In a battle with a historical bitter rival that required every bit of 40 minutes to determine the outcome, the Texas Longhorns were granted an opportunity to force overtime on the final possession of the game, but fell short in a 77-74 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Texas entered the intermission leading 35-30 for its first halftime lead since the ‘Horns 85-52 victory over Eastern Washington, but Arkansas jumped out to a 50-43 advantage following a 20-8 run to open the second half, forcing Texas to play from behind the remainder of the game. Minutes later, Texas had once again tied the action up at 61-61, but a subsequent 10-1 run by the Razorbacks again put the ‘Horns into desperation mode down the stretch.
Luckily for Texas, the ‘Horns responded in a big way with less than three minutes to play, as Tevin Mack hit the front end of a pair of free throws before canning a three on a Texas offensive rebound for a four-point swing. A pair of Arkansas free throws was answered by a tough Mack contested jumper with 1:37 to play before Texas forced a quick stop and Andrew Jones was fouled on the fastbreak. Jones converted both attempts from the charity stripe to cut the Arkansas lead to 73-70 before immediately forcing a Jaylen Barford travel after the inbounds pass.
Following a quick series of Longhorn fouls, which added to the Razorbacks lead, Arkansas led 75-71 with 38.6 to play before Kerwin Roach Jr. missed a contested layup.
It looked to be all but over for the ‘Horns, now down 77-71 before a Mack long-range three connected with just 16 seconds to play and Jones deflected the subsequent inbounds pass off of Barton’s hands to give the ‘Horns and chance to force overtime with 14.9 seconds to play.
And then this happened:
Poor execution by Texas with a chance to force OT on the final possession of the game. Tevin Mack was on fire, but couldn't get a look pic.twitter.com/VTTSW9wvL0— Cody Daniel (@CodyDanielSBN) December 17, 2016
In a game where Texas displayed great energy and scrapped and clawed throughout, the difference proved to be scoring droughts and converting on only 19-32 attempts from the free throw line, where Arkansas cashed in on 29-31 attempts. Daryl Macon, Arkansas’ second-leading scorer, set a new career-high with 23 points. Dusty Hannahs and Barford added 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Mack led the way for Texas with 20 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, while Jones added 17 points of his own. Though it came in a losing effort, Jarrett Allen shined with 11 points and 10 rebounds against the SEC’s preseason Player of the Year, Moses Kingsley.
The Longhorns are now 5-5 on the season following the 3-0 start. Next up, the ‘Horns will host UAB on Wednesday.