Hogs Come Up With Big Victory

MAUI -- The consolation prize -- a nice parting gift of a game with Chaminade -- was not what either Arkansas or Kansas had in mind for their trip to the Maui Invitational.

Because of Dontell Jefferson's clutch jumper with 18 seconds left and then blocks in the final five seconds by both himself and Kansas-born Steven Hill that lifted Arkansas to a 65-64 win Tuesday afternoon, it's Kansas which will have to suffer that fate.

"When we came out of that timeout (with 18 seconds left) we said we were going to switch on all screens and we did a great job of that," said Hill, who was born in Chanute, Kansas and also lived in Pittsburg before moving to Branson, Mo. "When the screen came I just stepped out. It really wasn't that hard and I had a lot of extra arm to get it. It's a real big win for me since I grew up in Kansas and also because it was a big win for us here at Arkansas."

It was not a happy feeling for Kansas guard Mario Chalmers

"We didn't come here to play Chaminade," Chalmers said. "We came here to play in the championship game, but it didn't work out for us."

While it's not going to work out for Arkansas (2-1) either in terms of the championship game, there is no doubt that it was a big win for the Razorbacks, who will play No. 21 Maryland (2-1) for fifth place today at 1 p.m.

Not only does it help with RPI down the line when it comes time to give NCAA bids out, closing out a game like this one -- when they didn't do that last season -- is immeasurable according to Arkansas coach Stan Heath.

"It's just our maturity and how far we have come from last season to this season," Heath said. "I just thought both teams made key plays at key times. The kids on the floor just stepped up and made plays."

Brewer had a game-high 23 points, but it was a pass when he was double-teamed to Jefferson that led to the game-winner.

Jefferson -- who also had 5 assists and 4 steals -- calmly took the ball in near the free throw line and swished the jumper with 18 seconds left to put Arkansas up 65-64.

"I figured they were going to pay a lot of attention to Ronnie and when I saw my man go to help I just moved to an open area and got the shot," Jefferson said. "It was a nice feeling."

Still the game was not wrapped up as both Jefferson and Hill had to swat away shots before the buzzer sounded. Jefferson flew at Jeff Hawkins' 3-point attempt and knocked it out of bounds with 2.5 seconds left and then the 7-foot Hill smothered Russell Robinson's shot at the buzzer.

"It was really nothing," Hill said. "I just jumped out there, put my hand up and the ball just went sailing away."

Arkansas, which led 55-49 with just over five minutes left, had to rally after trailing 31-27 at intermission. Brewer got his team started with a pair of 3-pointers, but it was his 4 of 4 free throw shooting when his team was down 60-59 that he was most happy about.

"I worked so hard this summer on that because, like Coach Heath said, I am going to have the ball in my hands a lot late in the game and I have got to make those," Brewer said.

So was the win, which left Arkansas celebrating on the court.

"It was big for us," Hill said. "We needed it now, we'll need it down the line. Now we just have to go out and build on it against Maryland (today)."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories