Hot Hogs Too Much for Tigers in Fayetteville

Auburn dropped a third straight men's basketball game to close the regular season.

Fayetteville, Ark.--The Arkansas Razorbacks unleashed a three-point barrage in the first half and held on for a 77-64 SEC basketball victory over Auburn in the final regular season game for both teams on Saturday.

The Razorbacks, who are trying to position themselves for an NCAA Tournament bid, took 14 threes in the first half and hit eight of them. Overall in the first half the Razorbacks made 17-30 shots to take a 45-26 lead at the break.

The Tigers, who hit just 10-27 first half shots, warmed offensively in the second half. Auburn cut the gap to 64-54 on a basket by Quan Prowell with just under six minutes to play, but the home team saved Senior Night for its six seniors with strong work on the boards and timely baskets.

The Razorbacks finished the game at 52.6 percent shooting for the field and they made 10-19 threes. Combine that with a 39-26 rebounding advantage and that was too much for the Tigers to overcome.

Auburn, which shot just 37 percent in the first half, made 56 percent of its field goals in the second half to shoot 46.2 percent from the field for the game.

The Tigers, now 14-15 going into the SEC Tournament next week, dropped to 4-12 in the league and fell below .500 for the first time since the opening game of the season.

The Tigers, who had a chance to be the third seed in the SEC Tournament going into the final week of the season, dropped to the sixth seed in the SEC West with back-to-back losses to the Razorbacks and Georgia. That means the Tigers will play SEC East No. 3 seed Vanderbilt at 2:15 p.m. CDT on Thursday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

The Razorbacks finished the regular season 20-10 overall and 9-7 in the SEC. They will have a first round bye on Thursday in the SEC Tournament as the second seed from the West.

Frank Tolbert led the Tigers with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds. The senior hit 7-12 shots.

Rasheem Barrett scored 13 for the Tigers as the junior made 5-9 field goals and junior Quantez Robertson, who was 4-7 from the field, finished with 12 points, four steals, two assists and one turnover in 37 minutes of court time.

Patrick Beverly of Arkansas led all scorers with 27 points. The sophomore hit 9-11 field goals, including all six of his three-pointers, plus he added four steals.

"They shot the ball so well the first half they kind of stunned us with their shooting," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said.

"I thought our second half effort was pretty good," Lebo noted. "We got after them. With our athleticism we started playing them a little more man to man and doubling them a little bit more. It was was effective in the second half. Our kids played awfully hard and awfully well, I thought, in the second half of the game."

Senior forward Darian Townes hurt the Tigers, too. He led all rebounders with 14 and made 6-7 field goals on the way to a 14-point performance.

Prowell led the Tigers on the board with eight rebounds to go with nine points and DeWayne Reed came off the bench to score nine for the Tigers.

Auburn finished with 11 turnovers, three less than the home team. Both squads struggled at the foul line. Auburn hit 9-17 while the Razorbacks made 7-15 as a crowd of 19,173 watched the action at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said he liked the way his team performed. "Coming out here on Senior Night, there was a lot of emotion coming from these seniors knowing they won't be able to lace it up here at Bud Walton again," he noted. "Sometimes that's hard to handle.

"Everyone contributed tonight," Pelphrey said. "Charles (Thomas) had a huge three-point play at the end of the game. Vincent (Hunter) made huge three-pointers throughout the game. Darian was making baskets, and Patrick has been unbelievable this year as an underclassman. Beverley was spectacular tonight. Every time he got open, he knocked down huge three-pointers.

"Auburn does a good job at changing defenses," the Arkansas coach added. "There's never any quitting in them. They've been playing tough all year, especially with the tough schedule they've had this year. Jeff Lebo will really have this team playing well next year."

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