Brewer Last Shot Comes Up Short

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Ronnie Brewer grabbed the basketball, took a step inside the 3-point line to avoid a defender and launched an off-balance shot.

Considering how Brewer had rallied Arkansas from an 11-point deficit in the final five minutes against LSU on Wednesday night, it seemed certain that his last-second shot would be good.

It felt good when it left Brewer's hands. And it looked good to Arkansas coach Stan Heath.

But Brewer's desperation jumper with two seconds remaining bounced off the back of the rim, allowing LSU to hold on for a 78-77 victory and preventing Brewer from celebrating what was an impressive one-man performance down the stretch.

"It was on target. It just happened to go in and out," Brewer said, looking clearly dejected. "It was a good shot."

In large part because of Brewer, it came down to a final shot. The Fayetteville native drove to the basket, hustled for loose balls and sparked a late comeback by the Razorbacks in the final minutes at the Maravich Center.

Brewer scored 13 of his team-high 24 points in the final 5:04, including a layup that tied the score at 75-all and a pair of free throws a little more than a minute later that gave Arkansas its first lead of the game.

"We always look to get Ronnie the ball," said guard Jonathon Modica, who added 20 points. "He's the leading scorer in the SEC, so we definitely feel like we should give him the ball in crunch time."

LSU appeared to be firmly in control after Tyrus Thomas dunked an alley-oop pass from Tasmin Mitchell with 5:16 remaining, exciting the crowd and extending the Tigers' lead to 72-61. But the celebration was premature.

Brewer drained a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to ignite a 16-3 run that gave the Razorbacks a chance to finally be on the winning end of a late-game collapse. The 6-foot-7 guard also grabbed a loose ball, forced a jump-ball and managed to get to the free-throw line.

"Throughout the whole game, I just kept on trying to be aggressive and cut to the basket," Brewer said. "... At the end, I just started knocking down some shots to try to get my team back in the game."

With 51 seconds left, Brewer made two free throws that gave the Razorbacks a 77-75 advantage, and the junior was given the last shot to win the game after LSU guard Darrel Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining.

With Arkansas out of timeouts, Brewer pushed the ball upcourt. He picked up the ball at the top of the key, stepped around the defender to get an open look and shot from 17 feet out. But the shot sailed long and bounced off the back of the iron.

"I thought it had a great chance of going in," Heath said. "I wanted him to blitz it up the court and to create something and find something. We had no timeouts, so they (the Tigers) didn't have a chance to set their defense.

"You've got the leading scorer in the league with the ball in his hands. I'll take my chances."


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