Second-half surge carries No. 2 Alabama past Arkansas


Alabama’s Brandon Miller scored 17 of his 24 points in the second half, Mark Sears canned six free throws in the final 35 seconds and the second-ranked Crimson Tide outlasted Arkansas 86-83 Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Vying for a No. 1 tournament seed and possibly the overall national top spot, the Crimson Tide, who lead the Southeastern Conference at 15-1 and are 25-4 overall, trailed by nine after shooting just 33.3 percent (10 of 30) in the first half.

After scoring a career-high 41 points against South Carolina on Wednesday, the freshman Miller went 8 of 15 from the floor, made a 3-pointer and all seven of his free throws, and collected six rebounds.

Jahvon Quinerly had 16 points and seven assists, and Sears had 13 points. Noah Clowney had 10 points, 13 rebounds and two steals, while Charles Bediako scored six points and snatched 10 boards.

Alabama shot 55.9 percent in the second half but went just 3 for 22 from 3-point range overall.

In improving to 23-8 all-time at home against Arkansas, Alabama earned a season-sweep of the Razorbacks for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign.

Starting the day seventh in the conference standings, Arkansas (19-10, 8-8 SEC), got 24 points and six rebounds from Nick Smith Jr. but had a lengthy scoring drought in the second half.

Davonte Davis had 21 points and Ricky Council IV added 20. Yet after cutting the deficit to three with 10 seconds left, Council’s desperation trey missed at the buzzer as the Razorbacks lost for the fourth time in five games against Alabama.

After starting slowly, Alabama took its first lead at 19-17 on Miller’s jumper at 8:27, but it was brief. The Razorbacks’ prowess on defense helped them build a 33-22 advantage after Smith’s layup then steal of Sears and alley-oop pass that Council slammed home at 3:18.

Smith’s baseline jumper in the closing seconds — giving him 10 points — put Arkansas up 37-28. In the first half, the visitors managed to limit the Crimson Tide to 28 points by producing five steals and four blocked shots.

Alabama opened the second half on a 19-9 run inside the first six minutes to take a 47-46 lead. The Crimson Tide held the Razorbacks scoreless for 5:29 during a 15-0 run and outscored them 58-46 in the second half to move to 14-0 at home.

–Field Level Media

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