-50 entering the fourth quarter, after trailing 32-29 at halftime. But Alabama grabbed momentum when Mason was whistled for a personal and a technical foul on the same play. Williams made three of four free throws.

Arkansas rebounded the missed free throw, but turned the ball over. Nene Bolton then scored inside for a 61-60 Alabama lead with 7:06 left in the fourth quarter.

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