The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Bud Walton Arena - Fayetteville, AR

Portis' putback lifts Arkansas over Alabama

1758 days ago
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Bobby Portis found an answer when Arkansas needed it most.

Portis' putback as time expired helped Arkansas snap a two-game losing streak and defeat Alabama 93-91 in overtime on Thursday night.

With the game tied at 91-91 following a 3-pointer by the Crimson Tide's Shannon Hale, Portis grabbed the errant shot of Ky Madden and laid it in for the dramatic victory.

Arkansas (14-4, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) had fallen out of the top 25 following back-to-back losses last week. The Razorbacks, however, improved to 62-7 at home under fourth-year coach Mike Anderson -- led by a career-high 30 points from Michael Qualls.

Portis finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds, none bigger than his end-of-game winner.

Justin Coleman led Alabama (12-6, 2-3), which has now lost three straight, with 22 points -- all after halftime. Ricky Tarrant added 21 points and Rodney Cooper had 15 for the Crimson Tide.

Ahead 78-75, Arkansas appeared to have the game in hand in the closing seconds of regulation when Alabama's Hale passed up a 3-point attempt and passed to Michael Kessens under the basket.

Kessens, however, made his shot and was fouled with 2.3 seconds remaining -- calmly sinking his free throw for the three-point play and tying the game at 78-78.

Once in overtime, the teams were tied at 88-88 before Arkansas' Jacorey Williams hit a free throw with 24 seconds remaining to go up one.

Following an Alabama turnover, Qualls set a career high by hitting two free throws for his 29th and 30th points of the game with 18.2 seconds left to put the Razorbacks up 91-88. The junior's previous best was a 28-point against Northwestern State earlier this season.

Hale, however, connected on a 3-pointer on the other end to tie the game -- after which Madden drove the length of the court and put up the miss that Portis grabbed for Arkansas' much-needed win.

The Razorbacks haven't lost back-to-back home games since 2011 against Florida and Alabama, but they trailed 45-43 midway through the second half following a pair of free throws by Levi Randolph. The Crimson Tide's leading scorer finished with 12 points before fouling out, but he had plenty of help from Coleman and others.

It wasn't enough, however, to overtime Portis' dramatic ending.

TIP-INS

Alabama: Coleman was scoreless at halftime before scoring all 22 of his points after halftime. The freshman, whose previous high was 14 against Stillman, hit 5 of 7 3-pointers and was 7 of 8 on free throws.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks entered the game next-to-last in the SEC in field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot 44.5 percent from the field this season -- 51.2 percent in conference play. Alabama took advantage, finishing 28 of 57 (49.1 percent) from the field and 12 of 24 on 3-pointers.

UP NEXT

Alabama begins a two-game home stand when it hosts Auburn on Saturday night.

Arkansas is at Missouri on Saturday afternoon.