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Arkansas Razorbacks 77, Texas Longhorns 74: Free Throw Championship


NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Texas Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas’ starters combined to shoot 13/37 (35%), and the Hogs shot 25% from deep. So how did on earth did they win this game? With free throws, and lots of them.

Daryl Macon led all scorers with 23 despite going 4/12 from the field because of a perfect 14/14 from the charity stripe. Arkansas as a team went 29/31 (94%) from the line while the Longhorns were only 59%.

The Hogs started very stagnant on offense, only making one of their first eight shots and not getting an assist until over 10 minutes into the game. At a couple points early it felt like the game could have ended up slipping away like the Minnesota game but a very strong defensive and rebounding effort kept the Hogs close.

Arkansas went into the half down 35-30, but held the edge in rebounding on a very long and athletic Texas team going into the locker room. That effort was led by Moses Kingsley, who didn’t have a good offensive game going just 2/8 from the field and scoring seven points, but he had 10 boards and five blocks in a matchup against Jarrett Allen who is one of the best freshman in the country.

Arkansas turned that deficit into a 54-45 lead thanks to a 17-5 run that included big threes from Macon and Dusty Hannahs, who came off the bench again and pitched in 15 points.

Texas would counter with a run of their own, eventually tying the game at 61 with 4:41 remaining in the game. Arkansas then pulled away with a 10-1 run that included back-to-back old-fashioned three point plays from Jaylen Barford and Kingsley.

Texas hit some threes to keep the game close but Arkansas held them at arms length the entire rest of the way making all six of their free throws in the final two minutes. The Longhorns did get a chance late after hitting a three to make it 77-74 and forcing a turnover with 15 seconds remaining. Mike Anderson opted not to foul while up 3 and the team defended the 3-point line well forcing a contested fadeaway at the buzzer that fell well short.

The second half offense was a complete turn around from the first half, the ball started moving around and finding the open man. After just three first half assists the team finished with 10, but there were several times good passing led to free throw attempts.

Barford finished with 11 points and three assists. Arlando Cook, Manny Watkins, and Anton Beard all finished with 6.

Texas is only 5-5 on the year now, but this is a very important win for the Hogs. There are not a ton of opportunities to pick up true resume wins on this schedule. The Hogs have gotten wins over good mid majors who could potentially end up winning their conference but that doesn’t move the needle much. Getting a neutral site win over a big name team like Texas and Shaka Smart is big. Really big.