Tigers Convincing in Win at Arkansas

Fayetteville, Ark.—Strong three-point shooting early and a 19-2 run to end the game sparked Auburn to a 73-51 victory over Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena on Saturday.

"I'm awfully proud of them," head coach Jeff Lebo said of the Tigers. "I told my team afterward that Texas couldn't do it and Oklahoma couldn't do it in here. I've been in this league for 10 years and not many people do it in here.

"It was a great win for our team and I am happy for them. We've had a tough week. We played awfully hard and left a lot out on the court against Kentucky, then we play against Arkansas who had a week off."

Matched up against Arkansas' Michael Washington, who leads the SEC in rebounding, Korvotney Barber had 15 points and tied a career-high with 18 rebounds.

Korvotney Barber dunks for the Tigers.

"I think he still leaves 10 or 12 points on the court every night whether it's free throws or missing some around the bucket area," Lebo said of his senior forward. "He's active and long in there. Eighteen rebounds in 34 minutes is a big boy's night. I thought he did a great job on the road."

Tay Waller was on fire early hitting three treys in the first six minutes as the Tigers raced out to a 14-6 advantage. DeWayne Reed, Lucas Hargrove and Quantez Robertson got in the act from long range as the Tigers hit 8-10 threes to start the game and built a 33-21 advantage late in the first half.

Waller, who hit his first four three-point attempts, missed his final six. Waller's shooting has been contagious to his teammates during SEC play, and as he continued to miss threes so did the rest of the Tigers. Auburn missed 11 in a row from long range as it allowed the Razorbacks to stick around despite an off day offensively.

Auburn held Arkansas to 19-63 shooting from the floor for 30.2 percent.

Auburn led by 38-31 at halftime and Arkansas had chances to make a run at the visitors in the second half, cutting it to five on more than one occasion. The Razorbacks seemingly had momentum down 54-49 with nine minutes to play, but Reed took over and dominated until the final whistle.

"We talked at the eight-minute mark that Arkansas was a young team and we're an experienced team," Lebo recalled. "This point in the game is where you can impose your will as an experienced team and experienced backcourt players. I thought our kids–DeWayne Reed, Quantez Robertson, Rasheem Barrett–did a nice job especially defensively of executing at crucial times in the game."

Up just five points, Reed found Barber underneath for a bucket and then he broke the drought from three-point range, extending it to a 10-point advantage. After Marcus Britt made a jumper on the other end of the court for the Razorbacks' last points of the game with 6:30 to go, Rasheem Barrett hit a mid-range shot for the Tigers.

Hargrove then made a three for Auburn and Reed had a three-point play the old-fashioned way, driving to the bucket, making the shot, drawing a foul and hitting the free throw. Auburn led by 16 points with 4:15 to play at that point.

Reed then passed up an open three and dished to Barber underneath for an easy two. Taking advantage of a tired Razorback team, Reed drove to the basket on the Tigers' next position for an easy two points to extend the lead to 20. Brendon Knox had the final two points for the Tigers an offensive rebound and put-back.

Reed finished the game with 16 points, six rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block with only two turnovers in 37 minutes. Of Reed's play Lebo said, "On the road, and then he had to defend (Courtney) Fortson the whole time, so that's not an easy thing. I thought he did a nice job and he's really playing much better. His job defensively on Fortson, to me, was the key to the game."

Fortson, who had 12 points, was just 5-17 from the floor.

"I really thought we did some nice things," Lebo added. "Our defense in the second half was awfully good. Obviously they shot the ball poorly, which was a big help."

Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said, "Auburn is a very good basketball team. They're a very quick, athletic basketball team. I thought they were better than us today.

"I thought our men competed, and we just didn't score what we needed to score," Pelphrey said. "We had our chances. They had some really timely blocked shots."

Auburn improved its record to 12-7 overall and 2-3 in the conference. Arkansas is winless in four tries in SEC play and 12-5 overall.

The Tigers have five of their next six games at home, with four of those SEC contests. Texas-Pan American visits Beard-Eaves on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for a rare January non-conference game. The next SEC contest for Auburn is on Saturday against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

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