Considering the start, Arkansas’ game against Texas A&M on Saturday night shouldn’t have really been close.
But Jaylin Williams had to heat a jumper with 13 seconds left in overtime just before the shot clock ran out for a three-point lead and the Razorbacks held on for a 76-73 win over Texas A&M on Saturday night at Bud Walton Arena.
That wasn’t the end to the drama, though.
Davonte Davis fouled an Aggie with five seconds left, leading to a pair of free throws but Stanley Umude got loose down the right side for a fastbreak dunk with 1.2 seconds left for the final margin.
The Hogs now have four straight wins in SEC play and are 14-5 overall (4-3 SEC). Texas A&M fell to 15-4 (4-2).
Williams and Umude were the big stars in this one because they hit the key plays when it counted.
Williams finished with his fourth double-double in five games and added three assists, three blocked shots and a career-high six steals.
JD Notae had 17 points with six rebounds, four assists and three steals (padding his SEC-leading average) before fouling out with 1:04 left in regulation.
Umude scored 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals while Au’Diese Toney had 12 points and six boards.
“You know what my favorite number is?” Umude asked Williams before the postgame press conference started. “Seven rebounds.”
It was something Arkansas coach Eric Musselman has worked with the senior transfer on improving.
“As we’ve told you guys and we tell him, you’ve got to rebound the ball in the SEC,” Musselman said later. “He’s now doing that.”
Umude’s dunk at the end sealed the win, but it was Williams’ three-pointer that gave the Hogs the lead at the end of overtime after they had struggled at times trying to hold on to a big early lead.
“I don’t know what’s left to say about him,” Musselman said about Williams.
He is piling up big stats, but Williams keeps insisting he doesn’t look at that.
“I just do whatever it takes to win,” Williams said. “My teammates know that’s how I play. Regardless of what my stats are, they know I’m going to do whatever it takes for us to win. I guess I just had a good night.
“Man, I’m tired. I feel old. I always tell my teammates I’m the oldest 19-year-old in the world.”
Saturday night, the Hogs needed that maturity … and the stats.
The Razorbacks (the NCAA leader in both free throws made and attempts) continued to have success at the line, going 21-of-25.
Arkansas also forced 19 turnovers.
But the difference came down to shooting in the overtime period. Arkansas made four-of-five shots from the field and four-of-seven from the line while A&M was just three-of-seven from the field and was two-of-two at the line.
Arkansas raced out to a 20-4 lead to start the game, but they couldn’t hold it. The Aggies trimmed the lead to four (33-29) at halftime.
Texas A&M got within one three times in the second half, but Arkansas continued to hold the lead.
The Hogs pushed the lead to 10 (51-41) with 11:19 to go. The Aggies went on a 15-5 run to tie the game, 56-56.
The Razorbacks did not surrender the lead and went on a 6-0 run to lead 62-56 with 1:09 remaining. The Hogs also led by six with 58 ticks left before the Aggies made three free throws at 0:52 and Hassan Diarra drilled a game-tying 3-pointer with nine seconds left to force overtime.
The Aggies took their first lead, 66-64, on a Quenton Jackson layup 44 seconds into the overtime period.
Later Hasson made a layup to put the Aggies up 68-66. From that point, Arkansas got an old-fashion three-point play from Davonte Davis with 2:31 left to put the Hogs up one, a lead it would not relinquish.
Up one after an A&M three-pointer, Arkansas went up three on Williams’ jumper with 13 seconds left.
Wade Taylor got the Aggies back to within one after making two free throws with five seconds left. Davis took the inbounds pass, out-ran the Aggie defensive and found an open Umude, who threw down his dunk to seal the 3-point win.
Aggie freshman Taylor led all scorers with 25 (8-of-14 FG, five-of-eight three-pointers).
Arkansas returns to the road to face Ole Miss on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be on the SEC Network.
After Ole Miss, Arkansas plays three of its next four at home, including a Jan. 29 meeting with West Virginia as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.
