Newman's 3-Pointer Breaks Hogs' Hearts

FAYETTEVILLE -- He felt physically ill, immediately after Steve Newman's 25-foot 3-pointer dropped through the basket and silenced the 17,341 fans inside Bud Walton Arena.

Sonny Weems knew this kind of stuff occurred in basketball games. Many times, he has watched from afar as teams have dealt with the agony of a buzzer-beater. But he had never witnessed first-hand, never endured anything comparable to the high-arcing rainbow that allowed Georgia to steal a 67-64 Southeastern Conference victory.

Not until Wednesday night.

"It was like a dagger in the heart," Weems said. "I only thought that happened on TV. I didn't know it happens in person. But it did."

Newman's third 3-pointer in the final 2 minutes, 5 seconds capped a tumultuous past nine days for the Razorbacks.

With just more than two minutes remaining, Arkansas (12-6, 1-3 SEC) led 62-55 and seemed poised to rebound from consecutive close losses at Florida and Ole Miss.

But the Hogs couldn't hold onto a late advantage, couldn't put an opponent away in the final minute for the third time in the past month.

"We've got to learn how to close some games," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "Winning by (seven) points with (2:21) to go, we've got to close that game out. There's no excuses, no finger pointing. We've got to execute offensively and defensively a lot better at the end of the game."

The way Arkansas started, it was surprising the Hogs even had a chance to reclaim the lead in the second half. The Razorbacks committed 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Palms facing the ground, Heath motioned with both arms at one point, trying to remain positive and basically saying "settle down" without moving his lips.

"In the first half it was dead," Weems said. "Everybody wasn't cutting hard, and we weren't playing hard. We can't come out in the second half and expect to win. We've got to start off from the jump."

That tact helped temporarily, as Arkansas extended its lead to seven points before Georgia (11-5, 3-1) stormed back with long-distance shooting.

First, Newman floated in a 20-footer in with 2:05 left. Then, after a Weems driving layup and missed free throw, he successfully launched an even deeper 3-pointer.

Suffocating defense by Georgia forced a shot-clock violation, and Bulldogs guard Sundiata Gaines tied the game on a 3-pointer high over the outstretched arms of 7-foot Steven Hill.

"They hit a bunch of contested shots," Hill said. "You've got to give (Georgia) credit for that. We got a hand up in their face most of the time."

A similar sight would soon haunt the Hogs.

With an opportunity to hold for the last shot of regulation, Gaines pressured Gary Ervin into a turnover when he reached around to knock it loose. Moments later and with a foul to give, Ervin fouled Gaines, setting Georgia up for an inbounds play from the sideline with just 2.1 seconds remaining.

Georgia had no timeouts. After the victory that snapped Arkansas' 16-game home winning streak, Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton said not having a timeout actually may have helped.

"It's a good thing we didn't have a timeout because no one did what they were supposed to do," Felton said.

And that left Newman slightly free, a few feet beyond where the NBA 3-point line would curve around the top of the key.

"We were supposed to set four screens on that play but no one set any," Newman said. "I guess I was the only one open."

So he flung the shot, high into the air and past the hands of a leaping Hill.

All net.

Georgia's players flooded onto the court, mobbing Newman and jumping repeatedly on the giant Razorback at midcourt.

"We had our best defender there," Heath said. "He was maybe a half-step late or slower than he needed to be, but it's not an effort thing, not a focus thing. The guy just made a very difficult shot over a great shot blocker."

Plus, Newman supplied a heartache Weems had never experienced.

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