Auburn 77, Arkansas 64
Saturday, March 5th 2005, 4:52 pm
News On 6
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) _ Quinnel Brown couldn't miss, Arkansas couldn't hit and Auburn couldn't have asked for a much better ending to a dismal regular season.
Brown was 8-for-8 shooting for 21 points and the Tigers scored 21 consecutive points beginning late in the first half for a 77-64 victory over Arkansas on Saturday.
The Tigers (13-16, 4-12 Southeastern Conference) turned a four-point deficit into a 17-point lead with the big surge to snap a five-game losing streak. In a game where neither team had much at stake, they held the Razorbacks nearly 11 minutes without scoring and forced 24 turnovers.
``I get more questions about quitting,'' Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. ``These kids are not going to quit. You can see that. These seniors are not going to let that happen.''
Arkansas (18-11, 6-10) finished the regular season by losing four of its last five games, seeing its hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament crumble during the late swoon.
Both teams already had their SEC tournament openers set. Sixth-seeded Auburn plays Vanderbilt Thursday while No. 4 Arkansas plays Tennessee in Atlanta.
``They outplayed us, they outhustled us, they outworked us,'' Razorbacks coach Stan Heath said. ``I accept responsibility for the way my team wasn't ready to play at the level we should have.''
Toney Douglas had 16 points and made 4-of-6 3-pointers for Auburn, which lost to Arkansas 95-59 in January.
Nathan Watson added 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while Brown also had eight rebounds and made 5-of-6 free throws. Brown picked up his fourth foul with 7:10 to play, but did just about everything else right in the final home game for himself, Watson, Ian Young and reserve Troy Gaines .
``It was a nice way to go out,'' said Brown, who matched his career scoring high for an SEC game.
Darian Townes led Arkansas with 18 points, including 14 in the second half, and 10 rebounds. Ronnie Brewer added 16 points but the Razorbacks made just 8 of 26 3-pointers.
``We couldn't penetrate with the ball,'' Brewer said. ``We would pass the ball around one or two times and take a shot.''
The Tigers scored the final nine points of the first half for a 32-27 lead and kept it up coming out of the locker room. The Razorbacks opened the second half 0-for-7 shooting with four turnovers in the first 6-plus minutes, falling behind 44-27 on Toney Douglas' 3-pointer.
``You can't go more than 10 minutes without scoring and expect to win against anybody,'' Heath said.
Arkansas trimmed the lead to eight points twice, but the Tigers responded the second time with an 8-0 run capped by Douglas' 3-pointer with 4:45 left. The Razorbacks couldn't get within double digits again.
The undersized Tigers were outrebounded just 35-34 and went to the free throw line 33 times to the Razorbacks' 10. It was practically a mirror image of the previous meeting, the most lopsided in series history.
Townes pretty much summed it up for Arkansas.
``This loss was harsh,'' he said.