INDIANAPOLIS — Despite all their success in the latter half of the season, Arkansas has been a second half team. That held true in the first two rounds of the tournament, where they had to overcome first half double digit deficits against Colgate and Texas Tech. So when the same thing happened against Oral Roberts in the Sweet 16, the panic meter wasn't too high.
Oral Roberts hit five of their first ten three point attempts, building a 15-7 lead seven minutes in. Jalen Tate provided a start, as Arkansas went on a mini run to tie things at 19-19 at the under-8 media timeout. Bit the Arkansas offense was flat, and Max Abmas and Carlos Jurgens helped the Golden Eagles build a 35-28 halftime lead.
Here's where Hog fans felt the comeback coming. The Razorbacks had roared out of the locker room for the last two months. That was not the case here, as the Hogs couldn't buy a bucket, and Abmas and ORU kept right on scoring, building a lead as big as 12 before Eric Musselman was forced to call a rare timeout.
Finally, Moses Moody seemed to wake up, scoring ten points in the first ten minutes of the second half, and with six minutes to go, Arkansas managed to tie things up at 58-58. Justin Smith on the glass and Devo Davis in transition helped the Hogs to an 8-1 run. With under five to play, Jalen Tate banked in a shot to give Arkansas their first lead of the second half at 62-60, but ORU quickly answered. After some frantic sequences, Arkansas went up 66-62, their largest lead of the night, and Oral Roberts called timeout with 3:31 to play.
The Golden Eagles responded, tying the game at 66-66, then taking the lead at 69-68 with 1:40 to play, then hit one of two free throws to tie it at 70-70 with 30 seconds to play. Then, Devo Davis came through, nailing a jumper with three seconds left. The Oral Roberts three hit rim, and the Hogs survive, winning 72-70.
They advance to the Elite Eight, where they'll face Baylor, Monday on channel 5.
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