FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The Missouri kid would not let Arkansas lose.
BJ Young scored Arkansas' final seven points in the last :29 seconds to lead the Razorbacks (16-9, 7-5) to a 73-71 comeback victory over the Missouri Tigers (18-7, 7-5). Players for both schools shook their heads after the wild ending.
"For a minute it looked bleak," said Young. "We kept fighting. It was one of the craziest games I've played."
Missouri led 70-66 with :34 seconds left, following two free throws by senior Keion Bell. Then, Young took over the game. The sophomore from St. Louis scored seven straight points, including two three-point plays on back-to-back possessions for the Razorbacks. He added a free throw for the final difference. Young finished the game with 18 points.
"it was frustrating the game didn't turn out how we wanted it too," said Bell about the crazy final 29 seconds. "That's something you have to be prepared for, basketball is a game of ups and down."
Missouri had two opportunities to tie or take the lead in the final seconds. Trailing by two with ten seconds to go, junior Missouri guard Phil Pressey lost the ball. Arkansas' Coty Clarke recovered it, then lost control of the ball out-of-bounds under the Razorbacks' goal. The officials called a jump ball, not sure who last touched it. Jabari Brown's three-point try at the buzzer missed long.
Missouri head coach Frank Haith made it clear after the game he did not want to talk about the officiating in the final seconds.
"Don't anyone ask me about the officiating," said Haith in an opening statement after the game. "I'm not getting in trouble today."
Missouri played aggressive from the tip. The Tigers jumped out to an early 12-3 lead by setting up its inside game with Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi. Arkansas' game-plan early was focused on Pressey. That left Keion Bell open. The senior transfer scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the first-half. However, an Arkansas run late in the half cut the lead to 33-29 at halftime.
The Hogs then exploded in the first six minutes of the second-half, outscoring Missouri 18-9 over the stretch. Junior Marshawn Powell scored ten of his 24 points during the run. Arkansas appeared to be in control after a Powell bucket, leading 57-49. Missouri began chipping away at the lead. At the four-minute mark, Mizzou junior Earnest Ross hit from three-point range to tie the game at 63. The two new Southeastern Conference rivals went back-and-forth until the final 29 seconds of the game.
"Missouri made a run at us," said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson. "It looked like there was no way we were going to find a way to win. We didn't play particularly great. We are very fortunate to come out with a win."
Haith praised his team's competitiveness.
"It was a high-level game," said Haith. "I'm proud of our guys and how hard they fought."
The game had special meaning for Arkansas' Mike Anderson. He left Missouri two seasons ago. Anderson talked highly of his two former players Pressey and Bowers.
"(It was) great to see them," said Anderson. "Like a father, when you see them you kind of gloat. They are winners, and they are going to be winners in life."
The two schools meet again Tuesday March 5 in Columbia.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun