Arkansas lost 12 points five minutes into the second half of Saturday and was about to be on the wrong side of a historic surprise. But similar to the two previous men’s NCAA tournament games, the Razorbacks stormed back to claim a 72-70 win and advance to the Elite Eight.
Devonte Davis made a game-winning basket four seconds ahead to secure victory in the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis as he sent off the tournament’s Cinderella who tried to become the first number 15 to rise to the elite eight.
Instead, Arkansas hit its ticket, making the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995. Oral Roberts star Max Abmas (25 points), the country’s top scorer, missed a potential game-winning three-pointer after time ran out.
Jalen Tate (22 points) was the hero for Arkansas on the track. He helped the team take the lead for the first time in the second half and scored six key points in the final minutes. The Razorbacks drank off offensive rebounds for second chance points as they overtook Oral Roberts 46-35. Davis added 14 points while Moses Moody added 14.
Number 3 in the SEC, Arkansas (25-6) was down by seven at halftime but stayed cool after returning from a huge deficit in the first half against Colgate and barely Texas Tech in the first round was able to escape second round.
Oral Roberts was much closer in that game than when the two teams met on December 20 when the Razorbacks won at 11. The Golden Eagles (18-11) tried to dismiss the narrative that they only had a two-man team behind them, Abmas and Kevin Obanor (58 points in their first two games). It happened for a while. Role-playing Carlos Jurgens had 13 points and Francis Lacis had 11 points and six rebounds. But both players had four fouls and Oral Roberts got no points from his bench.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.