After being down by as much as 12 in the second half, the Alabama Crimson Tide fought hard to get back into the game and found themselves in overtime against the Arkansas Razorbacks on the road. The extra five minutes weren't enough for the Crimson Tide, as the Hogs recovered and found a way to win at home 71-67.
Alabama (11-6, 0-2 SEC) used a tip-in by Demetrius Jemison and then Mykal Riley hit a three off a screen with 18 seconds remaining to tie the game at 60. Jemison blocked a Razorback floater with one second left and neither team corralled the ball as time-expired in regulation.
In overtime, Arkansas (13-3, 2-0) got a big three from Gary Irvin to take a 65-64 lead for good. The Razorbacks rode some late Tide miscues and a missed traveling violation by the referees to squeeze out a home victory.
Alabama forward Alonzo Gee shot and missed a three with 14 seconds remaining in the game. Patrick Beverley came down with the rebound for the Hogs and was fouled by Justin Tubbs. Beverley missed both free throws, but Alabama’s Demetrius Jemison knocked the rebound out-of-bounds with no one around him with 14 seconds left. Charles Thomas sealed the deal for the Hogs by hitting two free throws with seven seconds remaining.
Alabama played in between six and twelve points down for most of the game, but was able to put together a late surge to force overtime. The Tide kept Arkansas scoreless from the field for the last four minutes of regulation to help aid their comeback.
Both teams had key players in foul trouble during the game, but the only player to foul out was Alabama’s Mykal Riley. Riley managed to score 16 points during his time on the floor, including his three to send the game into overtime.
Richard Hendrix continued his domination of the SEC by scoring a team-high 17 points and 11 rebounds, recording yet another double-double. The third member of Alabama’s big three, Alonzo Gee, scored 15 points, but was kept away from the boards for only 5 rebounds, just over half of his season average.
The Razorbacks were led by Darian Townes, who went 7-8 from the field and scored 18 points, one of four Hogs in double figures. Townes was averaging 11 points per game entering and had 12 by the end of the first half. Arkansas’ leading scorer, Patrick Beverley, only had six points, but pulled down 13 rebounds while playing around fouls for most of the game.
Both teams struggled from the free throw line, something that has been a haunting story for the Tide this season. Alabama was only 10-18 from the free throw line for 56 percent and Arkansas was 20-29 for 69 percent. Both teams also struggled from downtown, with Alabama shooting 32 percent and Arkansas only shooting 27 percent. Neither team shot above 40 percent from the field for the game.
A key for Arkansas in this game was their bench scoring. The Razorbacks got 34 points of support from there reserves compared to Alabama's six. The lack of support for the Alabama starters has really hurt the team lately. The bench has only scored 12 points so far this conference season.
Alabama has now lost two straight road openers in the SEC at Arkansas, losing their SEC opener last season 88-61. Alabama is 0-2 in the SEC for the first time in this century and the first time under coach Mark Gottfried. Arkansas is 2-0 in the SEC for the first time since 2001-02. That was the last season of legendary coach Nolan Richardson’s stay in Fayetteville.
Alabama will look for their first win of the conference season in Athens, GA on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2007 for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Bulldogs are coming off a road loss to Mississippi State will open their home conference schedule with the Crimson Tide.
Alabama will get another chance at the Razorbacks at home later this season when Arkansas travels to Tuscaloosa on Feb. 27.