No. 23 LSU rallies past Razorbacks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 19, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Marcus Thornton scored 28 points and made a key defensive play in the final minute to help No. 23 LSU rally past Arkansas, 72-69, Wednesday night.

The Tigers (22-4, 10-1 Southeastern Conference), in the Top 25 this week for the first time in more than two years, trailed by 18 points in the first half, but they used an 11-1 run in the final minutes to win their seventh straight.

Arkansas (13-11, 1-10) was led by Courtney Fortson, who returned from a one-game suspension to score 17 points, all in the second half. Rotnei Clarke also scored 17.

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With LSU ahead 70-69, Arkansas called a timeout with 55.5 seconds left. On the Razorbacks’ next possession, Michael Sanchez was momentarily open down low, but Thornton was able to reach in and strip the ball.

Tasmin Mitchell missed at the other end but was able to chase down his own rebound and was fouled with 16.2 seconds remaining. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Garrett Temple came jumping in to rebound that miss for LSU. Thornton was fouled and made both free throws, and Clarke missed a contested 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Arkansas was in control through most of a sloppy first half in which the teams combined for 21 turnovers. The Razorbacks jumped ahead 7-0, and it took over 10 minutes for any LSU player other than Mitchell to score.

Arkansas led 26-9 after Clarke scored nine straight points, and the Tigers — playing without injured point guard Bo Spencer — had a difficult time with the Razorbacks’ press.

The Hogs led by as many as 18, but LSU rallied to trail 32-26 at halftime. The Tigers would have been in even better shape had they not gone 3-of-12 from the free throw line in the half. They finished 12-of-24 on free throws.