Alabama 59, Arkansas 56

Mike Anderson

Arkansas misses an opportunity for its first road win when Alabama gets its last nine points from the free throw line and tops the Razorbacks 59-56 Thursday night at Coleman Coliseum.

Trevor Lacey and Levi Randolph hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final 17 seconds and Alabama held on for a 59-56 victory over Arkansas on Thursday night.

Lacey scored 14 points for the Crimson Tide (13-7, 5-2 Southeastern Conference), which held on for a fifth win in six games after losing 54-53 at Tennessee when he couldn't get off a final shot.

B.J. Young hit a layup with 5 seconds left and then missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Arkansas (12-8, 3-4) after Randolph made two free throws.

Young, who led Arkansas with 14 points, managed to get a shot off with a behind-the-back dribble but overshot the rim. He scored 12 in the second half.

"Obviously I was disappointed that we came up a little short, but I told our guys I loved the effort and they didn't lose it - we just ran out of time," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "Alabama did a good job of making free throws down the stretch. Even in the second half, I thought our defense was a lot better limiting them to field goals and disrupting them on offense - I thought we did a good job.

"The game went down to the last second. I told our guys, we have to make plays down the stretch and we didn't," Anderson added. "Whether it is that [Andrew] Steele shoots the ball and we have to get that loose ball - that rebound. We just couldn't quite make those plays."

Arkansas freshman Michael Qualls had 9 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

"I thought [his play] was big for us," Anderson said. "I think that is going to pay dividends as we continue throughout this season. We are looking for someone to breakout and really give us a big lift and he certainly did. I thought his energy was contagious out there.

"When they took a double-digit lead in the first half, I think he was one of the ones that really sparked us," Anderson added. "We have to have guys with energy on our basketball team, and that was a big lift off the bench."

Lacey had six rebounds but also committed seven of Alabama's season-high 21 turnovers. Trevor Releford added 12 points and Nick Jacobs had 10 for Alabama.

Marshawn Powell had 11 points for the Razorbacks before fouling out.

Young missed all four of his 3-point attempts and the Razorbacks were just 3 of 19. They are now 0-5 away from home and have totaled 110 points in two straight losses.

"We fough," Young said. "We didn't get it done. I could have made some plays down the stretch. We made a couple; we didn't make enough, but we fought hard." The Tide shot just 7 of 23 (30 percent) in the second half but also made 14 of 19 free throws (74 percent).

Arkansas forced a turnover with the full-court press and Rickey Scott collected the loose ball and a layup with 51 seconds left to cut Alabama's lead to 56-54. The Tide then worked most of the shot clock down before Andrew Steele missed a 3-pointer.

Lacey grabbed the offensive rebound, Drew Powell's fifth foul and hit the second of two free throws with 17 seconds remaining for a 57-54 lead.

Young then drove to the basket instead of trying to tie it with a 3-pointer, and the Razorbacks called a timeout before quickly fouling Randolph. He made both with 4.2 seconds remaining.

"We played a little bit better defense," Young said. "We rebounded better. We stayed together and we made plays on the court. We didn't make enough tonight, but we made some of the right plays to get back in the game."

The Razorbacks, who had trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, went on a 17-5 run to take the lead following Releford's technical foul early in the second half.

Young hit two free throws for a 42-39 lead midway through the second half. Lacey answered with two free throws, Releford had a reverse layup and Tide freshman Devonta Pollard scored inside to get Alabama back on track.

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