Tide Streak Ends With Win Over Hogs

Alabama's first half strategy of pressing Arkansas was disastrous. The Razorbacks beat the press and struck with a barrage of baskets, some three-pointers, some slam dunks–all unguarded–and raced to a a commanding lead. So what did Bama do? The Tide kept to the strategy. It paid dividends as the Crimson Tide came from behind for a 73-68 win in Coleman Coliseum Saturday.

Down by nine at halftime, Alabama took the lead before the second half reached the midpoint. Although Arkansas challenged, the Crimson Tide made clutch shots, and clutch free throws to ice the victory.

The win ended a four-game losing streak for Alabama, while Arkansas had its five-game winning streak ended. Bama improved to 14-11 overall and 4-7 in Southeastern Conference games, while Arkansas fell to 13-12 overall and 6-4 in the conference.

After an open date during the upcoming week, Alabama next plays at Georgia at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time) next Saturday. The Crimson Tide does not return to Tuscaloosa until hosting Ole Miss February 27.

Mikhail Torrance scored 12 points in the game, not close to high scorer, but his seven points early in the second half keyed the Crimson Tide's impressive comeback victory.

Alabama trailed at halftime, 38-29. Bama had the ball with time for one shot and trailing by seven points when there was a play reminiscent of the end of the Auburn game. Torrance, who did not start for the second consecutive game, had the ball stolen from him at midcourt and the Razorbacks made a layup to extend the lead to nine.

Alabama took over almost from the outset of the second half. Arkansas got the lead to 11, but with 14-40 to play Torrance hit a short jumper to pull the Tide to within three at 45-42. Thirty seconds later Charvez Davis drained a trey to tie the score.

After the Razorbacks went back in front, Torrance drove for a basket and was fouled. He made the free throw for a 48-47 lead. Moments later Torrance made another short jumper for a 50-47 Crimson Tide lead and then made a layup and was fouled, making the free throw. With 10:29 to play the Tide had turned its nine-point halftime deficit into a six-point lead at 53-47.

There were all manner of clutch shots as the Razorbacks tied the game at 53-53, fell back by seven at 64-57 with 4:36 to play, and took its final lead of the game at 65-64 with 2:27 to play.

Bama point guard Anthony Brock, a senior from Little Rock, came right back with a three-point lead for a 67-65 Tide lead and the Razorbacks never caught up.

Torrance hit two free throws with 31 seconds to play, JaMychal Green made a pair with 15 seconds, and after a layup by the Razorbacks Courtney Fortson, Anthony Brock closed out the scoring with a pair of foul shots with six seconds to play.

Alabama out-scored the Razorbacks 44-30 in the second half.

Arkansas, the SEC's leading scoring team at 75 points per game, was held to its lowest total since it scored 67 in a win over Mississippi State to start its five-game winning streak.

In an unusual scenario for Alabama, the Crimson Tide won the game at the free throw line. It's usually the Bama opponent shooting a lot of foul shots, but on Saturday Alabama made 22-29 free throws (75.9 per cent), Arkansas just 6-12. The Hogs outscored Bama from the floor, 62-51. Arkansas made 37-58 field goals (46.6 per cent) and 8-21 three pointers (38.1 per cent) while the Tide was good on 24-49 (49 per cent) and 2-7 on three-pointers (42.9 per cent).

Alabama had a commanding 38-24 advantage in rebounds. No Arkansas player had more than four.

Alabama had 16 turnovers, but just five in the second half. The Razorbacks turned it over 13 times. Arkansas scored 20 points off Alabama turnovers, the Tide 17 off Hogs' miscues.

With 11 offensive rebounds, the Tide had a big advantage in second chance points, 15-4.

Green led Alabama with 22 points and nine rebounds. Torrance had 12 points, Senario Hillman 11 points, and Anthony Brock 10 points and five assists and three steals.

Fortson, a native of Montgomery, led Arkansas with 18 points on 5-17 shooting from the field, but after making his first three three-point shots of the game finished 3-8 on treys. Mike Washington had 12 points and Marshawn Powell 10 for the Hogs.

In some respects, Alabama was fortunate to be as close as it was at halftime. Alabama made its last field goal of the first half with 10 minutes to play. Alabama had 11 turnovers at the half. Arkansas made six of its first seven three-point shots, then didn't make another in the half, finishing 6-15. Arkansas ace Courtney Fortson, a native of Montgomery who has fueled the Razorbacks, made his first three treys and finished the first half 3-6.

The Razorbacks had taken 31 first half shots to just 17 by Alabama. The Tide had attempted only one three-point shot. The only thing keeping Alabama in the game was that the Tide had made 11-16 free throws. JaMychal Green had 11 first half points with only two field goals. He made 7-8 foul shots.

Alabama's only first half lead was at 2-0 and the Razorbacks built a lead of 13 points at 34-21.

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