For the fourth straight game, the University of Arkansas delivered a first-half haymaker to floor its foe.
But unlike the last three, this fight ended up going the distance before the Razorbacks finished off Ole Miss and mighty mite Chris Warren 75-69 Saturday at Bud Walton Arena before a season-high 19,916 fans.
Sonny Weems had 22 points and 10 rebounds – including a game-clinching lay-up with 20.7 seconds left - Patrick Beverley another double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds and Darian Townes 14 points in the Arkansas' fourth straight win.
"We had some fundamental things that we didn't do," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "Things you can't do in league play - missing free throws, not guarding the 3-point line. The good part was that we just kept playing. We didn't have it for all 40 minutes tonight, but we got the win."
Unlike the previous three wins that came by at least 15 points or more, there were some dicey moments in the final two minutes of this contest for the Razorbacks (17-5, 6-2), who led by 12 with 2:41 left only to see that lead cut to three.
"Tonight we were fortunate because we were playing at home," Pelphrey said. "We had 20,000 people who had our back tonight. They carried us tonight."
Arkansas remains a half-game back of SEC Western co-leader Mississippi State (16-7, 7-2), who won easily at Auburn on Saturday night.
"John has done a great job with these guys," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "Arkansas is one of the best teams in the league right now."
Warren, generously listed at 5-10, had a game-high 26 points, including going 6-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line for the Rebels.
Dwayne Curtis added 12 points and 14 rebounds and David Huertas 10 points for Ole Miss (16-5, 3-5), who was 15-0 in non-conference action but has struggled on the road since beginning league action.
"We didn't come out mentally ready to play today, but as the game went on we picked it up and everyone put in a good effort," Warren said."We fought hard and at the end we still had a chance to win it."
Ole Miss got the first bucket of the game - its only lead of the night - but the Razorbacks reeled off the game's next 16 points.
"I don't understand (our mentality) when you get to this point in the season,"Kennedy said. "Our guys came out very passive today. I could see it in their eyes."
It looked like Arkansas had the game safely tucked away when Weems' tip put them ahead 68-56 with 2:44 remaining.
But Warren knocked down a trio of 3-pointers, the final one cutting it to 70-67 with 50 seconds left in the game.
"He's just fantastic," Pelphrey said of Warren.
Arkansas called timeout and set up a play for Weems, who drove the right side of the lane for a lay-up that ended any doubt.
Beverley and Ervin then netted free throws before Ole Miss put in a meaningless basket near the buzzer.
"We won a dogfight tonight," Beverley said. "The crowd came prepared for a good game and I think we gave them one. We came out with a lot of intensity tonight, but Ole Miss kept fighting. Give them credit."
Neither team shot the ball well with Arkansas shooting just 39.1 percent from the field and Ole Miss 41.4 percent.
The Razorbacks, just 6 of 25 from 3-point range and 19-of-32 from the free throw line, finished the game with 13 turnovers and won the board battle 47-39.
"We guarded them really well early on, but we just couldn't make any shots," Pelphrey said.
Ole Miss had 17 turnovers and also struggled from the free throw line going just 12-of-23.
"Our defense looked flat," Curtis said. "We let them get that run at the beginning of the game and that really hurt us. You can't let an SEC team get that kind of lead on you, especially on the road."
Arkansas must now play four of its next five games beginning with games Wednesday at SEC Eastern Division-leading Tennessee (21-2, 8-1) and first-place showdown Saturday at Mississippi State.
"We've got a huge test Wednesday night," Pelphrey said. "We're going to have to play our best game. All the fundamental stuff we didn't do tonight, we've got to do Wednesday."
Arkansas 75, Ole Miss 69
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