AUBURN, Ala. - For the second straight game, the University of Arkansas basketball team had a rousing first half, but couldn't finish what it started.
Tay Waller and Lucas Hargrove each had 14 points as Auburn rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to down Arkansas 75-62 Wednesday night at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
Rotnei Clarke and Stefan Welsh had 14 points each to lead the Razorbacks (13-9, 1-8) while Courtney Fortson had 11 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists and Michael Sanchez 9 points and 6 rebounds.
"We haven't been able to finish and it's tough," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "The last two games we have put ourselves in position to win.
"We have talked about those things leading up to the game, during the game, at halftime, in the second half," Pelphrey added. "I am disappointed that we didn't finish. That is all we needed to do and played the way we had been playing (in the first half)."
Arkansas, who led 39-31 at halftime, went up 60-59 on Welsh's 3-pointer with 6:36 left in the game.
But the Tigers – just as it did in handing the Razorbacks their worst loss ever at Bud Walton Arena earlier this season– closed with a flourish.
Auburn (15-9, 4-5), coming in off a win over Tennessee, scored 16 of the game's last 18 points to pull away comfortably at the end.
Arkansas did not score in the last six-minutes plus of the two team's first matchup this season.
Rasheem Barrett added 13 points, DeWayne Reed 11 and Kovotney Barber 8 points and 11 rebounds for Auburn, who forced Arkansas into 16 turnovers and won the board battle 39-34.
Arkansas shot 38.1 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3-point range (8-of-27) and 6-of-11 from the free throw line.
Auburn shot 43.8 percent from the field, also 29 percent from 3-point range (7 of 24) and 12-of-20 from the charity stripe.
Freshman forward Brandon Moore had one of his best efforts of the season with 4 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists in 17 minutes of action.
Fellow freshmen forward Andre Clark played 9 minutes with 2 points and an assist – that one to Clarke, who buried a 3-pointer to end the first half.
"I thought Brandon Moore played really well tonight," Pelphrey said. "I thought he chased the basketball, got us a couple of tip-ins. That was good to see – him working hard and to get in there and have an impact in this game. That was a very good bright spot.
"I thought Andre didn't do great, but it was good to get him out there and he had a big play at the end of the first half to find Rotnei and put us up eight," Pelphrey added. I thought those guys made a little progress and we need that to continue."
Michael Washington (8 points, 9 rebounds), who missed the last 17 minutes of the first half after he got his second foul, scored 6 early points in the second half.
The first of those gave his team a 43-33 lead and his bucket inside gave the Razorbacks a 47-38 with 16:03 left in the game.
"We actually had free throws to go up 11 at that point and didn't get either one," Pelphrey said. "They really went on a big run after that."
Auburn scored the next 9 points, including Hargrove's jumped that tied it 47-47 at the 13:06 mark.
Waller's 3-point jumper than gave the Tigers a 50-49 lead – their first one of the night.
Reed's old-fashioned 3-point play capped a 15-2 run and gave the home team a 53-49 lead.
Welsh did his best to keep his team alive, scoring 9 of his team's next 11 points, including the 3-pointer that gave the Razorbacks their last lead of the night at 60-59.
Dewayne Reed's 3-point jumper gave Auburn the lead for good at 62-60 with 5:42 remaining.
Fortson fouled out soon afterwards, got a technical and Arkansas' only points the rest of the way was two free throws by Sanchez at the 3:46 mark.
"We tried a lot of different stuff in (the second half) to try and keep our lead, but they played better than we did in the second half," Pelphrey said. "I think we scored only 23 points in the second half."
Arkansas returns to action Saturday at 12:05 p.m. when it hosts Kentucky, who ended a 3-game losing streak with a home win over Florida on Tuesday night.
"It is a very challenging league and it doesn't get any easier," Pelphrey said. "We still have a lot of challenges ahead of us."
Auburn 75, Arkansas 62
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