FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — When everybody quits complaining about this win, they’ll realize Arkansas’ overtime win will help.
Whatever that magic formula is they use in March will count this as a win over a ranked team without maybe their best player for the Razorbacks.
Don’t get too worried about a 74-70 win by the No. 9 Hogs over No. 17 San Diego State on Wednesday night in the last game of the Maui Jim Invitational over in Hawaii.
Both of these teams were worn out, but the Hogs had a bigger, more talented team and that paid off somehow getting to overtime, then hanging on.
No, the Razorbacks didn’t play their best. It was downright sloppy in the first half and most of the second half.
They got it to some extra time mainly on the experience and strength of senior Kamani Johnson and sophomore transfer Trevon Brazile.
Johnson, who hasn’t seen an awful lot of playing time lately, had 7 points and 7 rebounds. They came at the point of a game it looked like the Hogs didn’t simply have the energy to win in the second half.
Brazile, though, had maybe his best game. He led the Hogs with 20 points and grabbed 9 rebounds but it was a dive for a loose ball with 7 seconds left and the awareness to call a quick timeout that got the thing to overtime.
Actually, it set up a Johnson rebound and put-back of Anthony Black’s missed layup with a couple of seconds to go that added the points to get there.
In overtime Johnson controlled things, grabbing rebounds on both ends, getting a couple of steals and hitting free throws.
Yes, the Hogs played bad in the first half and most of the second half.
Fans should take the win, however. In March it’s still a win over a ranked team on a neutral floor without maybe their best player.
Most importantly, though, these Hogs showed something that really can’t be measured fighting through dead legs after three games in three days, two of them against ranked teams.
That will be measured in March.