Rickey Scott – 4-of-42 from 3-point range in his care entering the game – swished a 3-pointer with 9:47 left en route to scoring eight straight points to finally spark what had been a frigid Razorback attack.
Scott followed that up with an old-fashioned 3-point play that put Arkansas ahead for good at 45-43 with 7:25 left and the Razorbacks went on to down Auburn 56-53 before 11,350 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
"Rickey came off the bench in the second half, and I thought he came out with a different focus and obviously that focus was defensively, and it led to some offensive things," Anderson said. "It was great to see him knock some shots down and play with some confidence."
It came just a few days after a big home win over Michigan on national television.
"I think we had what you would call a Michigan hangover," Anderson said.
The Razorbacks rebounded from a dismal first half after which Anderson let his team have a piece of his mind and then walked out for his team to take ownership.
B.J. Young, who had a team-high 11 points, said his head coach got his point across at halftime.
"Coach came in and talked for a little bit and then he said, 'It's on you all. Figure it out.'" Young said. "And then the coaches walked out."
Anderson said he knew exactly what he was doing.
"I didn't say a little, I said a lot," Anderson said. " Then I left it to let them hash it out. ... I think they did some in-depth thinking and turned this thing around."
He expanded on his actions.
"That's part of hopefully the leadership and the ownership," Anderson said. "They've got to take some ownership as well. They saw how they played, and they know what's at stake. That sense of urgency has got to come from them.
"I said what I needed to say and they knew what I was talking about," Anderson said. "Hopefully it wasn't one of those deals where it was, ‘Rah-rah, let's go.' No, I think they did some in-depth thinking and said ‘Let's turn this thing around.'"
Auburn's Kenny Gabriel led his team with 13 points and had a 3-pointer to tie the game at the buzzer, but was badly off.
"Any time you lose like that, it is a heartbreaker," Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. "I am proud of the guys with the way they fought. Any time you go on the road in this conference and you can play that hard and fight that tough and give yourself an opportunity to win, that's all you can ask for. We had our chances. Unfortunately, they made a couple more plays than we did at the end."
Barbee did think that Adrian Forbes had been fouled on a rebound before he passed the ball back out to Gabriel.
"Did you see Adrian Forbes get that free-throw rebound miss and get whacked over the arm, over the head?" Barbee asked. "That was a huge no-call. No matter the time, the score, the situation, if there's a foul there, you're supposed to blow the whistle and there wasn't one blown." Anderson noted his team won because of its defense after a first half in which it shot just 14.7 percent from the floor.
"Our saving grace tonight was our defense," Anderson said. "You'll have some off nights on offense, but defense can always be there.
Julysess Nobles and Rashad Madden had 10 points each while DeVonta Abron added 9 and Scott - who is now 4 of 35 from 3-point range this season - his 8.
Nobles had all 10 of his points in the second half and also had 5 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists in the game.
Arkansas won because it shot 15-of-27 from the field in the second half after an atrocious 4-of-27 effort before intermission.
"That game was a grinder," Anderson said. "I appreciate the fans staying around after that first half." Young echoed that sentiment and noted that it was about his team sticking together after halftime.
"It was a great thing for our team," Young said. " We stayed together and we really focused on the defensive end because we couldn't throw it in the ocean. But we stayed focused on our defensive end and never really lost our head and Coach Anderson helped keep us together at halftime. We only had 19 points or something like that and we just tried to stay focused on the defensive end and came out with a W."
The first half was surely one of the worst ever played by two teams in the 17-plus years that Bud Walton Arena has been open.
Auburn led 22-19 despite having 15 turnovers and shooing just 37.5 percent (9-24) from the floor.
Barbee felt like his club should have been much farther ahead than it was, but knows it is offensively challenged.
"Our team doesn't have great spurt ability, so if you guard a team like we did in the first half and they miss the shots they did, you should be up by 20-plus points," Barbee said. "But we are what we are offensively and that's why the game stayed as close as it was."
The Tigers were ahead because the Razorbacks – who hit their first 11 shots against Michigan – missed their first eight against Auburn.
The only thing that kept in the game was knocking down 10-of-14 free throw attempts while Auburn was just 2-of-4 from the stripe.
"We just couldn't hit shots," Nobles said. "Our defense was there, we just couldn't hit no shots. We went to the locker room and we talked and we know we couldn't play a worse half than that. We just came out in the second half still trying to play defense and to hit shots and that's what we did."
Scott's 3-pointer - his first points of the game - with 8:53 left in the game got Arkansas ahead 42-39, but two straight lay-ups by Allen Payne gave Auburn the lead right back.
But Scott scored inside, was fouled and added a free throw to give his team the lead for good and then he added a lay-up off an assist from Nobles for a 47-43 advantage with 6:53 left.
The Tigers would get it to within 52-51 on Chris Denson's jumper with 2:32 left, but Young answered right back with a shot in the lane to surge Arkansas ahead 54-51 at the 2:10 mark.
Madden missed a free throw with 42 seconds left, but redeemed himself with a strip of Auburn center Robb Chubb and a length of the floor pass for a Young dunk with 20 seconds remaining.
Josh Wallace's lay-up cut it to 56-53 with 15 second left and then had a chance to tie it when Mardracus Wade missed a free throw with seven second remaining.
Freshman forward Hunter Mickelson got the first start of his career and had four points and four rebounds and also extended his streak of games with at least one blocked shot to 20.
Denson and Frankie Sullivan had 10 points each for Auburn.
The Tigers lost guards Varez Ward and Josh Langford during the game to injury.
"It was a pretty tough game," Gabriel said. "The crowd was in it pretty much the whole game, especially when they went on runs. I feel like if we had taken care of the ball a little bit better and made a couple more plays, we would have won the game."
Arkansas will travel to play Alabama Saturday at 12:30 at Coleman Coliseum.
The Crimson Tide has now lost four games in a row after falling at South Carolina on on Wednesday night.
"They are probably going to come out swinging then," Young said. " We are at their house and it's a big rivalry and they lost four games in a row so they are probably going to come out with high intensity and we just have got to stick around and hold the game and pull it out at the end."