Barford, Hannahs lead Arkansas past Auburn 79-68
AUBURN, Ala. — Jaylen Barford scored 20 points and Dusty Hannahs added 18 and Arkansas held off Auburn 79-68 on Saturday to win its fifth consecutive game.
Daryl Macon added 13 for the Razorbacks (22-7, 11-5 Southeastern Conference), who dominated Auburn with 36 points in the paint.
Bryce Brown hit a 3-pointer to get the Tigers, who trailed by as much as 13 in the second half, within 67-61 with 5:45 remaining but the Razorbacks got a tipin from Trey Thompson and then made 10 of 10 free throws to close the game on a 12-7 run.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “We were fortunate enough to come out on the right side of it.”
Preseason SEC Player of the Year Moses Kingsley got in early foul trouble and finished with just eight points, but the Razorbacks were able to overcome his quiet game as Auburn didn’t take advantage of his absence inside. Anfernee McLemore had eight points and eight rebounds off the bench, but starting center Austin Wiley scored just three points from the foul line and missed all three of his attempts from the field.
Arkansas shot 50 percent from the field, 52 percent in the second half, while Auburn shot just 37 percent on its home floor and was just 12 of 23 from the foul line. The Razorbacks were 16 of 20 from the line, 11 of 12 in the second half.
Jared Harper had 17 points and Mustapha Heron 16 for Auburn (17-12, 6-10).
“Our kids really wanted this one, and I thought we were ready,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “We just didn’t execute.”
Arkansas: The Razorbacks won their fifth consecutive game, holding steady in the top four of the SEC standings.
Auburn: Coming off a Tuesday win at LSU, Auburn lost for the fourth time in five games, further damaging of its hopes of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2009.
Arkansas trailed by one with 4:39 remaining in the first half after a Ronnie Johnson jumper, but responded with a 13-3 run going into the break. The Razorbacks led by nine at halftime and never by less than six points the rest of the way.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Auburn made 10 of 24 3-pointers (41.7 percent) but just 13 of 38 shots from inside the arc (34.2 percent), missing a number of layups.
HE SAID IT
“I don’t think our problem that much was on the defensive end. As a team, we don’t think it was. I think we covered their stuff pretty well, but offensively, we didn’t have the right patience and the right spacing the whole game.” — Auburn guard Mustapha Heron
Arkansas faces a daunting trip Wednesday to take on Florida, which sits second in the SEC standings. The Gators beat the Razorbacks 81-72 on Dec. 29.
Auburn travels on Wednesday to take on Georgia, which came back from 12 points down to beat the Tigers 96-84 on Dec. 29 but will be without injured forward Yante Maten, who scored 31 in the first meeting.