Macon, Arkansas hold off Alabama comeback try 76-73
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Daryl Macon, the Southeastern Conference’s top free throw shooter, delivered on his second chance at the line.
The Razorbacks (20-9, 9-7 SEC) took control with nine straight points for a 65-57 lead with four minutes left, then withstood a challenge.
Dustin Thomas made two foul shots for the Razorbacks with 32 seconds left. Collin Sexton answered with a drive but missed a chance at a 3-point play, and Macon missed the front end of a one-and-one. He’d get another chance.
The Tide quickly fouled Macon, who converted both attempts this time for a 75-70 lead.
”I wanted to redeem myself,” said Macon, who’s making nearly 88 percent of his foul shots. ”Me missing that free throw, that’s not me at all.”
John Petty’s 3-pointer from the right corner with three seconds left gave Alabama another chance.
Anton Beard made the first of two foul shots and Sexton’s potential tying half-court attempt at the buzzer bounced off the glass.
In the end, the Razorbacks left with a nice road win for their NCAA Tournament hopes.
”This time of year, all wins are big,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said.
Alabama trailed almost the entire way and dropped its third straight game.
”We were just in a fog to start the game,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. ”No rhythm. No sense of urgency. We finally woke up a little bit going into halftime, in the second half. To start the game we just weren’t ourselves. I’m still trying to put my finger on it.”
Braxton Key started for Alabama after coming off the bench the past six games and scored 16.
Sexton scored 15 points and had six assists a day after he was one of the high-profile college players named in a Yahoo Sports report for allegedly receiving improper benefits. The former five-star recruit was among those cited in federal documents for potential violations involving meals with an agent.
He was held out of Alabama’s opener before being reinstated by the NCAA.
”We reviewed it and after we reviewed it, we made a decision that Collin was going to be available for us,” Johnson said. ”And that’s the extent of it.”
Petty scored 14 on 4-of-6 3-point shooting and Dazon Ingram added 13. Hall scored just four points but had eight rebounds and blocked three shots.
Alabama went more than seven minutes without a field goal before Ingram’s layup with 3:46 to play.
”We’re just being careless with the ball, not being focused on offense, not running our plays,” Petty said. ”We didn’t have our heads in the right spot at that time.”
Arkansas: Has won five of its last six games and rebounded from an 87-72 loss to Kentucky. Helped its NCAA Tournament case with the road win.
Alabama: Couldn’t change its recent fortunes upon returning to Coleman Coliseum after double-digit road losses to Kentucky (81-71) and No. 12 Auburn (90-71). Outrebounded 36-28.
THEY SAID IT
Macon on how big the win was: ”We’re going to enjoy it until midnight. We’re not going to talk about this game after tonight.”
Arkansas hosts No. 12 Auburn on Tuesday night.
Alabama hosts Florida on Tuesday night.