Connor Vanover scored 14 and Chris Lykes made a perfect foul line run down the stretch. After losing most of an 18 point lead, 13 Arkansas won to beat Kansas State 72-64 at the Hall of Fame Classic Monday night.
Lykes scored 14 points by scoring 10 of 10 fouls from the foul line. Au'Diese Toney scored 13 points, and JD Notae had 11, although he was only 4 of 17 from field -- as the Razorbacks (4-1) advanced to Cincinnati to compete for the title on Tuesday night.
The Bearcats overcome a 15-point deficit in the first half to defeat No. 14 Illinois, 71-51, in their semifinal match.
The Wildcats (2-1), which had a deficit of 42-24 at the break, almost pulled off an even bigger comeback.
Selton Miguel was the most productive with 14 points, nine rebounds and Nijel Pack adding 14 points. Markquis Nowell added 10 points before fouling out with a couple of late 3-pointers.
The Razorbacks held a 12-4 lead at the first media break, 19-8 at halftime and 28-11 at the end of the third. Meanwhile, the Wildcats struggled to score on both ends. Vanover, 7 feet 3, was their only option. He went 8 for 8 from free-throw in the first half. Toney and Notae were able to provide ample scoring punch from outside.
The lead was now 18 and it seemed that coach Eric Musselman would enjoy a pleasant evening.
In the second half, he was made to sweat by the Wildcats.
The Razorbacks are not the only ones who have been under pressure.
They started slowly against Mercer, and were trailing by one at 9:41 before a 18-3 run to take control. They tied George Washington in the first half, but a 29-5 run won that game. They trailed Northern Iowa 75 to 72 with 4:25 left before taking a 21-5 charge.
With 4:27 remaining, the Wildcats were within 60-52 of Nowell's 3, but Notae responded with a driving basket. Lykes responded with two more foul shots after Pack attempted a couple of foul shots to make it 62-60. Lykes added two more free throws after Pack made a 3 to make it 666-60 with 54 seconds remaining.
Arkansas only made 9 of 25 second-half shots and was 0 for 7. This poor shooting is what allowed the Wildcats to win the game. Notae was particularly poor with his shot, committing five turnovers as well as four fouls.
Kansas State showed in the last 20 minutes that it is capable of playing with a high-ranked team. The Wildcats didn't have much chance of winning the game because they were slow to get out of the break. They were 3 out of 22 from the arc, with Ismael Masoud going 0-8 from the field and 5 from 3.
Cincinnati will challenge the Razorbacks for the title. Kansas State plays No. 14 Illinois is in third place.Date Of Update: 23 November 2021, 07:14