February 1, 2013 12:02:16 PM
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Trevor Lacey, Levi Randolph, and the University of Alabama men's basketball team made sure this one didn't slip away at the end.
Lacey and Randolph hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final 17 seconds to help the Crimson Tide hold on for a 59-56 victory against the University of Arkansas on Thursday night.
Lacey scored 14 points for the Tide (13-7, 5-2 Southeastern Conference), which held on for a fifth win in six games after losing 54-53 at Tennessee when he couldn't get off a final shot.
"It's great knowing that we can execute at the end," Lacey said, "knowing that we did finish them off when we have a lead and step up and make plays at the end."
BJ Young hit a layup with 5 seconds left and then missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Arkansas (12-8, 3-4) after Randolph made two free throws.
Young, who led Arkansas with 14 points, got a shot off with a behind-the-back dribble but overshot the rim. He scored 12 in the second half.
"I told our guys, I love the effort," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "They didn't lose it, we just ran out of time. I thought our defense was a lot better in the second half, disrupting them on offense. The game went down to the last second.
"I told the guys we've got to make plays going down the stretch and we didn't."
Lacey had six rebounds but also committed seven of Alabama's season-high 21 turnovers. Trevor Releford added 12 points and Nick Jacobs had 10 for Alabama.
Randolph also hit a tying 3-pointer with less than four minutes to play.
"I thought our guys regained our composure," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "Levi's 3 was huge. It gave our guys energy again and I think it brought the energy back into the building. I thought from that point forward our guys just possession by possession grinded it out."
Marshawn Powell had 11 points for the Razorbacks before fouling out.
Young missed all four of his 3-point attempts and the Razorbacks were just 3 of 19. They are now 0-5 away from home and have totaled 110 points in two straight losses.
The Tide shot just 7 of 23 (30 percent) in the second half but also made 14 of 19 free throws (74 percent).
"The tire went flat and we just could never get it back to where it was," Grant said. "We just didn't do a very good job of handling the situation. We had a lead there and we just couldn't get back in rhythm from an offensive standpoint. We found a way to win.
"That's the thing that I look at. When we weren't at our best, we found a way to come out with the win."
Arkansas forced a turnover with the full-court press and Rickey Scott collected the loose ball and a layup with 51 seconds left to cut Alabama's lead to 56-54. The Tide then worked most of the shot clock down before Andrew Steele missed a 3-pointer.
Lacey grabbed the offensive rebound, drew Powell's fifth foul and hit the second of two free throws with 17 seconds remaining for a 57-54 lead.
"I wasn't even supposed to be there," said Lacey, adding that his assignment was to get back to defend in transition. "I just saw that nobody was there with me and I thought he was going to airball actually but it hit the rim and it landed right there."
Anderson said if his team got that rebound "we put the onus on Alabama. We just couldn't make those plays."
Young then drove to the basket when he didn't get a solid look at a potential tying 3-pointer, and the Razorbacks called a timeout before quickly fouling Randolph. He made both with 4.2 seconds remaining.
The Razorbacks, who had trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, went on a 17-5 run to take the lead following Releford's technical foul after a teammate's free throw early in the second half.
"Trevor made contact with one of their players," Grant said. "You can't do that, especially in a game of this magnitude."
Young hit two free throws for a 42-39 lead midway through the second half. Lacey answered with two free throws, Releford had a reverse layup and Tide freshman Devonta Pollard scored inside to get Alabama back on track.
The Tide, which came in last in the SEC in rebounding, controlled the boards 38-29.
Rodney Cooper, who was averaging 11 points a game, only played 16 minutes and didn't score.
Grant said the limited action was just "a coach's decision."
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