Nick Smith canned a baseline jumper and Devonte Davis hit two free throws in the final 16 seconds as 10th-seeded Arkansas held on for a 76-73 victory over No. 7 seed Auburn Thursday night in a second-round Southeastern Conference Tournament game in Nashville, Tenn.
The win advanced the Razorbacks (20-12) into a quarterfinal matchup with No. 2 tourney seed Texas A&M Friday night. The Tigers (20-12) will wait out Selection Sunday to learn their NCAA Tournament fate.
Anthony Black led four double-figure scorers with 19 points for the Razorbacks while Smith finished with 14 points — including 12 in the second half. Makhi Mitchell added 12 and Jordan Walsh 11.
K.D. Johnson led Auburn with 20 points. Allen Flanigan scored 15, Johni Broome 13 and Wendell Green Jr. 11 for the Tigers. Green’s potential game-tying 3-point try bounced off the rim at the final buzzer.
The Razorbacks opened the second half on a 7-0 run to stretch a four-point halftime lead to double digits at 44-33 less than two minutes into the period. The Hogs boosted that to 54-39 before the Tigers cashed in on consecutive Arkansas turnovers for six quick points and a 54-45 deficit for the Tigers with 13:13 on the clock.
Arkansas responded and led 59-46 before the Tigers went on a 9-0 surge that included a four-point swing following a technical foul against Arkansas’ Kamani Johnson. Auburn’s K.D. Johnson cashed in with two free throws and layup before Flanigan followed with a 3-pointer to get the gap down to 62-58 with 8:25 remaining.
The Tigers got their first lead since a 2-0 score on Flanigan’s driving layup put them up 73-72 with under a minute to go but Smith answered 25 seconds later.
The Razorbacks enjoyed a huge 37-19 advantage in rebounds but late turnovers nearly cost them. They had three over a late two-minute span to end the game with 19 to Auburn’s 10.
Auburn closed out the first half on a 6-0 run to trim a 10-point deficit to 37-33 at the break as Arkansas went the final 2:27 without a field goal while turning the ball over twice on bad passes.
–Field Level Media