Alabama 64, Arkansas 61

No. 18 Alabama goes on a 15-0 run that extends from one half into the other to down Arkansas and send a season-best crowd of 18,533 home unhappy from Bud Walton Arena.

The last time Alabama made its way into Bud Walton Arena, the Crimson Tide spotted the home team 22 points in the second half and still roared back to win in overtime.

This season's nine-point deficit in the opening 20 minutes of action must have seemed like child's play to the nation's No. 18 team.

Alabama delivered a 15-0 run that carried from one half into the other and then held off an Arkansas squad that couldn't get the lead back en route to a 64-61 SEC win before 18,533 fans at Bud Walton Arena and an ESPN national television audience.

"There are a lot of broken hearts in our locker room right now," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "We played hard, but we didn't make the best decisions."

Earnest Shelton canned four 3-pointers while tossing in 18 points , Chuck Davis added 17 inside and star player Kennedy Winston came alive late and finished with 13 for the No. 18 Crimson Tide (13-3, 2-1).

It was the fifth time that Alabama had came into Arkansas' home arena and won - more than any other league foe since the Razorbacks joined the SEC.

"It was a great win for us to come into a place that we had some success, but is as tough as any place to play," Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried said. "Arkansas is a tough team and I couldn't be any prouder of our performance."

Winston missed his second free throw with 9.8 seconds left giving Arkansas (13-3, 1-2) a chance to tie the game, but Eric Ferguson's 3-pointer hit the front of the rim and the Razorbacks couldn't get another shot off before the buzzer sounded.



That sent the largest crowd of the season home unhappy for the first time in 10 homes games and gave Winston and Davis, two of four starters back from an Elite Eight team of a season ago, a chance to taunt the crowd as they walked out with victory.

"I had a good look and it just didn't go in," Ferguson said.

It was the Tide's fourth win in five tries against Arkansas and fifth in the last seven games in the series.

Ronnie Brewer had 15 points to lead Arkansas, Darian Townes added 14, Jonathon Modica 11 and Olu Famutimi 10 as the Razorbacks lost for the second time after an eight-winning streak.

Townes had six of his points before that 15-0 run and eight of them afterwards, but the Razorbacks clearly missed a chance to get him involved during its scoring drought.

"We just forced it," Heath said. "You've got guys like Ronnie and Eric and they are capable of making plays. I want them to be aggressive and don't want them to be passive, but after you take one of two and it doesn't fall, it's time to settle down and get a good one and that didn't happen for awhile. That's where our immaturity showed up."

The game turned when the home team went nearly nine minutes without scoring in a game where Alabama shot 60 percent in the first half and 54.2 percent for the game.

"Offfensively we had 26 field goals and 19 assists," Gottfried said. "We definitely did some good things offensively. We got a little nice rotation and passed the ball well tonight."

Arkansas connected on 45.5 percent of its field goal attempts and were outrebounded 32-25.

The Razorbacks committed just seven turnovers to Alabama's 12 while Steven Hill had five of Arkansas' six blocked shots.

Arkansas used a 16-6 run to turn a one-point deficit into a 33-24 lead when Famutimi got a dunk on the break after a steal and an assist from Brewer at the 4:31 mark.

But a second 30-second Alabama timeout in just over a minute allowed the visitors to stem the tide and they ended the half on a 10-0 run to not only steady themselves but take a 34-33 lead into the break.

That run grew to 15-0 into the second half, capped by Jamareo Davidson's dunk that put the Crimson Tide up 39-33 and forced an Arkansas timeout with 15:55 left in the contest.

"I thought we hurried ourselves too much (during that time),"Heath said. "We didn't rebound or reposition ourselves for a good shot."

The Razorbacks finally broke a nearly nine-minute scoring drought when Brewer scored on a lay-up with 15:36 left in the game and Modica's 3-pointer got them to within 39-38 just 30 seconds later.

Soon afterwards Shelton buried two 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the court to surge his team to a 47-40 lead, Alabama's largest of the game to that point as the clock wound down to 13:31 remaining.

Arkansas got within one on four different occassion after then, but Alabama always answered.

Davis and Winston scored their team's final 15 points with the final six came from Winston.

"If we could have ever gotten the lead back with our crowd, who knows what would have happened," Heath said. "But we just didn't get it done."

The Razorbacks' schedule doesn't get any easier on Saturday when they travel to face Mississippi State in a 2 p.m. game.

Alabama is off until hosting Mississippi State next Tuesday on ESPN.


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