Feb. 26, 2011
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Auburn -- Delvon Johnson's game-winning dunk with 5 seconds left and Josh Wallace's 35-footer hit off the backboard and rim as Arkansas held on to defeat Auburn 57-55 in Auburn Arena on Saturday. After opening two minutes, the Tigers had trailed the entire game until Kenny Gabriel tied it on a layup with 28.1 seconds to play.
Auburn (9-19, 2-12) lost its second consecutive game by two points in the final seconds. SEC-leading Alabama edged the Tigers 51-49 with a tip-in with 0.3 seconds left last Wednesday in Tuscaloosa.
"In that moment of the game, execution is very important," said Auburn head coach Tony Barbee on Arkansas' winning basket. "We executed our tails off offensively down the stretch. We executed our tails off defensively down the stretch, except for the very last play. We broke down."
Arkansas (18-10, 7-7) led 33-20 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Marcus Britt and Jeff Peterson to open the second half and led 39-29 with 12:03 left. Auburn scored six straight points to close to within four.
The Tigers were down 41-37 before Rotnei Clarke scored seven straight points in 90 seconds and Marshawn Powell made a pair of foul shots to extend the Razorbacks' lead to 48-39 with 8:34 to go.
Auburn still trailed 55-48 with 3:49 to play, but the Tigers scored seven straight points on a Kenny Gabriel 3-pointer, a Rob Chubb layup with 1:21 left and then Gabriel's game-tying layup with 29 seconds to play.
"At the end of the game, we knew we had to get a stop, but we got mixed up when Rotnei Clark came off a down-screen," said Wallace. "That last shot is something that we actually practice before every game so I thought it had a good chance to go in. It hit the backboard, and it was almost in."
Trailing 4-3, Arkansas reeled off 10 straight points as Auburn had committed six turnovers in the first 4:32. The Tigers only committed four turnovers after that, including just one in the second half. The Razorbacks built their lead to as much as 25-12 with 4:44 left in the half.
Wallace shot a desperation 21-foot 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer, and Arkansas' Marcus Britt was called for goal-tending, touching the ball just before it would hit the rim. It sent Auburn into halftime down 27-20 despite shooting 25.9 percent from the field.
"We were switching everything, and we had a guy that didn't switch," said Barbee on Arkansas' game-winning dunk. "I told the guys even though that play happened, we lost this game a long time ago because of the way that we started. We started slow and know you find yourself trying to dig yourself out of a hole.
"I'm proud of the guys for the way they fought back, but if you're a little better offensively, then we're not digging ourselves out of a hole the entire game. I'm proud of the guys for the way they fought back, but we lost this game way before that last play when our execution broke defensively. Give them credit, they executed a well-run offensive play."
Gabriel led the Tigers with 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting while Ross had 11 points and seven rebounds. Wallace and Chubb had nine points apiece and Chris Denson scored eight. Clarke scored a game-high 17 points on 3-of-7 three-pointers and Britt added 10 points and seven boards.
Arkansas outshot Auburn 39.6 percent to 35.8 percent and outrebounded the Tigers 36-29. The Hogs went 6-of-16 from 3-point range while the Tigers were 3-of-12. Auburn went 14-of-18 from the foul line and Arkansas 13-of-18. The Tigers forced 17 Razorback turnovers.
Auburn plays its final home game of the season on Wednesday at 7 pm Central vs. Ole Miss. The game will be televised by the SEC Network. The Tigers then play their regular season finale at LSU on March 5.