Foul Woes Derail Otherwise Solid Performance

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- For much of Wednesday night's game at Alabama, there wasn't much for the Razorbacks to complain about.

The foul differential bothered coach Stan Heath and the rest of the Razorbacks, but Arkansas was getting seemingly solid defense inside and Ronnie Brewer and Darian Townes were carrying the scoring load.

Brewer had 17 of his game-high 22 points after halftime, Steven Hill blocked seven shots, and point guard Dontell Jefferson --fighting for playing time --had eight assists.

But it was the fouls that wound up biting the Razorbacks.

Alabama went to the free-throw line 33 times, making 22. The Razorbacks attempted just nine free throws, making five.

"We did a lot of good things but in the end it just wasn't good enough," Hill said. "Most of the game we got the job done, but they were a good team. We got in foul trouble in the second half and then in the end we didn't get the rebounds we needed."

Arkansas coach Stan Heath didn't want to say too much about the 23-13 differential in fouls, although early in his postgame press conference he gave the Crimson Tide credit.

"No, if I say it, it'll cost me," Heath said moments before walking out of the postgame interview room.

Several of the 13 fouls the Crimson Tide were called for occurred in the closing minute of regulation as Alabama tried to foul to force the Razorbacks to the line.

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried was quick to point out, though, that his team's style of play is conducive to drawing fouls inside.

"We're a team if you statistically look at it, because we go inside so much, Richard (Hendrix) and Jemario (Davidson) get 28 shots so they're getting the ball a lot," Gottfried said. "We're a team that goes to the line a lot every night. That's part of what we do. ... Both teams played hard and both teams played aggressive."

Going into the game, Alabama was fifth in the Southeastern Conference in free throws attempted and third in free throws made.

The Razorbacks have had a tough time winning on the road

"I think we played probably our best basketball on the road that we've done in quite some time," Brewer said. "Just being in the game with a tough team like Alabama ... having a lead on them late in the second half is definitely heartbreaking."

Heath shied away from calling the Razorbacks game last Saturday against Vanderbilt a must-win.

After Wednesday's loss, though, at least some of Heath's players said their game this Saturday at Auburn fits that description.

"We've still got 12, 13 more games to go," Hill said. "We have to get our heads back up and we definitely have to get this win at Auburn on Saturday."

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