TUSCALOOSA — Another home game, another close, low-scoring game.
Alabama continues to keep any hope of staying in the Southeastern Conference race by winning tight games inside Coleman Coliseum. This time, the Crimson Tide beat Arkansas 59-56 on Thursday night.
Alabama has won its last four home games by a combined 11 points.
“It’s a good feeling to know when adversity hits, we can play through it,” said Alabama guard Levi Randolph, who hit a big 3-pointer and foul shots late in the game.
The win put the Crimson Tide (13-7, 5-2 SEC) into a tie with Kentucky for third place in the league standings. The game drew an announced attendance of 11,132, but unlike when Alabama beat Kentucky at home nine days earlier, the fans didn’t show much life until the final minute, standing and cheering as the Tide closed out the win.
Alabama won it by nailing its foul shots late, including 9 of 10 in the final 3:11. That helped make up for another night in which the Crimson Tide struggled to score, including one eight-minute stretch in the second half when Alabama made one field goal and one foul shot. The Tide went from leading by eight to trailing by two in that stretch.
“We were out of sorts after the four-minute mark and never found our rhythm,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “It was one of those were we had to grind it out.”
Arkansas struggled to score, too, and wound up 22 points below its season average.
“The game at times was at their pace, and at times our pace,” said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson, whose team is now 12-8, including 3-5 in the SEC. “But we didn’t shoot the ball well. They didn’t shoot the ball well. I guess it’s attributable to both teams’ defense.”
Alabama trailed 50-47 when Randolph nailed an open 3-pointer with 3:53 to play. To Grant, that started a stretch in which the Tide retook control of the game.
“Levi’s 3-pointer added some energy to our team,” he said. “It helped the energy in the building.”
After Arkansas’ Coty Clarke made two free throws, Tide guard Trevor Lacey hit two free throws to tie it 52-52 with 3:11 left. Then he stole a pass and got the ball to teammate Trevor Releford, who drew a foul and hit two more foul shots for a 54-52 lead.
Lacey finished with 14 points to lead Alabama, while Releford added 12.
The Crimson Tide retained the lead the rest of the way. Nick Jacobs, who had 10 points, made two foul shots. Lacey made one, putting Alabama ahead 57-54. Arkansas’ B.J. Young, who finished with 14 points, dunked with 4.7 seconds left to slice it to 57-56, but Randolph made two free throws with 4.2 seconds to play.
The Razorbacks’ Young launched a 30-footer just before the buzzer sounded, but it didn’t hit the rim.
Alabama started Trevor Releford, Moussa Gueye, Trevor Lacey, Rodney Cooper and Levi Randolph for the fifth straight game. ... The Crimson Tide hasn’t scored more than 59 points in its last four games but is 3-1 in that stretch. ... Arkansas is 0-5 when playing another team on its own floor. ...
The Razorbacks started Coty Clarke, a former player at Birmingham’s Lawson State, for the first time this season. ... This was the sixth Alabama game this season to tip off at 8 p.m., with at least two more ahead -- Feb. 12 at Georgia and March 5 at Ole Miss. ...
Releford picked up a technical foul in the second half for nudging a guy after an Alabama foul shot, marking the Tide’s third of the year. The first two came on the Tide bench. ... Alabama made 21 turnovers.
Contact Mark Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or 256-340-2461.