Skunking the Auburn Tigers the first 5:12 of the second half sufficed to spark Arkansas to a 73-64 SEC West victory it badly needed late Tuesday night at Walton Arena.

Skunking the Auburn Tigers the first 5:12 of the second half sufficed to spark Arkansas to a 73-64 SEC West victory it badly needed late Tuesday night at Walton Arena.
Coming off successive SEC road losses, the latter a 75-43 drubbing last Saturday at Florida, coach John Pelphrey’s Razorbacks improved to 13-6, 3-3 going into Saturday night’s SEC game at Vanderbilt.
Auburn fell to 7-13, 0-6.
Only leading the SEC winless Tigers 34-30 at half, the Razorbacks Tuesday night scored the first eight points of the second half and didn’t allow an Auburn second half field goal until 8:36.
Arkansas answered Auburn’s first second-half point by free throw with Michael Sanchez’s breakaway thunder dunk and Rotnei Clarke sinking three free throws upon being fouled attempting a trey. Clarke’s three freebies put Arkansas up, 47-31.  Clarke’s three after a Delvon Johnson dunk had the Hogs up 52-31 before Marcus Britt’s trey made it 55-31 and a run of 21-1.
Auburn missed its first 22 second-half shots before Tony Neysmith registered the Tigers’ first second-half field goal at 8:36.
Neysmith’s field goal ignited a 13-0 Auburn run that Julysses Nobles finally cracked with drive to the bucket and a 57-44 Arkansas lead at 5:07. Nobles had to make eight free throws in the final 2:05 with four in the final minute and 10 for 10 for the game to seal it.  Nobles tied teammate Clarke with 16 points to stave off Auburn’s frantic finish.
“They were coming back so I had to make them,” Nobles said of the free throws.  “Coach makes me hit 10 in a row every day before I can leave practice. Might as well make them in the game.”
It didn’t appear Nobles’ free throws would be so necessary until Arkansas’ 24-point lead dwindled to six.
“We got ahead and then we relaxed,” Nobles said. “You saw what happened when we relaxed.”
His coach certainly saw what happened.
“I thought for 30 minutes we played really good defense and rebounded the ball very well,” Pelphrey said. “The last eight or nine or whatever it was we didn’t do a very good job and our defense kind of collapsed, too, and gave up some layups we hadn’t given up. Fortunately we made some free throws that kept us a little bit of a cushion. All in all we are glad to get the win though wasn’t happy how we finished the game. I thought our student body tonight was amazing. I want to say thank you for those guys.”
The Razorbacks are 12-0 at Walton Arena.
Allen Payne’s trey cut it to 57-47 before Nobles struck again on foul-inducing drive for what should have been and ultimately was a game-sealing 3-point play and 60-47lead at 4:01.
Scoreless at Florida, Clarke scored 10 first-half points Tuesday and finished with 16 with Nobles. Forward Marshawn Powell scored 13 with a double-double 11 rebounds for Arkansas while senior center Delvon Johnson tallied 10 points with six rebounds and blocked five shots including Auburn’s first two of the game.  Earnest Ross’ 15 off the bench led Auburn while Payne scored 13.
Arkansas’ Rickey Scott achieved 5-points lead was the widest lead anybody had during the first half that Arkansas led, 34-30 at intermission.
Scott, the freshman guard just two games back from missing seven games with a foot stress fracture, fired in a 3-pointer at 1:19 for a 32-28 lead then stole an ensuing Auburn pass and found Johnson breaking to be fouled with 1:00 left.  Johnson sank 1 of 2 for the 33-28 lead before Scott’s joy turned to woe.  With 19 seconds left, Scott turned it over and lay injured on the takeaway while Auburn’s Kenny Gabriel dunked on the other end.
Scott needed assistance to be removed to the training room but did return in the second half.
Just one second after Scott went down, Auburn fouled Jeff Peterson. Peterson sank 1 of 2 for the final 34-30 halftime margin.
Arkansas outrebounded Auburn 21-11 for the first half but was outscored 18-8 off first-half turnovers while committing 11 first-half miscues to Auburn’s eight.