Davis Does In Arkansas

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Chuck Davis was sick Wednesday night.

In the hip-hop parlance where bad equals good, the Alabama junior power forward was downright ill.

Davis poured in 21 points two days after being laid up with the flu, No. 16 Alabama used its fullcourt pressure to break open a tie game in the second half and the Razorbacks' three-game winning streak ended with a 72-63 loss to the Crimson Tide before 9,410 in Coleman Coliseum.

The Razorbacks (17-8, 5-7 Southeastern Conference) fell to 0-5 against ranked teams this season and Alabama (20-4, 9-2) improved to 12-0 at home.

Arkansas plays at Vanderbilt this Saturday.

For the second straight season, Arkansas led by a point at halftime in Tuscaloosa, but lost its composure after intermission and saw a 39-all score three minutes into the second half turn into a 52-44 hole after the Crimson Tide turned the screws defensively and forced five Razorback turnovers in six possessions to take control of the game with a 7-0 run.

The Hogs never got closer than seven the rest of the way as Davis scored 16 second-half points to lead the way.

"You see that happen all the time with the really good players," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath of Davis' gutty performance in 37 minutes. "The average players don't do it. The good players tend to do that.

"I'd much rather see him healthy than sick."

Davis' 21 led all scorers and teammates Earnest Shelton (19 points) and Kennedy Winston (18) joined him in double figures.

"I was feeling good and felt like I was in good shape," Davis said. "I felt like those days off didn't affect me. They were playing zone and doubling down in the first half, so there weren't many opportunities for shots.

"They went to a man defense (in the second half) and it was my opportunity to score."

SEC Player of the Week Jonathon  Modica looked like it in the first half with 14 points, but he could only manage one basket in his only attempt in the second half to lead Arkansas with 16.

Freshman center Darian Townes had his first career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds and sophomore leading scorer Ronnie Brewer had a rough shooting night with 11 points on 4 of 13 shooting before fouling out late.

The Razorbacks' offense got well in the first half after falling behind 28-16 with 7:27 to play with drives and 3-pointers to take a 34-33 lead to the locker room, but when Alabama went to zone defense and a flash of extended pressure in the second half, the Hogs relapsed.

After knocking down 6 of 10 3-pointers in the first half and getting to the hole against the Tide's man defense, Alabama went to zone and Arkansas didn't make a trey in the second half (0 of 11).

The Tide scored 20 points off Arkansas' 16 turnovers.

"We didn't respond when they went into zone," Brewer said. "We weren't executing, we missed a lot of close shots. We didn't shoot the ball well and they did.

"They made adjustments and we didn't."

The game slowed to a halfcourt affair, Arkansas' biggest weakness this season.

When Alabama finally let up a little on the pressure, Arkansas walked the ball up the court to find the Tide zone set, ready and nearly impenetrable.

"Our zone offense was stagnant and that's something we have to do a better job of," Heath said. "It affected the way we were playing. We were more comfortable when the game was fast paced and we were more comfortable against their man to man defense."

Heath praised his team's effort -- 17 offensive rebounds -- but was disappointed in the offensive regression against the zone and against the backcourt pressure.

The Razorbacks could do little more than swing the ball around the perimeter and Townes showed his displeasure on his face and on his rushed shots.

"I kind of let my frustration get to me because I didn't get the ball inside and once I did, I was rushing my shot," said Townes, who started 1 of 5 in the first half but finished 7 of 14. "I kind of went back to my old ways. Once I settled down, it started to flow from there, but it was too late.

"My frustrations got the best of me tonight and it kind of hurt the team a little on my part."

The game seesawed in the opening moments of the second half after Olu Famutimi scored on a dunk feed from Brewer and drove to the lane for another.

Davis answered both baskets and the score was tied at 39 when Alabama coach Mark Gottfried unleashed his press.

"I thought about pressing in the first half, but I wanted to wait," Gottfried said. "I didn't want them to see it until the second half and it helped us."

Davis scored again to put Alabama ahead 43-39 after a turnover by Brewer and an ensuing foul by Townes.

Arkansas turned it over in the backcourt on consecutive possessions with a 10-second violation and a travel by Eric  Ferguson.

Even Brock dunked one of his five offensive rebounds off a Winston miss and Davis converted a 3-point play after taking a foul from Brewer to put Alabama up 52-44.

Seemingly every time Arkansas cut the lead to seven, Davis pushed it back to nine at 55-46 and 62-53.

Arkansas' recent growth spurt in maturity showed in the first half when it looked like Alabama might run the Hogs out of the gym after they started 1 of 9 from the field.

The Hogs' rally started after Modica came off a screen and sank a 3-pointer and took a feed following a Brewer steal to cut the lead to 28-21.

Winston missed a baseline hook and Ronald Steele blew a layup before Modica, who continued his hot streak with 14 first-half points on 5 of 6 shooting, sank another deep 3-pointer to cut the lead to four and force Alabama to call a timeout.

Brewer and Ferguson had circus-shot makes, but Alabama widened its advantage back to 33-28 on a pair of Davis free throws following consecutive Arkansas turnovers with 2:09 to play in the half.

Famutimi made a 3-pointer and Ferguson gave Arkansas its first lead, 34-33, with a 3-pointer after a Rashard Sullivan steal to finish off an 18-5 run and set the halftime margin.

"We got to play a complete game," Brewer said. "We have to get better at that. We know we're capable of playing with a lot of teams, we just didn't execute in the second half like we should have."

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