What was possibly the last University of Arkansas basketball game at Bud Walton Arena this season ended the same way the story began.
Except for the result.
Ole Miss freshman Terrico White had a career-high 29 points and Zach Graham a career-best 20 to lead the Rebels to a 91-87 overtime win over the Razorbacks Wednesday night before 14,033 fans.
"Obviously we couldn't make enough plays down the stretch," Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. "Ole Miss played about as good a second half as you could ask for. ... Ole Miss shot 63 percent in the second half and 50 in overtime. It's hard to overcome that on offense."
Rotnei Clarke had 19 points and fellow freshmen Courtney Fortson had 18 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists for Arkansas (14-14, 2-13), which opened the season with a 91-87 overtime win over Southeastern Louisiana.
Lightly used Rebels point guard Will Bogan –- getting minutes because leading scorer David Huertas was injured –- added career highs of 16 points and 7 assists and Malcolm Holloway 11 points and 10 rebounds for Ole Miss (16-13, 7-8).
"For us to score 98 without our leading scorer -- I'm really proud of the guys to continue to fight," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said.
"We were on life support from an energy standpoint," Kennedy said. "We had seven, then six without (Huertas). Will Bogan was incredible. It was his proudest moment as a Rebel.
"We basically found out we wouldn't have (Huertas) on the bus trip over tonight," Kennedy said. "He's very tough, but he said he couldn't go. We absorbed that with three guys having career highs."
Bogan hit four free throws down the stretch as Ole Miss put the game away in the extra time after trailing 44-35 at halftime and being tied 82-82 at the end of regulation.
Michael Washington had 16 points and 6 rebounds, Stefan Welsh 14 and Michael Sanchez 11 points and 7 rebounds for the Razorbacks, whose final SEC game is at Vanderbilt on Sunday.
"A point of emphasis for us all year has been to finish strong," Pelphrey said. "We've had trouble doing it in ball games, but we have the chance to finish the regular season against a good Vanderbilt team this weekend and we need to do that."
Welsh hit a 3-pointer to give Arkansas an 84-82 lead with 52.5 seconds left in regulation, but he missed from about the same spot on a potential game-winner with 5 seconds left.
"It was a good look," Pelphrey said. "I was pleased with the open look. It's hard to totally orchestrate when the shot comes against the zone. Courtney got the high ball screen and got it to Stefan in the corner."
Ole Miss got three straight wide open lay-ups down the stretch in regulation, then dominated in the overtime period.
"Terrico White is the freshman of the year and he should get some player of the year votes," Kennedy said. "Without him, we wouldn't win a game."
Arkansas finished the regular season 12-6 at home, losing 6 of its last 8 games in Bud Walton Arena after winning its first 10.
Ole Miss shot 52.5 percent from the field, including 10-of-20 from 3-point range, and knocked down 24-of-33 free throws.
Arkansas shot 40.6 percent from the floor, hitting 14 of a whopping 38 3-point attempts and 21-of-29 charity tosses.
The Razorbacks hit 51.2 percent of their first-half field goal attempts, but just 33 percent in both the second half and overtime.
Welsh finished 4-of-19 from the field -- hitting just 3 of 14 3-point attempts. Clarke was 6-of-13 from the field, but hit only 1 of his last 7 attempts.
"I thought we had great opportunities at the basket," Pelphrey said. "We had open looks at threes."
Clarke echoed that sentiment.
"The team did a good job of getting me the ball, but in the second half, I just wasn't able to hit the three," he said.
Graham's 3-pointer with 3:39 left in overtime gave the visitors an 89-86 lead they would not relinquish.
Graham added a bucket a minute later and Arkansas never got closer than four from that point on, 95-91 on Clarke's fifth 3-pointer of the game with 41.3 seconds left.
"Our zone defense in overtime was great," Kennedy said. "They overloaded one side with a ball screen. After we figured out how to defend it properly the game turned our way a little bit. We really had to pick our poison and in the end it worked out."
The Rebels took a 75-69 lead with six minutes left when Holloway scored inside.
The Razorbacks cut it to one when Welsh buried a 3-pointer with 4:04 remaining, but Terrence Henry got loose for his second of three straight wide open lay-ups on assists from Bogan to get Ole Miss up 79-76 with 3:26 showing.
"We hadn't done that all year," Pelphrey said. "We didn't play the baseline run like that all year. That's not us. When you give them that kind of a lay-up that late in the game, it's like an offensive turnover. If we do what we do, it's not that hard. What really hurts is that we didn't do that until the most important point."
Kennedy said Ole Miss saw something on film while scouting.
"We were reading the switch on the baseline screen, then just slipping it," Kennedy said.
Washington's slam off a feed from Fortson tied it at 81-81 with 1:28 remaining.
After White split a pair of free throws, Fortson then delivered to Welsh, who netted a 3-pointer from the deep left corner for a 84-82 Arkansas lead with 52.5 seconds left.
White's lay-up with 32.3 seconds left tied it at 84, then Welsh missed with 5 seconds remaining.
White's half-court heave as the clock ran out came up empty to force the extra period.
"Credit Ole Miss, they exploited some spots at the right time and I think ultimately it was one of the big differences in the outcome," Pelphrey said.
Arkansas got limited action from freshman small forward Jason Henry, who had 18 points in the first game against the Rebels but was limited to five first-half minutes.
"I don't think he was injured," Pelphrey said sternly.
Arkansas twice led by 12 points in the first half, first on Clarke's steal and ensuing 3-pointer that made it 20-8 and then 37-25 on Sanchez's old-fashioned 3-point play with 4:45 left before intermission.
Ole Miss went on a 10-1 run to close it to 38-35, a spree that was capped by five straight points by Bogan.
The Razorbacks did score the last six points of the opening half with Clarke's 3-pointer with 1:08 left making it 44-35 and sending it to intermission.
Ole Miss then scored the first seven points of the second half and eventually took a 54-53 lead on White's 3-pointer with 13:45 left in the game.
That advantage grew to 70-63 when White knocked down another triple with 7:30 left.
It was 73-66 when he connected again, but Fortson's 3-pointer cut it to 73-69 at the 6:17 mark.
"It was a high-percentage offensive game (on both sides)," Pelphrey said. "Both teams had 84 at the end of regulation, so there was not a lot of defense played on both ends."
Ole Miss 98, Arkansas 91
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Arkansas 16, Florida 0 (7 innings)The Diamond Hogs are heading to the SEC Tournament championship game.
Hawgs DailyYesterday at 6:56 AM
Arkansas 9, Mississippi State 2Arkansas is heading to the SEC Tournament semifinals.
Hawgs DailyFriday at 9:20 PM
Nutt seeks apology from Ole MissThe former Arkansas coach is back in the news.
Hawgs DailyFriday at 6:52 PM
Hogs not in most preseason rankingsThe Razorbacks aren't getting much love in the preseason rankings.
Hawgs DailyFriday at 6:44 PM