Arkansas went over 10 minutes without scoring to allow Auburn to spurt past them with 21 unanswered points in the middle part of the game.
Auburn's Quinnel Brown had 22 points and 8 rebounds to lead Auburn to a 77-64 win over visiting Arkansas before just over 4,000 at Beard-Eaves Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
"I'll give Auburn a lot of credit - it was Senior Day and they wanted the game more than we did," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "I am looking at myself first. I realize we disappointed our fans, we disappointed the people of Arkansas, we disappointed the great players that have played in Arkansas uniforms. We are really sorry about that.
"I didn't prepare our team as well as we should have," Heath said. "It is kind of surprising. I thought we were ready to go. But at the end of that first half, the last four or five minutes, we just went into a drought and came out after halftime and the drought continued."
Darian Townes had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Ronnie Brewer 16 as the Razorbacks (18-11) finished the SEC regular season at 6-10 in Heath's third year as head coach.
The Razorbacks, who were 4-12 in league play the last two seasons, won only once on the road in SEC play, at Ole Miss and committed a season-high 24 turnovers.
"This road thing is a mental thing with our basketball team," Heath said. "We have got to find out what it is. I don't know if I have to get a sports pschyiatrist or what. When we don't have those fans behind us it just seems like we are a totally different team. We have got to find a couple of guys who can step up and set the tone for us."
Another lack of focus stat was the fact that the Razorbacks just outrebounded the much smaller Tigers by one board.
"We should have been plus 8 or 10 in that category and should have had 10, 11, 12, 13 turnovers - somewhere around in there," Heath said. "But we didn't get the job done and again that's my responsibility for that. We have got to be tougher."
Arkansas held a 27-23 lead with just three minutes left in the first half, but a wave of turnovers and missed easy shots gave Auburn life. Two three-pointers in the final 90 seconds of the first half helped the Tigers take a 32-27 lead at intermission.
The Hogs struggled in a big way to start the second half, going the first six and a half minutes without a point. They committed a series of turnovers trying to get the ball into Townes in the middle.
The Tigers' lead crested at 44-27 at the 13:51 mark on the second three of the half. The Hogs clawed back with a quick 7-0 run, with two of the baskets from Eric Ferguson.
The Hogs were within 53-45 with 7:53 left when Dontell Jefferson scored a dunk in transition. They were still within 8 points on a pair of Townes free throws at the seven-minute mark. The Hogs would go the next three minutes without scoring as the Tigers sprinted away.
Auburn got revenge for Arkansas' 96-59 hammering of the Tigers earlier in the season.
"I told my team "how do we beat a team by 30-something at our place and lose to them here? It's the same team. They didn't do anything different than they did the first time around. We weren't the aggressive team we needed to be."
Heath started homestate players Michael Jones and Jonathon Modica on Saturday, but that didn't change anything.
"I am not blaming those guys, but the team chemistry out there on the court wasn't the same and it took us a little bit out of sync a little bit more than normal - actually a lot more than normal."
Arkansas will now play Tennessee Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Atlanta.
"We have got to look at ourselves in the mirror," Heath said. "We have got to figure out the pride factor that we have inside of us, the character we have in us. I have always thought this team had good character and I am hopeful we will respond. I am hopeful there are not guys that are so down they can't pull themselves back up.
"You are going to go through adversity in life and you have got to find a way to persevere and become stronger rather than weaker," Heath added. "It is time to look mentally at ourselves and individuals and as a team and figure out if we are going to be a united bunch of guys who are willing to lay it down on the court and fight for 40 minutes, not just for 20, not just for 15. We have got to go alway through no matter who we play whether it is Auburn or Kentucky. We have to give the same effort in all of our games."
Auburn 77, Arkansas 64 (Final)
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