Razorbacks Scrap Past No. 7 Texas

FAYETTEVILLE — For so many reasons, this young bunch of Arkansas Razorbacks shouldn't have knocked off No. 7 Texas on Tuesday night.

They shot a season-low 38.7 percent. They got the worst first half this season from freshman point guard Courtney Fortson. And junior forward Michael Washington played only nine first-half minutes because of foul trouble.

The Hogs even played this game at Texas' preferred slow pace.

But true to its emerging identity, Arkansas emerged a 67-61 upset winner, using hard-nosed defense and constant hustle to down a Top 10 foe for the second time in eight days.

"We slugged around and fought and scratched and got through the first half," Pelphrey said. "And for the Razorbacks, if you just get out there and play hard and have a good attitude and keep the game close, some magical things can happen for you.

"There's just something about them. They do fight."

The Razorbacks' collective grit helped seal their 43rd consecutive nonconference home victory and also gave them their first 10-game winning streak since early in the 1994-95 season. Juniors Stefan Welsh and Washington combined for 42 points, leading Arkansas to a 12-1 finish to its nonconference slate.

Welsh, who helped limit Texas leading scorer A.J. Abrams to seven points on 3-of-16 shooting, pounded his chest after the final buzzer. A gaping smile on his face, he yelled joyously at some of the 19,012 fans who cheered intensely for a victory over Arkansas' former Southwest Conference rival.

The junior guard couldn't say enough about his team's resolve during a frustrating opening 20 minutes. The Razorbacks haven't participated in an uglier half this season. Yet they trailed only 31-27 at the break after holding Texas (11-3) to 31.4 percent shooting from the field.

"We understood our floor general wasn't on the floor," Welsh said. "We understood one of the most dominant big men in basketball wasn't on the floor. So we were just trying to hold on. We just wanted to keep it at a manageable lead."

For 11 more minutes in the second half, the Razorbacks still couldn't get much offense going. Neither could the Longhorns.

"I can't explain why," UT coach Rick Barnes said.

Arkansas took control of the game at the nine-minute mark. The Hogs finished the contest having made 14 of their 28 second-half shots.

Washington, the reigning SEC player of the week, played a part in Arkansas' key offensive possessions down the stretch. His 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down — that bounced high into the air and in — cut UT's lead to 52-49 and sparked an 11-0 spurt.

"I was just praying for it to go in," Washington said.

His dunk, drawn foul and 3-point play off a pretty interior pass by senior forward Marcus Monk put UA up 54-52 with 5:29 left. Texas rallied to tie the contest at 57. But an inbounds give-and-go from Welsh to Washington and back to Welsh resulted in a 3-pointer that gave the Hogs a lead they didn't relinquish.

Washington's drive and highlight-reel dunk over UT's Damion James and free throw with 22 seconds left cemented a victory that should grab the attention of voters who slighted the Razorbacks this past week.

The way in which the Razorbacks produced that win was of great importance to Welsh.

"It shows this team is maturing on a daily basis," Welsh said. "It shows we're more versatile than people think. We don't have to run. We can slow it down and still win."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories