Feb. 26, 2005
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- A pass from Ronnie Brewer to Olu Famutimi for a jam with 6:30 to play gave Arkansas a 62-61 lead and overcame a kind of misfortune that may well have left the Razorbacks defeated only a month ago.
Brewer scored 23 points and the Razorbacks drew key performances from several players as Arkansas beat Tennessee 70-68 Saturday.
Tennessee (12-15, 5-9 Southeastern Conference) had a chance to tie as time ran out. But game-high scorer Chris Lofton didn't like his shot and passed to C.J. Watson, who missed just before the buzzer.
With 8:40 to play, Eric Ferguson got a turnover and raced down the court for a basket that would have put Arkansas up 56-55. But Ferguson was called for a technical foul for pulling himself up on the rim, and it took the officials a while to count the basket. Lofton made both free throws and Tennessee got the ball with a 57-56 lead.
The crowd was furious, Arkansas coach Stan Heath gave the officials a piece of his mind and the scene seemed to be set for Tennessee to pull away.
But Arkansas didn't let up and had the lead again two minutes later on Famutimi's jam.
"A little bit of growing up," Heath called his team's response to adversity. "You can put your head down ... or you can get fired up."
A pair of free throws by Famutimi with 4:38 to play tied the game at 64-64. After a miss by Lofton, Ferguson hit a 3-pointer for a 67-64 lead for Arkansas (18-9, 6-8).
Watson moved Tennessee within a point at the 3:19 mark, 67-66, but Thomas responded with a basket 20 seconds later to extend the Razorbacks' lead to 69-66.
Lofton, who finished with 30 points, moved left to right in the lane and missed a shot with 2:17 to play, but Brandon Crump was able to draw the Volunteers within a point again. He twirled under the basket against a double-team, briefly lost the ball, then put it in to cut it to 69-68 with 59 seconds to play.
Tennessee fouled with 23 seconds left, and Dontell Jefferson made one of two free throws for the final measure.
Brewer scored 23 points for Arkansas but it was late shots by Charles Thomas and Ferguson that helped the Razorbacks to a late lead and 70-68 victory over Tennessee.
Brewer pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, had two steals and contributed six assists. Famutimi scored 14 for Arkansas. Thomas finished with 9 points.
Lofton was 7-of-14 from 3-point range for the game, though late in the contest he tried to work the ball more inside. Andre Patterson and Crump each scored 11 for the Vols, and Patterson led the team with eight rebounds.
Lofton missed his last four shots, and Heath credited Famutimi and Ferguson for making Lofton work to the point of fatigue.
"Maybe that wore him down a little bit where he didn't quite have his legs," Heath said. Lofton agreed with the assessment.
"I had some great looks and didn't knock them down. I think I was tired," he said.
Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said his defensive scheme -- using a zone -- was effective but wasn't enough to put the Vols over the top.
"It was another close loss for us on the road," Peterson said. "I think that makes five losses by a total of 15 points."
Arkansas turned the ball over 14 times to nine for the Vols, but Arkansas had the rebounding advantage 38-32.
Arkansas took a 37-32 lead into halftime. Brewer finished the first half with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Lofton made 4-of-8 from 3-point range in the first period and led the Vols with 14 points.
Tennessee played without Scooter McFadgon, a senior guard averaging 14.1 points per game.