Hogs Defeat Aggies

Razorback sophomore forward Jaylin Williams (#10) from Ft. Smith, AR hits a fadeaway jumper for two against Texas A&M Saturday night at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, AR.

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – They say you don’t get ahead getting even.

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They are wrong.

For in avenging the Jan. 8 86-81 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies, the Arkansas Razorbacks with Saturday night’s 76-73 overtime victory at Walton Arena not only get even with Coach Buzz Williams’ surprising Aggies but forged ahead 4-3 in the SEC and further ahead 14-5 overall going into Wednesday night’s SEC game at Ole Miss.

“It was an awesome win, obviously,”Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman said. “Texas A&M is a really, really good basketball team. They put themselves in a great opportunity to potentially walk out of here with a W after only leading 1:24 in the game (overtime extended to 45 minutes). I thought Taylor (A&M freshman sixth-man Wade Taylor scoring a game high/career high 25 points) had an incredible game. I give our guys a lot of credit. I thought we had guys make a lot of big plays.”

None bigger than with Arkansas leading scorer JD Notae (17 points) fouled out what proved to be Jaylin Williams’ game-winner. The 6-10 center, all-round starring with a 14 points/11 rebounds double-double plus six steals, three shot-blocks and three assists, connected on a shot-clock expiring mid-range jumper assisted by reserve guard Chris Lykes for a 74-71 lead with 13 seconds left in overtime.

“Man, I just knew he was going to pass it to me and I work on that shot every day,” Jaylin Williams said postgame. “I just took it and it went in.”

No Notae, but the beat went on.

“Obviously when JD fouls out it changes the dynamics of how we play and what offensive sets we run,” Musselman said. “Obviously the mid-range shot that Jaylin hit at the end of the shot clock and the press break read to throw over the top to finish the game.”

Arkansas guard Devo Davis, fouling Taylor for A&M’s final two points with 5.5 seconds left, assured the then 74-73 lead would hold by escaping the Aggies’ pressing would-be foulers for an over the top pass to Stanley Umude (15 points, seven rebounds and three steals). Umude dunked with 1.2 seconds left.

“I thought Devo made a great read,” Musselman said. ”And I thought Stan made a good decision to get the two points (rather than try and dribble it out and be fouled.)”

The dunk did give A&M’ reserve Hassan Diarra, whose first bucket of the game, a three with nine seconds left in regulation, achieved the 64-64 score producing overtime, an overtime shot at a desperation three coming surprisingly close but missing.

The Aggies, losing a heartbreaker they mostly led last Wednesday at home to nationally No. 12 Kentucky, lose their second consecutive SEC game falling to 4-2 in the SEC/15-4 overall going into Wednesday’s SEC game at LSU.

Last Tuesday unable to make a three for the first time in 1,092 games even while beating South Carolina, 75-59 at Walton Arena, Arkansas opened Saturday with a surprising spree of threes zooming to a 20-4 lead.

What appeared might be a runaway the Aggies gamely cut to just 33-29 at intermission.

The Razorbacks jumped up 10 early in the second half.

Again the Aggies battled back.

Trailing 62-56 closed to 62-58 when A&M’s Marcus Williams hit two free throws with Notae, 17 points, fouled out at 1:04 of regulation, the Aggies capitalized on Arkansas’ Umude fouled Quenton Jackson, 13 points, attempting a three with 52 seconds left. Jackson hit all three, cutting it to 64-61 more than answering Lykes’ two Arkansas free throws at :58.

Diarra, scored his first points, on the huge game-tying, overtime producing 64-64 three at :09.

A&M’s Marcus Williams scored the overtime’s first basket for a 66-64 lead at 3:42.

Arkansas forward Au’Diese Toney, 12 points, six rebounds, tied it 66-66 with free throws before Diarra gave A&M its last lead, 68-66 with 3:00.

Davis’ and-one 3-point play and Jaylin Williams’ last big shot sufficed with the Davis to Umude break the press dunk the hold your breath capper once Diarra’s try for a trey didn’t fall.

Since the 86-81 loss on Jan. 8 was the third in Arkansas’ 0-3 SEC start, the Razorbacks have won four SEC games consecutively holding Missouri, LSU, and South Carolina to 43, 58 and 59 points and A&M to just 64 for regulation.

“Our defense continues to get better,” Musselman said. “And then tonight we made some threes which opened up the game in the first half.”

And won the overtime without Notae, the SEC’s leading scorer.

“JD fouled out, and we knew that it was next man up,” Jaylin Williams said. “I think it says that we’re a strong, confident team and really that we believe in each other.”

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