Arkansas the better closer

A year after Auburn scored the last 14 points of the game to hand Arkansas its worst ever loss at Bud Walton Arena, Courtney Fortson returned the favor with a magnificent overtime performance to help give the Razorbacks sole possession of first place in the SEC West.

Arkansas won its fourth consecutive game Saturday and had to come from behind for the fourth straight time to do so.

The SEC West-leading Razorbacks' late game success can be largely attributed once again to sophomore point guard Courtney Fortson, who scored 10 of his game-high 24 points in overtime, including nine straight to give Arkansas the lead for good.

Fortson also added 10 rebounds for his third double-double in SEC play.

"When we got to overtime Courtney really, really stepped up," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "He made some free throws, made a tough pull-up, hit a three. I thought there came a point where we got into a little bit of a rhythm and didn't turn it over. It gave us a chance to score because we didn't have that rhythm earlier."

The game was tied at 71-all before Fortson took over. First he hit a 3-pointer and followed that up with a high-arching runner off the glass.

The much-maligned free throw shooter from last season then continued a season-long trend of making clutch shots at the foul line, hitting 3 of 4 in overtime and 7 of 11 for the game.

During Arkansas' four-game winning streak Fortson has gone 36 of 49 from the free throw line.

"He's a tremendous player, a great player actually," freshman Marshawn Powell said. "He's hard to keep in front of you and can get into the lane any time he wants, and creates for everybody else."

The win against the Tigers marked the third time during that stretch Fortson has been Arkansas' go-to man when the going gets tough. Against Mississippi State, Fortson had 33 of his career-high 35 points after halftime and he scored 19 after the intermission in a win over Georgia earlier this week.

But he wasn't alone after halftime against the Tigers. Powell, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, scored 17 of his 19 points after the break and hit a pair of jumpers to start the overtime period to keep Arkansas on-pace with the Tigers.

Fortson and Powell combined to score 14 of Arkansas' 15 points in the overtime period.

"We ran our offense consistently and constantly got the ball down low to Marshawn," Fortson said. "Big Mike (Washington) obviously wasn't available down the stretch but we kept going inside-out to Marshawn and it worked every time."

Washington left the game at the 8:09 mark of the second half with an ankle injury and didn't return. Powell said he had to become more patient with Washington out of the game.

"I settled for a couple of jump shots that I shouldn't have shot earlier in the game," Powell said. "Other than that it was just attacking the rim and being patient, and letting the game come to me."

Fortson said the late success can be attributed to the struggles throughout the nonconference and early conference portion of the schedule.

"We've been dealing with adversity all year," Fortson said. "As long as we stick together anything can happen, as you saw today."

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