Steven Hill sent two straight shots right back into Glen "Big Baby" Davis's face with less than a minute left.
But Davis went right back at the injured 7-foot junior with a third straight attempt, this shot fell and he added a free throw and once again it was close but no cigar for the University of Arkansas in Baton Rouge.
Davis had 19 points and 18 rebounds , Tasmin Mitchell 16 and Terry Martin 15 as the Tigers ended their six-game losing skid by downing the Razorbacks 71-67 Saturday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La.
"We didn't have an answer for Glen Davis – I can tell you that for a fact," Arkansas head coach Stan Heath said. "At key times, he had key plays – rebounds, scoring – and he was a dominant force."
Patrick Beverley had 17 points and Gary Ervin – whose inspired play got his team back in the game after falling down 10 in the second half – chipped in all 16 of his points in the second half to lead Arkansas (15-9, 4-6), but unlike the half-dozen teams before them the Razorbacks couldn't put LSU away.
That despite grabbing a 63-61 lead with less than two minutes left in the game when Ervin hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
"We had several opportunities where we had a chance to take a lead or make a play and it seems like we didn't make the big play," Heath said. "I thought we had the key three-point play and we took the lead with two minutes left to go or somewhere in there, we would be right where we wanted to be.
"All we had to go was get a defensive stop, a defensive rebound and we go home with a win and it just didn't happen," Heath said. "I know the guys in the locker room are disappointed about that and so are the coaches."
Of Davis' 18 rebounds, 10 came on the offensive end – including three on what turned into the pivotal possession of the game with the score tied 63-63.
That included chasing down a rebound on a missed shot and then his titanic battle inside with Hill that Davis won in the end.
Hill was playing with a injured hamstring and was nowhere near the force he was in Arkansas' 72-52 win over LSU back on Jan. 20 in Fayetteville.
"It is unfortunate that we weren't at total full strength because that would have been the best answer for us if we were going to sneak out of here with a win," Heath said. "We knew coming into the game we would see a very good LSU team.
"This is a team that has several guys that played in the Final Four last year although they are probably a little disappointed in the way their season was going," Heath added. "I think they wanted to make sure they did everything they could out here on their home court to step their games up and I thought they did that."
Arkansas still had a chance to tie the game, but a turnover led to Garrett Temple's slam on the other end and the Razorbacks could not get closer than two the rest of the way.
Charles Thomas had all 11 of his points after halftime, Sonny Weems 9 points and 7 rebounds and freshman Michael Washington a career-high 8 points for the visitors, who lost a third road game this season to a team sitting in the basement of one of the SEC's two divisions.
It also kept Arkansas from getting a sweep of the regular season series of LSU (14-10, 3-7), getting to .500 after a 1-3 start and maybe even a chance to even be first place in the jumbled Western Division at the end of the day.
The Razorbacks were beat on the boards 38-28 with Davis of course leading the way for the home team.
"If there was one word to describe what went wrong for us, it would be rebounding," Heath said. "The rebounding, particulary Glen Davis at key times, was awesome on his part and disappointing on our part."
Temple's 3-pointer – the foul-plagued guard's first points of the game - as the shot clock was running out got LSU ahead 59-54 with 4:55 left in the game.
Weems answered with his own 3-pointer with 4:10 remaining to cut it to 59-57.
Ervin's back-to-back 3-pointers got his team ahead 63-61 with less than two minutes left, only to see Mitchell's drive tie it back up just seconds afterward.
Then Davis took over and refused to let his team lose a seventh straight game.
"We had several opportunities we just let slip through our fingers," Heath said. "Critical rebounds, transition plays that weren't there that we forced and didn't get the shot we want," Heath said. "Give LSU credit. Their back was against the wall and I thought Glen Davis led their team and set a great example for them both with his scoring and rebounding."
The Razorbacks, now 1-6 on the road this season, appeared on the verge of being blown out early on when they fell down 17-6 when Davis made two free throws with 12:43 left in the first half.
But sparked by Washington's back-to-back buckets, Arkansas began to crawl back into the game.
Arkansas actually scored 11 straight points to take the lead with Washington's third basket of the game tying things at 21-21 and then Beverley knocking down two free throws to give the Razorbacks a 23-21 lead with 3:29 remaining before intermission.
Beverley had another free throw because he had been fouled on a three-point attempt, but Darian Townes' lane violation before he shot it nixed that.
The lead changed hands three times before the end of the half with Martin's rebound basket near the buzzer sending the Tigers to the half with a 28-27 lead.
LSU maintained a lead throughout the first part of the second half with Arkansas making a run to close it to within 44-42 on a six-point run capped by Beverley's lay-up with 12:31 left in the game.
Davis and the Tigers responded with their own 8-0 spree and grabbed a 52-42 lead when LSU's star scored inside at the 9:34 mark.
The Razorbacks shot 43.6 percent from the field, 83.3 percent from the line (15-of-18) and had 9 assists and 11 rebounds.
LSU shot 46.6 percent from the field, 72.2 percent from the line and had 10 turnovers.
Arkansas will return to action Wednesday night when it travels to play Mississippi State.
"That's obviously going to be the focus of our attention over the next couple of days – to get ourselves ready to go win a road game," Heath said. "It's tough to play in Starkville, but very, very important for us to do it. We just have to find a way and dig deep into ourselves. Bring out more toughness, bring out more teamwork, bring out all the intangible things that give you team a chance to win on the road. Character is probably the biggest thing of all."
LSU 71, Arkansas 67
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