TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Despite 18 points from sophomore Rickey Scott, the University of Arkansas men's basketball team fell just short at Alabama on Saturday afternoon, losing, 72-66, inside Coleman Coliseum.
Arkansas drops to 15-6 overall and 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference, while Alabama improves to 14-7, 3-4 in league play.
Arkansas took a 56-54 lead on a layup by freshman BJ Young with 6:53 left in the game, but Alabama used a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to take back the lead and snuff out the Razorbacks' attempt at their first road win of the year.
"Congratulations to Alabama," said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson after the game. "That was a hard fought game. They did a good job of making free throws down the stretch."
Arkansas trailed by seven at halftime, but scrapped hard to take its first lead of the second half, 50-47, on a three-point play by junior Julysses Nobles. The lead changed three times over the next five minutes before Alabama surged for its nine straight points to put the game nearly out of hand, 63-56, with just over two minutes left.
Scott made a three-pointer with 1:52 to play and got a layup off a steal with 1:40 left to cut the Alabama lead to three, 64-61, but Alabama responded with a 5-1 run to get back in front 69-62 with 40 seconds left and hang on for the win.
"I'm disappointed with the loss, but I thought we came and fought back," Anderson said.
Twelve of Scott's 18 points came in the second half, and the sophomore added five rebounds and four assists to lead the Razorback offense. Young scored 11 points and had six rebounds and four steals to lead the team.
Sophomore Mardracus Wade tallied 12 points, all coming in a tight first half. Wade opened the game with a three-pointer and Arkansas jumped out to a 5-0 lead. The Razorbacks kept up the offense and led by five, 17-12, halfway through the first half after a pair of threes by Scott. Alabama took its first lead, 28-26, on a three-pointer with 7:13 to play in the first half, and the Crimson Tide used a 7-1 run to close the first half and take a 37-30 halftime lead.
Anderson commented that he was impressed with his team's poise and execution on the road in a tough environment.
"We came in with the right attitude," Anderson said. "We didn't panic."
Aside from the 7-1 run at the end of the first half and the 9-0 stretch near the end of the game, Arkansas outscored Alabama 65-56. The Razorbacks forced 17 turnovers and had 12 steals, and scored 24 points off of turnovers.
Alabama was 20-for-25 from the free throw line in the game, while Arkansas was 12-for-17 from the line. The Crimson Tide were 5-for-6 from the line in the final minute of play.
Freshman Devonta Abron was a force for Arkansas in the second half, scoring eight points in the period and grabbing five second-half rebounds. Scott shot 3-for-5 from three-point range, and Wade was 2-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Trevor Releford had 14 points to lead Alabama, and JaMychal Green added 13 points and seven rebounds.The Razorbacks return to action with a home game against Vanderbilt on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. inside Bud Walton Arena.