In a game that featured 15 ties and 14 lead changes, as Alabama (12-6, 2-3 SEC) and Razorbacks (13-5, 3-2) battled back and forth all night. The Crimson Tide recorded a season-high 91 points thanks to 12 three-pointers, also a season high, but it wasn’t enough to claim the victory.
“Credit to Arkansas, they did a great job tonight,” Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said. “We knew they would be tough tonight in their building. I think the game came down to the rebounding. Twenty-one offensive rebounds and the 17 turnovers we had. It is tough to win on the road especially against an opponent as talented as Arkansas when you do those things. Definitely proud of the effort our guys gave. I thought despite everything else we put ourselves in a position where we had chances. Unfortunately we didn’t come out with the win.”
The Tide was led in scoring by freshman Justin Coleman who collected a career-high 22 points on the strength of five three-pointers – all coming in the second half. Junior guard Ricky Tarrant recorded his team-leading fourth 20-point game of the season, contributing 21 to the Alabama total. Both Cooper (15) and Randolph (12) also reached double figures on the night.
Arkansas got off to a hot start, hitting six of their first 10 attempts on the way to a 13-3 lead at the first media timeout. Alabama battled back, riding a hot streak that led to 10 consecutive points from Rodney Cooper, getting the Tide to within two, 15-13, at the 12:09 mark before a Razorback timeout.
The game remained close from that point on. A late layup by Shannon Hale sent the two teams to half with Arkansas up, 34-30. The Crimson Tide was led in the first half by Rodney Cooper and his 15 points through the first 20 minutes of play.
Arkansas maintained a lead early on in the second period, but a huge three pointer at the 14-minute mark from freshman Justin Coleman gave the Tide its first lead of the half at 43-40.
With 7:08 left, Arkansas had a 64-57 lead, but the Tide would not let it get any larger. Alabama went on an 8-0 run and tied the game at 66-all with 4:37 left to play. However, the Hogs countered with four consecutive points to head into the final television timeout up, 70-66.
A key defensive stop by Alabama with 1:30 left to play gave them an offensive possession down, 75-73, but a charge on Tarrant squandered the opportunity to even things up. Arkansas capitalized with an and-one possession to take a five-point lead with less than 30 seconds to play. Heading back down the court, Tarrant was fouled and sent to the line where he made his two free chances to put the Tide down three, 78-75.
The Hogs offensive attack was then squandered, as the Tide came up with a huge defensive stop and brought the ball back down the court, resulting in a layup and a foul on the shot to allow Michael Kessens a three-point play that evened the score at 78-78 at the end of regulation.
The Crimson Tide struck first in overtime to take the 80-78 lead. The two teams remained close for the next four minutes. Following two made free throws by the Razorbacks to set them ahead 91-88, Alabama brought the ball down court and evened the score thanks to a Shannon Hale three-pointer, which tied the game with 8.8 seconds left. On the final play of the game an Arkansas tip-in sunk the Crimson Tide and sent the team home with a loss, 93-91.
Alabama’s next action comes this Saturday, Jan. 24, as in-state rival Auburn travels to Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide and Tigers will play in front of a sold out crowd, with the tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT with the game airing on SEC Network.