When Auburn called timeout with just more than 9 minutes to play and the Hogs leading 55-31, I'll admit it: I thought the game was over. I got greedy and was wondering how many points Kikko Haydar and Nick Mason might score this evening.
Clearly, my smugness displeased the basketball gods, and they decided to make me sweat a little. Amazingly, an Auburn squad that missed its first 22 field-goal attempts after intermission (yes, you read that right - 22!) and scored only 1 point in the first 11 minutes and 24 seconds of the second half came back to make this game a little too close for comfort.
The Tigers whittled the Razorbacks' lead down to 6 (68-62) with just more than a minute to play and looked way more energetic and focused than the Hogs in the final minutes. Perhaps Arkansas just got complacent with that big lead; whatever the case, the last 8 minutes or so surely did little to brighten Razorback fans' increasingly dark mood.
Thank goodness for Julysses Nobles, who scored all 16 of his points in the second half. Without his composure at the charity stripe - he drained all of 10 of his free-throw attempts - down the stretch, Hog fans would probably really be singing the blues right now.