If the patient wasn't already on life support, it certainly is now and it might take a miracle for revival.
Frank Tolbert and Josh Dollard had 18 points each as Auburn ended a four-game losing streak while dealing yet another crippling blow to Arkansas' post season hopes by downing the Razorbacks 66-57 Wednesday night in Auburn, Ala.
The loss assured that Arkansas (16-11, 5-8) - who is 1-8 on the road this season - would not finish above .500 in the SEC Conference race for the fourth time in five years under head coach Stan Heath.
"We certainly weren't the same basketball team that played in our previous game (a 86-73 win over Ole Miss)," Heath said. "It came down to a lot of things. More than anything our start was very poor. They just out-hustled and out-rebounded us. It is just something atypical of how we want to play and what we are supposed to be doing out there."
Patrick Beverley had 16 points and Darian Townes 13 points and 6 rebounds for the Razorbacks, who fell two games behind SEC co-leaders Ole Miss and Mississippi State – both 7-6 – with three games left in the regular season.
Considering that Arkansas has yet to win back-to-back games in conference play, it faces a daunting task by hosting Tennessee Saturday at noon, hosting Mississippi State and then traveling to Vanderbilt.
"We are not going to quit," Heath said. "We are going to fight. We are going to go through the season and play every game. As long as there is a window of opportunity, we have got to fight for it."
It was the fourth time this season that Arkansas lost to a team with a multiple losing streak with previous defeats at Ole Miss, at South Carolina, at LSU and at Auburn (15-13, 5-8).
Charles Thomas and Gary Ervin added nine points each as Arkansas shot just over 40 percent from the field during the game, suffered 13 turnovers and was drubbed on the boards 43-31 by a much smaller Auburn squad.
That included a whopping 18-8 advantage on the offensive boards.
"The rebounding was just a major, major difference in the game," Heath said. "The 18 offensive rebounds – Korvortney Barber (14 rebounds) had six of them, but a lot of them came from the guard position and the guards just flying in there and us not boxing out like we should have."
The Razorbacks – as they have in most of their eight losses on the road this season – got off to a slow start.
In fact, Auburn led 15-5 when Tolbert got loose for a lay-up with 14:23 left in the opening half and 28-18 when Lucas Hargrove netted two free throws with 4:35 remaining before intermission.
It was at that point the Razorbacks showed some life with seven unanswered points – a run capped by Gary Ervin's lay-up at the 1:51 mark that got Arkansas within 28-25.
Auburn scored the first half's last four points, including a tip by Quantez Robertson at the buzzer that sent the Tigers to the locker room with a 32-25 advantage.
"That just painted the whole picture of the whole first half," Heath said of the two rebound baskets before halftime by Auburn. "That was the Achilles heel that kept giving them extra opportunities to score the ball. That is not the way we are suppose to be on the glass. We have been top four in our league in rebounding. Today was a poor, poor effort on the glass."
The hosts would build up that lead to 41-27 points early on in the second and was still ahead by as much as 10 when Dollard's bucket inside made it 57-47 with just over four minutes remaining.
Beverley's 3-pointer and Gary Ervin's free throw got Arkansas within 59-56 with 1:28 left in the contest, but four free throws by Tolbert essentially sealed the deal.
Auburn , the SEC's poorest free throw shooting team in the league, knocked down 23-of -31 in the win over Arkansas, who was 14-of-21 from the charity stripe.
"I don't know if we were a step slow or they were more aggressive or what, but they certainly got a lot more attempts at the free throw line and beat us by nine in that category," Heath said. "That just can't happen."
Auburn 67, Arkansas 59
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