Mr. Big Shot

Michael Washington didn't have a double-double, though his 22 points and nine rebounds were close. He didn't need it against Texas as his timely baskets took up the slack.

Mr. Double-Double might need a name-change to Mr. Big Shot.

As if Michael Washington's week to remember (career scoring high, SEC Player of the Week) wasn't good enough, the 6-10 Arkansas junior made the big plays down the stretch to lead the Razorbacks past their oldest rival.

Not a bad week, at all.

"I was worried about those guys inside and Washington had a terrific game," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "I thought as good as Courtney Fortson is, Michael Washington is as big of a key. We didn't have an answer for him."

Washington's night was limited because of foul trouble, but the McGehee-native made the most of his playing time, hitting the Razorbacks' two biggest shots of the night.

The first came with 8:23 remaining in the second half, hitting a 3-pointer out of the corner as the shot clock expired to pull Arkansas within 52-49.

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

"We all was," Fortson chimed in.

As big as that shot was, Washington's final basket was even bigger.

With the shot clock again winding down Washington took Damion James off the dribble for a dunk and drew a foul with 22.5 seconds to play. His free throw pushed the Razorback lead to two possessions and whipped the Bud Walton Arena crowd into a frenzy.

"That play, I would say at this moment in time with everything being so vivid and so pumped up for those guys…it has to be right (at the top of my coaching career)," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "The clock was running down and they were having a great defensive possession.

"With that last play Mike had and how loud it got – you know as a coach sometimes you don't really notice that stuff. That was pretty hard to miss."

Washington said he wasn't nervous with the shot clock winding down.

"I knew the clock was at about five," Washington said. "I basically just wanted to win the game, really."

Washington finished the game with 22 points and nine rebounds after playing just nine minutes in the first half. To make matters worse for Arkansas, Fortson had picked up his second foul fewer than three minutes into the game.

Razorback guard Stefan Welsh said the team was just worried about keeping it close heading into the halftime locker rooms.

"We understood that our floor general wasn't on the floor and one of the most dominant big men in college basketball wasn't on the floor, so we were just trying to hang on," Welsh said. "We just wanted to hold on until we got back to full strength. We knew if we could keep it at a manageable lead we could get back in the second half."

Arkansas did just that with Washington's buzzer-beating trey sparking an 11-0 run to give the Razorbacks their first lead of the second half. Washington and Fortson combined for nine points in the stretch.

"The first half we were attacking, but we made a couple of mistakes and got into foul trouble," Fortson said. "We knew if we kept attacking and doing what we do that everything would fall into place."

Pelphrey said Washington's late-game heroics are a result of a new mentality – one the entire team has bought into.

"We've all seen his God-given ability at times," Pelphrey said, "but the thing I like most about Mike is all he cares about is winning, and he really, really competes."

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