Alabama 78, Arkansas 75 (OT)

Arkansas led by 13 in the second half and by 3 in the closing seconds, but a questionable call with 10 seconds left allowed Alabama to tie the game with three throws. The Tide capitalized in overtime with Ronald Steele's tie-breaking 3-point play with 3.6 seconds to go.

Ronald Steele hit three foul shots with 10 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, then Steele broke an overtime deadlock with a drive down the lane for a 3-point play with 3.6 seconds left to lift Alabama to a 78-75 SEC basketball victory at Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Steele finished with a career high 25 points, but the three that the Hogs will remember came late in regulation with the Tide trailing by three points and the shot clock winding down.

Steele was stymied well above the top of the key by Dontell Jefferson's quick lateral moves on defense. Steele picked up his dribble and pump faked. Jefferson came up on his tip toes, but did not leave his feet. Steele then pushed into Jefferson's chest and threw up a wild shot.

The SEC officials, with crew chief Doug Shows, bailed out Steele with a foul on what was a desparation 3-point shot. Steele canned all three to force a tie.

Arkansas did get a chance at the game winner with Ronnie Brewer launching an 18-foot jumper at the buzzer that was off the mark.

Alabama controlled the early going in overtime, jumping to a 74-69 lead. But the Hogs clawed back behind Steven Hill, Darian Townes and Eric  Ferguson to pull even at 75-75 with 1:02 left.

Alabama missed twice at around the 30-second mark, but came away with a loose ball to hold for the final shot. Steele, guarded by Ferguson at the top of the key, went left and wiggled free down the lane to split Ferguson and Brewer. He was fouled by Ferguson, but made it to the glass for the soft bank shot. He then made the foul shot to set the final score.

The Hogs did get off a desparation 3-point shot at the buzzer, but Brewer's halfcourt heave hit high on the backboard and bounced away no good.

It was clear what Arkansas coach Stan Heath thought about the foul which allowed Alabama to pull even in regulation.

"Our guys know not to foul," he said. "They heave one up and get the call. We were just standing right there. They give 'em three shots. You don't see that call made very often.

"We are going to just tighten things up even more. If we have to go five against eight, we will do it. We are going to get tighter. I know there are naysayers out there. We'll just tighten up and keep fighting."

Heath mentioned the fact the Hogs were outscored 33-9 from the foul line in disgust afterwards.

"That 33-9 is tough, flat out tough," he said. "It's flat out tough to swallow as a player and flat out tough to swallow as a coach. It's just tough."

"I feel for my guys in the locker room. They played their hearts out. They battled and battled. But you can only do so much."

The Hogs held a 30-29 halftime lead despite having to play most of the way with big men Steven Hill and Darian Townes on the bench in foul trouble. Hill and Townes were solid in the second half, avoiding foul trouble until the closing minutes.

Brewer was the key man in the Hogs' run to the 13-point lead with 12 minutes to play. Held to 3 points in the first half, Brewer found the range from 3-point range to pour in 17 second-half points. But he scored only a single basket after making a 3-pointer to give the Hogs a 63-54 lead with 4:56 to go.

Arkansas had a 67-64 lead with 1:04 left in regulation when Townes put in a soft hook shot after a short drive into the lane.

They came up with a defensive rebound after a missed three with just under 30 seconds to play when Bama was forced to foul. With only three fouls in the half, it took four fouls in five seconds before the Hogs finally went to the line for their first bonus situation in the game.

Jefferson, a 68 percent foul shooter, had a one-and-one with 24.1 seconds left, but missed to set the stage for Steele's heroics.

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