FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (ArkansasRazorbacks.com) – Sophomore BJ Young hit a game-winning shot with six seconds left to lead the University of Arkansas basketball team over the Georgia Bulldogs, 62-60 on Thursday night at Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas (17-9, 8-5 SEC) was led by freshman Anthlon Bell, who poured in a career high 17 points behind five three-pointers. Also contributing to Razorback offense was junior Marshawn Powell, who tallied 11 points. Georgia (12-14, 6-7 SEC) was led by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 15 points.
"We didn't play our best," head coach Mike Anderson said. "But we found a way to win. Our defense was outstanding. We need to play better but I am happy with the win."
The Razorbacks began the game on an 18-to-6 run behind nine points from Anthlon Bell. The freshman from Bartlett, Tenn. started the game 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and got the Hogs out to an early lead. Arkansas forced six turnovers in the first ten minutes of play. Anderson was excited with his freshman's play against Georgia.
"Anthlon came in and gave us a huge lift," Anderson said. "Georgia played a zone and Bell came in and knocked down some big shots for us."
Georgia fought the run and created three turnovers of its own on Arkansas' next three possessions. The empty possessions led to a six minute draught without a made field goal for the Razorbacks. Michael Qualls ended the Arkansas problems on offense when he drained a three-pointer at the 5:50 mark of the first half. The three-pointer by Qualls started a 7-2 run for the Razorbacks. The Arkansas defense held the Bulldogs to four made field goals in the first half behind three blocks from Hunter Mickelson. Arkansas tallied seven blocks total in the first half. Georgia shot 18.2 percent in the opening half and the Razorbacks took a 28-18 lead into the locker room.
The second half start did not bode well for the Hogs as Georgia began on an 8-3 run, cutting the lead to five and hitting three of its first five shots. After the teams exchanged baskets, Bell continued his three-point parade, hitting two in 33 seconds. The two shots from beyond the arc led to eight straight points by the freshman, pushing his total to 17. Arkansas led, 41-30, with 12:50 left in the game.
The Bulldogs again rallied, producing an 11-0 run to tie the game. Five different Georgia players scored during the stretch. Young put the Razorbacks back on the board with a fast-break layup at the 8:56 mark, giving the lead back to the Razorbacks. After the teams exchanged baskets, Georgia was again able to tie the game on a Donte' Williams layup.
Fayetteville's own Kikko Haydar broke the tie with a deep three seconds later. Haydar then hit a free throw and Coty Clarke scored on a fast-break layup to give the Hogs a three point lead, 51-48, that sent the Bud Walton crowd into a frenzy.
Georgia fought back and went on an 8-to-2 run capped by a three pointer from Caldwell-Pope. This time it was Powell answering for the Hogs as he hit a three-pointer from the top of the arc with six seconds left on the shot clock. This gave Powell nine points and tied the game at 56 apiece with 1:58 left in the game.
The teams exchanged free throws and Powell again scored a huge basket. This time he worked against a double team on the block and scored. The two man contest continued as Caldwell-Pope scored seconds later to knot the game at a 60-60 tie with 30 second left in the game.
The final possession belonged to the Razorbacks and they isolated Young at the top of the key. After Coty Clarke set a pick, Young hit a right handed scoop shot in between two defenders to give Arkansas the win, 62-60.
The Razorbacks play at Florida on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m., with the game televised on ESPNU