FIRST HALF: Arkansas 33, Texas A&M: 29
• Arkansas raced out to a 20-4 lead after an alley-oop dunk by Au’Diese Toney from Davonte Davis.
• Texas A&M got back in the game with an 11-3 run with eight minutes to go. The Aggies ended the first half with an 8-1 run.
• Stanley Umude led Arkansas with seven points while JD Notae and Toney each added six.
• JD Notae had three steals.
• Texas A&M was led by Wade Taylor, who scored 13 off the bench. He was 5-of-5 from the field (3-of-3 from 3-point).
• Arkansas was 6-of-12 from 3-point range while the Aggies were just 3-of-11.
• Arkansas’ starting lineup was JD Notae – Au’Diese Toney – Stanley Umude – Trey Wade –Jaylin Williams for the third straight game. It is just the second starting lineup combination that has been used more than once this season.
• Arkansas won the opening tip.
• Au’Diese Toney scored the game’s first points, a jumper in the lane at 19:45.
• Davonte Davis was the first Razorback sub.
• Texas A&M is Arkansas’ most common opponent all-time. The Razorbacks are now 105-58 against the Aggies, including a 60-15 mark in games played in Fayetteville. Arkansas is 10-7 versus the Aggies since A&M joined the SEC for the 2012-13 season and are 8-1 against A&M at home over the span.
• With 105 wins, Arkansas has at least 100 wins versus three schools – Texas A&M (105), TCU (105) and Rice (103).
• Arkansas wore new uniforms with “ARKANSAS” on the home white jersey for the first time (as opposed to the traditional “RAZORBACKS”.
• This was Arkansas’ first overtime game of the season. Arkansas is 3-3 in overtime under Musselman and he is 9-6 all-time as a collegiate head coach in overtime games.
• Arkansas is now 67-59 all-time in overtime games. The last overtime game for Arkansas was an 86-81 victory at Missouri last season (Feb. 13, 2021).
• When losing to an opponent earlier in the year and facing that same opponent later, Arkansas is 7-1 when attempted to avenge a loss under Coach Musselman.
• Williams is the first major conference Division I player to have at least 14 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, three blocked shots and three assists since Florida State’s Chris Singleton reached those marks versus UNC Greensboro in November 2010. (Sports Reference).
• Williams also took two charges, running his team total to 23.
• Arkansas had three players with at least three steals – Williams (6), Stanley Umude (3) and JD Notae (3). The last time at least three Hogs had at least three steals was 2014 versus Ole Miss (Coty Clark, Rashad Madden and Bobby Portis each had three). The last time it happened in any game was in last year’s season opener versus Mississippi Valley State when Moses Moody, Justin Smith and Desi Sills each had three.
• Arkansas has held its opponent below 40 percent shooting during its current 4-game win streak. Arkansas held Texas A&M to 37.1%. The Aggies entered the game shooting 46.4% from the field for the season.
• Texas A&M committed 19 turnovers compared to 16 by Arkansas. It was the second-most turnovers committed by A&M this season and the Aggies entered the game 6th in the NCAA in turnover margin (+5.6)
• Arkansas has won the battle of the boards in both games versus A&M this season. The Hogs are 12-1 this year when winning the rebound battle with the lone blemish coming at Texas A&M. The Razorbacks are 33-4 in the Musselman era when winning the rebound battle.
• Arkansas held Aggie Henry Coleman to just 9 points (3-of-10 shooting) and five rebounds in 18:37 played. Coleman was averaging 18.0 and 6.4 in the first five SEC games this season.
• With three assists, Stanley Umude now has 200 for his career. He has scored 1,717 career points with 632 career rebounds, and 107 career blocked shots.
• After having its 3-point streak snapped at 1,092 games last Tuesday, Arkansas made seven triples versus A&M, including 4 of its first 5.
• Au’Diese Toney is just 30 points shy of 1,000 for his career.