2:00 PM ET, January 21, 2006
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Ronnie Brewer and Arkansas made sure they didn't let this one slip away.Brewer scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half and the Razorbacks didn't flinch when a big lead mostly dwindled away in a 68-52 victory over Auburn on Saturday.Arkansas (13-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) scored 11 consecutive points from the free throw line after Auburn whittled a 16-point deficit down to 52-46 midway through the second half.It wasn't to be a repeat of Wednesday night's Alabama game, when Arkansas blew a 13-point lead in the second half and lost in overtime."It's just one of those games that it's hard to get out of your mind," Razorbacks coach Stan Heath said. "More importantly, for 40 minutes we were focused on Auburn and we didn't worry about that."Brewer & Co. frequently drove to the basket and drew fouls from Auburn (8-7, 0-4) down the stretch and held the Tigers without a point for the final six minutes. Auburn didn't make a basket over the last 7:20.Brewer started the surge by making 3-of-4 free throws after Tigers coach Jeff Lebo was whistled for a technical protesting a foul call with 9:27 left.Auburn had briefly rebounded from a 52-36 deficit, capping a 10-0 run with a long jumper by Quantez Robertson. The Tigers couldn't keep it up."They went down and got a couple of easy baskets and the next thing we knew, it was too late to get back in the game," Auburn's Ronny LeMelle said.Jonathon Modica had 17 points for Arkansas while Charles Thomas had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Brewer, the SEC's leading scorer, was scoreless for nearly 15 minutes to start the game.The trio were a combined 21-of-25 from the line."We were just trying to take it to them and make them commit fouls," Brewer said.LeMelle led Auburn with 16 points but made only 2-of-10 3-pointers. Rasheem Barrett added 12 points. Joey Cameron had a career-high 13 rebounds while Robertson had nine points, six rebounds and six assists.The Tigers committed 23 turnovers and went cold in the second half, shooting just 30 percent."Turnovers killed us," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "It's just very frustrating as a coach. We've stressed it, we've explained it, we've showed it. We have a slim margin for error and when we turn the ball over 23 times, you're not going to beat many people."Auburn tied the game by scoring the first four points after halftime, but Brewer and Modica fueled a 19-3 run capped by Modica's jumper.Auburn missed seven consecutive shots during the sequence."We really wanted to focus on just executing on defense and really not backing down," Thomas said.Then LeMelle forced a turnover off an inbounds pass to set up Barrett's basket inside and hit a layup and 3-pointer to bring the Tigers back.That's when the Razorbacks began a series of trips to the line, where they made 21 of 25 attempts for the game. Auburn starter Frank Tolbert fouled out midway through the second half."We let them get back in the game a little bit, but I think we grew up because we stretched the lead right back out," Thomas said.The Razorbacks had scored the final six points of the first half for a 33-29 lead, forcing 15 turnovers before halftime while committing 12. Post starters Darian Townes and Steven Hill combined for a quiet eight points and six rebounds against an undersized Auburn team with Heath employing a smaller lineup for much of the game.The Razorbacks still attempted only 13 3-pointers after tossing up 27 -- and making just eight -- against Alabama. They had only seven second-half turnovers."We cut down those turnovers from the first half," Heath said. "Our second-half push was exactly what we needed."The Tigers held a "Legends Game" for former players before the game, celebrating their 100th year of basketball.
|FG Made-Attempted||21-55 (.382)||19-51 (.373)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-13 (.385)||4-19 (.211)|
|FT Made-Attempted||21-25 (.840)||10-17 (.588)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||14 (0/0)||22 (0/0)|