For awhile Wednesday night, it looked as if some members of the University of Arkansas basketball team were joining in on watching the ABC hit television series Lost as well as the Central Arkansas viewing audience.
But not too long after Little Rock TV station KATV started it's much talked about tape-delayed broadcast of the game, the Razorbacks finally did enough to get Georgia booted off the SEC's version of a basketball island.
Freshman Darian Townes had 17 points, sophomore Ronnie Brewer 15 points and 6 rebounds and junior Jonathon "Pookie" Modica added 14 points and went over 1,000 career points as Arkansas downed Georgia 62-47 before 16,234 fans at Bud Walton Arena.
"It wasn't pretty and we really struggled in that first half and didn't seem to be in sync," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said, "but I thought we picked it up in the second half especially on the defensive end and worked a lot harder.
"Our offense got into a flow and really more than anything I was just happy we were able to get a win," Heath said. "Sometimes it's not being productive, but about being gritty and a little bit ugly and getting thw in is the bottom line."
It was the second straight win for the Razorbacks (16-7, 4-6) while freshman guard Channing Toney led the Bulldogs (7-13, 1-9) with 21 points in their fifth straight loss.
Townes, Brewer and Modica scored all 27 of Arkansas' first half points and 46 of their 62 during the game.
"It was not our A game, but I will take an ugly win instead of a pretty loss," noted Modica.
Steven Hill added six late points while Dontell Jefferson and Eric Ferguson (five of his team's 9 steals) both added five points to round out the scoring for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks shot an even 50 percent from the field and hit 81.3 percent (13-of-16) from the free throw line.
Townes had his way inside while hitting 7-of-13 shots and coming just two points shy of the 19 points he put up against Ole Miss last Saturday.
"I saw a weakness in Georgia's defense," Townes said. "They liked to front and that opens things up."
Townes has now scored over 13 points in four of his last five games and was in double figures for the 12th time this season.
The win assured the Razorbacks of their first winning season in four years and also got them within reach of .500 in conference play.
Arkansas started out with a 12-7 lead, but then Georgia went on a 11-3 spree that was capped by Steve Newman's lay-up at the 7:22 mark that surged the visitors ahead 18-15.
"We never once thought it would be an easy game," Heath said. "Defensively they try to take advantage of things people like to do. They like to try and make you go to your third option and we just didn't get off to the start we wanted to defensively or offensively."
But the Razorbacks would eventually respond - or more accurately Georgia struggled - as Arkansas scored the final eight points of the half to take a 27-21 lead at intermission.
Brewer had 12 of his points in the first half and found himself the target of a box-and-ne defense to start the second half.
"That is the first time we saw that all year and I think it caught us a little bit off guard," Heath said. "I think the first couple of possessions we didn't get good shots, but then I think we settled in and decided we weren't just a one-man team, we can move the ball and get it inside and have guys like Jonathon that can be effective out there on the perimeter."
Eric Ferguson's 3-pointer pushed the lead to nine early on in the second half and Modica's slam - a basket that came off a pass from Brewer and made him the 27th Razorback to score over 1,000 career points - match at 40-31 with 12:56 left in the contest.
"That's obviously a milestone," Modica said. "It's big, but we had to win the game. That matters more than the 1,000 points. It's big for my family to do it in a Razorback uniform so I know they are excited, too."
Heath love seeing Modica get the milestone.
"This is back-to-back games where he has got us off to good start early in the game and has been pretty effective scoring the ball for us," Heath said. "He got four rebounds and played some good minutes for us."
Ferguson's trey was the only one of the night and pushed their consecutive streak to 538 games with at least one 3-pointer.
Arkansas pushed that margin to 16 when Modica rammed home one of five Razorback dunks and put his team ahead at the 4:35 mark.
Steven Hill's two free throws gave the home team its largest lead of the night at 59-42 with just 2:22 remaining.
The Razorbacks will return to the court Saturday at 1:05 when they host LSU (13-7, 6-3) in a rematch of a game the homestanding Tigers won 66-63 in overtime after a controversial finish to regulation play.
LSU whipped Auburn 90-69 in Baton Rouge on Wednesday night.
Arkansas' players were already looking forward to the game by the time they hit the locker room.
"LSU stole one," Townes said. "We have to come back and get a big win on Saturday. I've heard people call it 'Payback Saturday.'"
Modica said it is time for Arkansas to end LSU's five-game win streak in the series.
"LSU is our rivalry game of the last two to three years," Modica said. "It's about time we won one of these. How many in a row have that beat us - three, four? We have got to man up and step up to the plate."
Arkansas 62, Georgia 47
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