Jonathon "Pookie" Modica picked a great time to have his best game of the season.
Modica tossed in a season-high 25 points and the junior also grabbed a season-high 9 rebounds to lead Arkansas to a 65-62 win over LSU before a crowd of 20,273 Saturday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
"He was exceptional today," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "He not only had some points, but some boards, too. He was huge today. He stepped up and stayed on a roll. He's back. He has his swagger."
Ronnie Brewer added 19 points and Darian Townes 14 points and career-high 9 rebounds for the Razorbacks (17-7, 5-6), who won their third straight game and also notched a trio of SEC wins in a row for the first time since the 2000-2001 season.
The fifth conference win is also a high in Heath's three seasons at the helm.
"The win was special," Heath said. "I was really proud of the guys. That was as good a performance as I have seen."
Heath also praised the season-high crowd, one that was the sixth largest in school history and one that helped Arkansas end a five-game losing streak in the series.
"The crowd fed us and we fed them," Heath said."I can't say enough about them. They were remarkable."
Arkansas led 51-36 with 13:06 left in the game, but had to survive two game-tying LSU 3-pointers in the final minute for the win.
The last one was from LSU senior guard Antonio Hudson, whose miss was swatted out of bounds by Brewer as time ran out.
"We knew they would make a big run, but it kind of got away from us more than it had to," Heath said.
LSU head coach John Brady, who has gotten the wrath of the Arkansas fans, seemed to enjoy the attention and the crowd as well.
"I hope it's a little respect that they have," Brady said. "We had a little thing with Stan when he first got here, but I don't have a beef with him. They had the sixth largest crowd in the building history and that is good for SEC basketball."
Perhaps Hudson put it best.
"It was mayhem," Hudson said.
Arkansas was sizzling at the free throw line by making 16-of-17 charity tosses, a 94.1 percent mark that tied for the fourth-best in Razorback history.
"This was a big relief," Townes said. "This was a big game we had been waiting on."
The Razorbacks won the battle of the boards 34-29 after LSU had outrebounded Arkansas 42-29 in the first meeting.
"That was the big key to the game," Heath said. "We wouldn't have had a chance if they had dominated us again on the glass like they did last time. We put a major emphasis in that area and we responded very well."
The win also avenged an controversial overtime loss to LSU (13-8, 6-4) earlier in the season.
Arkansas thought they had won that game 59-58 back on Jan. 19 on a 3-pointer by Mike Jones - who is injured and did not play on Saturday - but ended up losing 66-61 in overtime.
Brandon Bass had 14 points and 7 rebounds to lead LSU while Tack Minor added 14 points, Darrel Mitchell 12 and Glen "Big Baby" Davis 11 points and 7 rebounds.
That was a far cry from Davis' 26 points and 18 rebounds he had in the two teams' first game this season.
"I've been kind of hard on Darian about his defense and I think he really stepped up and took it as a challenge," Heath said. "I think he was a little bit disappointed in the way we had been getting hurt inside, especially in the last game against LSU. He played outstanding today."
The Razorbacks shot 51.7 percent from the field in the first half, but made just 6-of-21 in the second 20 minutes of action.
But they brought home the win by hitting 10-of-11 free throws after intermission.
"We only missed one free throw," Heath said. "That's amazing."
Modica drilled his first six shots - three of them from behind the arc - and had 17 first-half points and six rebounds.
Brewer got all 16 of his first-half points in a span of just over six minutes and did so with two fouls.
He did so by knocking down two 3-pointers and all four of his free throws in an opening half where Arkansas knocked down all six of charity tosses.
Brewer's two free throws - the sixth and seventh of those points - put the Razorbacks ahead 30-29 and was the start of a 15-2 run that allowed Arkansas to take control of the game.
He would nail two more free throws, an 18-footer, a 12-footer and then capped the first-half scoring with 3-pointer that sent Arkansas to intermission ahead 41-32.
Olu Famutimi's two free throws after intermission capped the run and put the Razorbacks ahead 43-32 with 19:23 remaining in the game.
"A few weeks ago, we would have lost by 30," Davis said. "We definitely grew as a team and had some positives."
Arkansas took its biggest lead to that point whe Modica knocked down his fourth 3-pointer and Eric Ferguson followed with another to push the home team ahead 51-36 at the 13:06 mark.
LSU then begin to cut into that lead slowly and got to within 55-47 when Bass followed up a slam on one possession with two free throws on the next.
In between, Brewer picked up his fourth foul of the game with 8:39 left in the game.
"It took away from our momentum," Heath said. "It took away from our flow. He was dynamite in the first half and they didn't have an answer for him. Once he got into foul trouble, it really took away from our rhythm."
Townes had just hit two free throws to push it to 61-52 at that when Brewer returned with 5:53 remaining.
LSU then got it to within 65-62 on Hudson's 3-pointer at the 1:37 mark and had a shot to tie it with less than a minute but Mitchell couldn't connect on a 3-pointer from the left wing.
Brewer's shot was then partially blocked by Xavier Whipple and gave LSU a shot for a tie with less than five seconds left.
Bud Walton Arena exploded when that shot missed and Brewer smartly swatted the rebound out of bounds.
"It is nice for us for us to get a little more momentum and takes us deeper into the SEC schedule," Heath said.
Arkansas, who has five SEC games left, will now hit the road for its next two games with a battle at Alabama on Wednesday and one at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
The Razorbacks will then host Tennessee and Mississippi State before closing out the regular season at Auburn.
Arkansas 65, LSU 62
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